Fidgit

Seeking Assistance

80 posts in this topic

I'm posting this here because I'm not sure where this sort of post belongs.

If you read my introduction post, you'll know that I wish to remain anonymous. Let me explain why: The problems I'll be bringing up are of a very personal nature. I have found over the years that it's much easier to overcome my inhibitions when discussing personal matters if I do so with people in whom I have no "stake." I worry that those I care about, and those who care about me, will think less of me if I reveal things like I'm about to. Think less, that is, to the point of dropping me as a friend, or the nearest equivalent for a relative. If a stranger does that, I've lost nothing.

I consider a number of FORUM members to be friends, and I don't want to ruin those friendships. Perhaps that's somewhat second-handed of me, but "showing weakness leads to ridicule and loss" is something I learned from the earliest age and all through my upbringing. It runs very deep and is extremely difficult to overcome.

Here's a brief description of the problem I'm facing:

I have several very important work and personal matters that need immediate attention. The problem is that I find myself paralyzed with fear at the prospect of dealing with them. Every time I consider doing anything to make progress on them, I completely shut down, and seek some mind-numbing activity, like a computer game or watching TV, to distract myself from the tasks as well as that I'm not doing them.

It feels like I simply can't stop myself from doing this. I know intellectually that I can, but I still seem unable to prevent myself from avoiding tasks. I have no idea why, but it's not simply a matter of just willing myself to do what has to be done.

I have to make a immediate change, because the tasks I've been putting off really can't wait any longer without some very dire results. I know that, long-term, I have to beat the fear problem, and that's going to take a lot of work. Short-term, though, I need to get things done NOW, so I'm willing to settle for some trick, technique, or other form of assistance to get me past the immediate crisis.

Any help of that anyone is willing to offer will be appreciated more than I could ever express here.

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Fidgit,

There is no slight of hand when it comes to your problem. You are either going to have to work your butt off to get up to where you need to be in your work, or tell your boss the truth. Dealing with your personal matters is the same, face the facts, no matter how difficult.

The paralyzing could be stemming from you looking at the task in to large of a segment. An example. My clients love to put down huge long-term goals on their goals list that I ask them to fill out. I have found though that unless they also put down mid-term and short-term goals that they most times fail. The problem with just long-term goals is that they are sometimes to abstract for most people to concretize. They can be motivating, such as being 100 pounds lighter, but most cannot concretize what they could possiblly look like. Also, the person that does not also have short and mid-term goals, such as losing 2.5 pounds per week and 10 pounds per month, does not receive the rewards quickly enough and just gives up.

So, I would recommend setting little goals that lead you toward the long-term or larger finalized goal. Set out small steps that will lead you toward accomplishing the larger goal but in increments so that you will achieve your larger goal. The smaller goals are the doing that you can accomplish on a day to day basis (or in your situation hour to hour). So at the end of the day if you have done the proper work needed you can have pride in your accomplishment and are one step closer to the larger, long-term goal.

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Any help of that anyone is willing to offer will be appreciated more than I could ever express here.

I am not a psychologist, so take my remarks with a grain of salt. I see two aspects to your problem here. The first is the longer-term issue, understanding the detailed nature of your conflict. This might require some extended work, identifying the source(s) of the emotions you feel and replacing their underlying premise(s) with new and more appropriate evaluations. The second, more immediate issue involves what you intend to do right now. All the long-term insight into subconscious motivations counts for naught if you do not assume conscious repsonsibility for your actions, volitionally.

Sometimes just exerting volitional control can not only help you practically by dealing with the facts, but it can sometimes also break the strength of the emotional cycle that makes it more difficult for you to act. Ultimately, though, for now you have to take your emotions as the given and exert the mental effort to act in your self-interest in spite of what you feel. For some, having someone close in your corner, cheering you on so to speak, can be helpful. Perhaps you might consider breaking your anonymity with one person who may be the closest one to you. But, regardless, you simply have to choose to face the facts that you have characteristically been avoiding; your avoidance has now backed you up against the wall, and it appears that you cannot escape the consequences even in the short-term, unless you act.

Remind yourself of what you value in life, and decide to act in support of those values. No one else can do that for you. However, considering what you have described as the effects of your previous approach, I would think a good psychologist would be of good long-term help. I also suspect that that psychologist would be of more immediate assistance in guiding you through what choices are open to you now.

I wish you the best in dealing with the immediate crisis, and keep in mind that your own volitional action is the only way out, both short- and long-term.

p.s. I moved this thread to the Psychology forum.

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Here's a brief description of the problem I'm facing:

I have several very important work and personal matters that need immediate attention. The problem is that I find myself paralyzed with fear at the prospect of dealing with them. Every time I consider doing anything to make progress on them, I completely shut down, and seek some mind-numbing activity, like a computer game or watching TV, to distract myself from the tasks as well as that I'm not doing them.

It feels like I simply can't stop myself from doing this. I know intellectually that I can, but I still seem unable to prevent myself from avoiding tasks. I have no idea why, but it's not simply a matter of just willing myself to do what has to be done.

I have to make a immediate change, because the tasks I've been putting off really can't wait any longer without some very dire results. I know that, long-term, I have to beat the fear problem, and that's going to take a lot of work. Short-term, though, I need to get things done NOW, so I'm willing to settle for some trick, technique, or other form of assistance to get me past the immediate crisis.

Any help of that anyone is willing to offer will be appreciated more than I could ever express here.

Since most of us hold no professional expertise in matters like this, you should be wary of ideas presented to you here, and I include my own views, which come from life experience, not formal study. Given the little I have been told, please excuse any wrong assumptions on my part.

Is it because the end result or failure, will expose something about you that you prefer not known? I'm not speaking of very private personal matters, since we all have a right to privacy in these.

It appears to me that we hold two images of ourselves, the one we present publicly, and another we sometimes are not even conscious of. The latter may require subconscious effort to ignore if we feel it is lacking in some way.

Perhaps the tasks ahead are making a confrontation between these two views of self unavoidable. If this is so, and I may be way off base in my speculation, I have one suggestion only.

Merge the two views of self. Do your best to be who you want to be, but then accept who you are. No one can ask for more than that, including yourself.

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One thing to do is to remind yourself that you have free will. That is, when you do something (or fail to do a task), it's because you are choosing this course of action. Granted, there may be unpleasant emotions to performing a task, but the fact of the matter is, you ultimately control what you do.

Second, sometimes the easiest way to resist temptation is to remove it. So, if I had gotten myself into a situation like this, I'd get rid of the distractions. Physically. Out with the TV and computer games. If they aren't around, it won't be possible to choose to keep following them. (An analogy might help: if I found myself wanting to lose weight, but found high-caloric food very tempting, I wouldn't have any of it in my house. No cupboards full of candy, cookies, etc. That wouldn't force me to do the right thing, but it would make the right action easier and the wrong action more difficult.)

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I am not a psychologist, so take my remarks with a grain of salt.

Sometimes just exerting volitional control can not only help you practically by dealing with the facts, but it can sometimes also break the strength of the emotional cycle that makes it more difficult for you to act. Ultimately, though, for now you have to take your emotions as the given and exert the mental effort to act in your self-interest in spite of what you feel.

I'm not a psychologist either, so if you have one, you should check with him.

That being said, I agree with Stephen on this. The more you act toward your long-term best interest by using your volition and will power, in spite of painful or uncomfortable emotions, the more you break the grip of the emotions that you are letting hold you back.

Pick a small first step in the direction that you need to go and do it. If you fail, do it again. Then do the next one and on and on until you get done what has to be done. You build your confidence and resolve as you go.

I also agree that you have to challenge the premises that your uncomfortable emotions are based upon and replace them with premises rooted in reality. This takes time as the old emotional programming wants to hang on and it takes time for the new thinking to take hold. You can expect resistance from the old programming. You have to retrain the subconscious by correct thinking and by acting toward what you know to be right.

I had a friend who had driven hundreds of thousands of miles on interstate highways. He told me this story. He was having an argument with his wife while driving on an interstate one day, and he had a panic attack and had to pull off the interstate. From that point on (for several years), he had a panic attack every time he tried to drive on interstates, so he quit driving on them to avoid the extremely unpleasant feelings that he would experience. But, he was determined to get over it. He knew that interstates were not really dangerous. He knew that he had incorrectly associated driving on interstates with the exaggerated feelings and panic that he had had from the argument with his wife. He reasoned that interstates were probably safer than driving on regular roads, and that if he got sick or too panicked to drive, there would always be someone coming by that could help him. So, with this in mind, he picked the shortest stretch of interstate he could find and drove it. His panic was milder and he regained some confidence. So he took a longer stretch and felt even better. After that, he would still get a twinge of anxiety or mild panic occasionally, but soon he was driving on the interstates with complete ease and confidence again. He reasoned it out and believed it, and he took action.

Obviously, some problems may be much more complex than this example and might not be as easy to overcome.

But, regardless of the condition and painful, fearful, or angry emotions, we can use our volition to act in our own long-term best interest.

If one is really crippled with fear and anxiety though, I would advise getting a medical check-up to make sure that a physical illness is not contributing to the situation and seeing a good psychologist (one with a proven track record).

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I'm not a psychologist either, so if you have one, you should check with him.

More than this, I'd say, if you don't have one: get one. From the situation as you describe it, I wouldn't discount the possibility of there being a chemical element involved in this. I'm not a psychologist either, but as far as I'm aware, it's normal to feel some anxiety about things you have a lot of stake in, but it's not normal for the anxiety to make you loose all motivation to act and thus insure your failure. But a chemical imbalance in your brain might be enough to cause the normal amount of anxiety to become magnified, to the point of being unbearable. I think there are a lot of organic and psychological conditions that can cause that-- it might not be within your immediate control, at least without having some more insight into what's really going on. I'd say talk to a psychologist or psychiatrist as soon as possible.

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David Allen wrote a gem of a book called Getting Things Done and in this book he often talks about "the very next physical action required to move the situation forward." I have found this book and its principles to be extremely clarifying in situations like the one Fidgit describes above.

When you have this big looming cloud "get a new job" hanging over your head 24/7, you can't do anything but suffer mental paralysis. In the Getting Things Done methodology, these sorts of "projects" break down into discrete, actionable steps. A step is some physical action that takes about a minute or two to accomplish. So instead of these clouds of uncertainty, we maintain lists of steps that need to be done: "visit the job board at 37signals.com," "send résumé to fred@potentialemployer.com," and "call job lead at Cool Place to Work." I have found David's system to be a powerful tool and I think that it would be worth checking out if you have the time. If not, then I hope that the concept of "actionable steps" can help you find some clarity in life.

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these sorts of "projects" break down into discrete, actionable steps. A step is some physical action that takes about a minute or two to accomplish. So instead of these clouds of uncertainty, we maintain lists of steps that need to be done: "visit the job board at 37signals.com," "send résumé to fred@potentialemployer.com," and "call job lead at Cool Place to Work." I have found David's system to be a powerful tool and I think that it would be worth checking out if you have the time. If not, then I hope that the concept of "actionable steps" can help you find some clarity in life.

I also use this approach in my life. I divide big projects into small segments or tasks and then only focus on accomplishing those tasks. I set a timeline, for example one task a day, two a week ect. This way I am slowly moving toward my goal (which makes me feel good) without getting overwhelmed by the complexity or difficulty of the entire project.

I find that a lot of things are within my control, even in case of an occasional slightly depressive state brought by stress.

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Here's a brief description of the problem I'm facing:

I have several very important work and personal matters that need immediate attention. The problem is that I find myself paralyzed with fear at the prospect of dealing with them. Every time I consider doing anything to make progress on them, I completely shut down, and seek some mind-numbing activity, like a computer game [...]

I note that you were in fact able to write the post introducing this topic-thread. You wrote it clearly and completely enough that intelligent, serious individuals here were able to understand it and reply to it with a variety of valuable suggestions.

You did accomplish a task that is very important to you.

I offer my observation for two purposes:

- Possibly for motivational fuel (recognizing your own accomplishment).

- Possibly as one lead to unlocking the problem you are facing.

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Hello Fidgit,

I’m glad you decided to post concerning your situation. You’ve demonstrated courage in doing so.

While I have no specialized knowledge to bring to bear, given personal experience I may be able to offer some sound suggestions. What you have said mirrors my personal experience almost exactly.

I am going to go out onto what I believe is a very short limb here. If I am deemed to be putting words into your mouth, presuming too much, or patronizing I apologize both to you and to the administrators. My intent is to offer constructive advice.

It is obvious to me that you are truly anguished, and I see the importance of sharing these ideas with you.

I do not believe you are primarily hampered by a lack of organizational skills. Instead, despite that fact that you consciously understand that you should deal with the situation, you are paralyzed by your subconscious emotional reaction to it.

I’d like you to try something:

Take some time to think about dealing with this situation. Be careful not to suppress your emotional response or your thoughts. Follow your thoughts as they form. Try to identify each and every thought if you can. What do you think of first? What thought comes to mind next, and so on. While you may be able to consciously disagree with your emotional response, remember that those emotions are real and have some cause.

The goal being to bring into conscious focus what specifically comes to mind and your emotional response to it. In other words, you make the subconscious thoughts conscious ones.

Once you’ve spent some time trying to sort through your thoughts and emotions continue on. I am going to explain more fully my conclusions based on your post. Feel free to read what I’ve written; then see if you can follow my thinking by looking back at your post.

The first thing I saw in your post is the idea of very high expectations. You and your friends seem to expect an awful lot of you. Are those expectations reasonable? I submit that you are fearful of failing to meet unreasonable expectations (and the video games and TV are a respite from the near certainty of that failure).

For a moment consider solely your own opinion of what you should expect from yourself. Are you capable of succeeding at everything, of reaching any goal you set for yourself? Unless the Law of Identity has been suspended, everyone is bound to fail some of the time. If you can not help but fail, at least on occasion, how should you judge yourself? I submit that you should judge yourself based upon whether you made an honest effort. You can not suspend metaphysics, but you can do your best with every endeavor. Isn’t that the moral measure of success and failure?

Showing weakness may cause ridicule, but what does it say about those who would ridicule you? Is it not true that we all have our strengths and weaknesses? How can anyone (including you) expect you to be strong at all times and in every way?

I understand that you may lose friends in the process, so I do not say these things lightly.

Do not be at war with reality. You can not win that fight. It is imperative that you work to consistently hold yourself to reasonable standards. And what better standards to hold yourself to than your own; standards that are reality based and fair, where you do justice to yourself.

As to the immediate situation you face, I have no tricks or quick fixes. Acknowledging your fear and thoughts is an good start. Breaking larger goals into smaller chunks is wonderful advice. That can become overwhelming too if you have many large goals that you are breaking into many small chunks. It may help to limit the absolute number of things you are dealing with to the minimum possible for the time being.

All the best,

Sunzi

“They will tell you, you can't sleep alone in a strange place

Then they'll tell you, you can't sleep with somebody else

Ah, but sooner or later you sleep in your own space

Either way it's okay, you wake up with yourself.”

Billy Joel, My Life

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Like everyone else so far, I also am not a psychologist, and it sounds like one might be of some help.

I only have one suggestion. You've taken the initiative to post on a public form a little bit of information you're not able to talk to anyone in person about. If you haven't yet talked to anyone or thought it through fully yourself, I would recommend opening up notepad (or picking up a pen if you prefer) and writing a bunch of the thoughts and feelings you're going through. If you let it flow and you're able to get it all out into a semi-coherent but external place, you could be able to get a feel for which concerns are bugging you most, what you might want to focus on first, etc.

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First of all, I want to thank everyone who has replied. You've all re-confirmed my respect for and trust in so many FORUM members.

Since my original post, I've taken a few small steps in the right direction. Frankly, just putting the problem out there was in itself a help. You see, I'm quite alone in this: as I said, I can't bring myself to talk to my family about it, and I don't have any friends locally.

Yesterday I took the time to make a daily schedule, to provide some structure within which I might be able to make progress. I also weeded out my to-do list to eliminate for now some low-priority items, though there are more I can get rid of.

Today so far I've done some small things around the house, then I caught myself starting a video game and stopped. That was strange: my thoughts leading into the game were along the lines of "OK, we've accomplished a bit, now we can take a break." Then I realized that I was falling into the bad pattern and quit the game. That left me with an odd feeling of bewilderment, like "what do I do now?" I actually couldn't come up with what to do next. So I decided to write this post.

Several of you suggested breaking large tasks into smaller ones, and RayVernagus suggested the book Getting Things Done. I've had that book for many years now, and I'm rather good at putting it into practice - when I'm able to get myself started. The problem is starting. The fear I talked about blocks me before I can even get going. One weird thing about it is that once I do start, I can keep going for quite a while, and I have no real trouble understanding my tasks and moving them along, even without first breaking them up into smaller steps on paper.

Another very strange thing is that I'm able to write about it all like this. It's as if there's two of me, one that can look at the problem and analyze it, even understand it intellectually, and another that is unable to deal with it at all because the emotions overwhelm everything.

I have seen a psychologist, and for several years was on medication for clinical depression. I went off the medication a few years ago, and I stopped seeing the psychologist earlier this year. Both of those were financial decisions, as I no longer have insurance and cannot currently afford either.

Stephen Speicher suggested that I confide in someone who can then act as a sort of "cheerleader." I really like that idea, and it's worked for me in the past, but as I said I have no one around here to fill that role. Someone has privately offered a sort of "coaching" service, but, again, I can't pay for anything like that, and I won't presume to ask anyone to do anything for free. I know that's sort of what I've done here, but if no one had replied to my post I would have understood. I'm not demanding or even expecting anything of anyone - I know this is essentially begging for help.

I'm going to reply to some of the individual posts here, and then I'm going to come up with another small step to take to move my tasks forward. Once again, my most sincere thanks to everyone who has replied.

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Is it because the end result or failure, will expose something about you that you prefer not known? I'm not speaking of very private personal matters, since we all have a right to privacy in these.
It's not that. There's no "skeletons in the closet" here, nothing that will cause embarrassment if it comes out. Unless being exposed as unable to competently run my life counts, because that's a huge fear for me. It's a cycle: I worry about failing, becoming known as a failure, and that fear is part of what keeps me from doing the things I need to do in order not to fail, which makes me worry more about failing, and so on. There's more to it than that, but that's certainly part of it.

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Second, sometimes the easiest way to resist temptation is to remove it. So, if I had gotten myself into a situation like this, I'd get rid of the distractions. Physically. Out with the TV and computer games. If they aren't around, it won't be possible to choose to keep following them. (An analogy might help: if I found myself wanting to lose weight, but found high-caloric food very tempting, I wouldn't have any of it in my house. No cupboards full of candy, cookies, etc. That wouldn't force me to do the right thing, but it would make the right action easier and the wrong action more difficult.)
Unfortunately that's impossible. The games I'm "addicted" to are on the internet, so I can't delete them. And I'm not the only one in the house, so I can't just throw out the TV. I've tried asking one household member to try to catch me at playing games and stop me - all he knows is that I'm feeling sort of "addicted" to the game - but of course he can't be looking over my shoulder every minute. I will do as much of that sort of thing as I can, though.

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for now you have to take your emotions as the given and exert the mental effort to act in your self-interest in spite of what you feel
Granted, there may be unpleasant emotions to performing a task, but the fact of the matter is, you ultimately control what you do.
The more you act toward your long-term best interest by using your volition and will power, in spite of painful or uncomfortable emotions, the more you break the grip of the emotions that you are letting hold you back.
My psychologist used to say "feel the fear and do it anyway." There were times I got upset with her because I wanted either more details on how to do that or some other tool I could use, but that little saying was almost a mantra for her. I wish I could say that I was successful at it, but I'm not.

I mentioned before that, once I can get started, I'm pretty good at continuing for a good while. When I'm able to do that, strangely enough, I'm not working in spite of the fear I'm feeling, I'm actually not feeling the fear. It's like there's a switch inside me that sometimes I'm able to flip and just go ahead and do things with no sense of fear at all. I wish I knew how I'm able to flip that switch, because I'd just go ahead and do that all the time, but I don't.

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I note that you were in fact able to write the post introducing this topic-thread. You wrote it clearly and completely enough that intelligent, serious individuals here were able to understand it and reply to it with a variety of valuable suggestions.

You did accomplish a task that is very important to you.

I offer my observation for two purposes:

- Possibly for motivational fuel (recognizing your own accomplishment).

- Possibly as one lead to unlocking the problem you are facing.

Thank you for that. It's not something I would have thought of.

I have a bad way of dealing with accomplishment. This is something that I know stems from my upbringing, because I remember many, many specific situations where I had a certain kind of interaction with my parents. I'd accomplish something and bring it to their attention, or they'd notice it. Their reaction would be to downplay it right away, with an attitude of "Well of course you did something good, that's what's expected. Doing what's expected is no big deal, so, so what? You don't get rewarded for what you're supposed to do anyway. It doesn't count." Any sense of pride at my accomplishment or even just a little happiness or pleasure from it, met with "What? You think you're better than anyone else? Well you're not, so don't get a big head. Feeling good about what you did means you're putting yourself above us. How dare you!" Good things wree ignored as "expected," and pride - the kind of pride AR writes about in Galt's speech - was crushed at every turn.

On the other hand, bad things were not ignored, they were exploited. "See? You're nothing special. In fact you've just shown how bad you really are. You screwed up. You're weak. What's more, you're unworthy." Mistakes were jumped on and made to seem like moral failings. For example, every time I'd accidentally break something around the house or do something else wrong I was accused of doing it deliberately. "Deliberately" was one of my mother's favorite words. I never once in my life ever tried on purpose to disappoint my parents, but according to them every disappointment was a deliberate act.

To this day I refuse to take credit for things, usually saying something like, "Yeah, it's good, but it would be good no matter who did it, so it doesn't make any difference that it was me who did." You might see how it never would have occurred to me that I'd accomplished anything just by posting my problem.

Sorry about rambling on like this, but it's very liberating to be able to put things like this out there.

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Since my original post, I've taken a few small steps in the right direction. [...]

Yesterday I took the time to make a daily schedule, to provide some structure within which I might be able to make progress. I also weeded out my to-do list to eliminate for now some low-priority items, though there are more I can get rid of.

Today so far I've done some small things around the house, then [...] I actually couldn't come up with what to do next. So I decided to write this post.

[...] RayVernagus suggested the book Getting Things Done. I've had that book for many years now, and I'm rather good at putting it into practice - when I'm able to get myself started. The problem is starting. The fear I talked about blocks me before I can even get going. One weird thing about it is that once I do start, I can keep going for quite a while, and I have no real trouble understanding my tasks and moving them along, even without first breaking them up into smaller steps on paper.

[bold added for emphasis.]

1. I do not understand. You seem to be saying:

- You have a To-Do list, that is, a list of prioritized action items.

- You are good at putting action-item techniques into practice.

- The resolution of your current to-do list is fine enough to give you actionable items "and keep going for quite a while."

- You did in fact get started by taking actions.

- But you have a problem getting started.

You seem to be contradicting yourself by saying that:

- You can't start but you did start.

- You are good at putting action steps into practice but you can't do that.

- Once you get started you can keep going through the action items on your To-Do list but today you didn't know what to do next.

Could you clarify?

2. I am also puzzled by your statement that you "weeded out [...] some low priority items" from your To-Do list. Is your To-Do list hierarchically structured, that is, have you written it so that -- through indentation or other positioning, for example -- it shows what is more important and what is less important? If so, why would you ever weed out any items unless you had decided simply not to do them?

It might help if you reproduce a (generalized, perhaps) excerpt of your style of To-Do list.

3. Was writing your post here today an item on your To-Do list?

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I mentioned before that, once I can get started, I'm pretty good at continuing for a good while. When I'm able to do that, strangely enough, I'm not working in spite of the fear I'm feeling, I'm actually not feeling the fear. It's like there's a switch inside me that sometimes I'm able to flip and just go ahead and do things with no sense of fear at all. I wish I knew how I'm able to flip that switch, because I'd just go ahead and do that all the time, but I don't.

I have to make myself 'flip that switch' every morning.

I decided that I need to exercise regularly yet I knew from experience that I am ether too tired or busy after work and thus I do not make it to the gym as often as I should. So I further decided to exercise in the morning, before work. I bought a treadmill for this purpose. I also have to get my son ready and drive him to school thus I have to wake up very early.

You would think that after few weeks it would get easier to make myself get up this early but it is not. The thought of wanting to stay in a warm bed instead of getting up and vigorously exercising for 45min is there every single day. Once I get up - I don't dislike it but it is the initial moving myself out of bed that is difficult.

I have placed my alarm clock far away from my bed so that I have to get up to turn it off. That helped a little but it still did not prevent me from coming back to bed. So what I do next is - I start thinking to myself: Just sit down. You can have your eyes closed as long as you are sitting down. I focus on only thinking about being able to sit down and I push away any thoughts of what this means, any thoughts about what I will have to do after, and especially any thoughts of how warm and comfortable my bed is or how sleepy I am.

This technique helps me to 'flip that switch' so maybe it can be helpful to you. Think of something small that would allow you to make a start.

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Fidgit, the fact that you have deliberately chosen to do something about your problem and deliberately chosen to seek help is worthy of respect from others (and you have mine), and certainly from yourself. It is good---for you---and it would not be good---for you---if someone else was doing it. The person that counts when you look at yourself in the mirror is the only person that's there. Keep working at it, and best wishes.

Brian

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Fidgit,

From reading more of your post I think I have another item that you might can change in your way of thinking. That being, why or what you are doing the action for. You seem to have a lot of concern or fear of failure, this cannot be the motivating factor. The good or the achievement of the value should be the motivating factor. An esteemed valuer does not smoke because they are primarily fearful of getting cancer (although this could happen), they do not smoke because it enhances their lives. An esteemed valuer does not over-eat because they are fearful of getting diabetes, they do not over-eat so that they can gain or maintain the value of leanness and all the positives that being lean brings.

If someone is going to do something that requires any type of demand, the good is what should be driving you. So, it just makes sense that the reason you are losing your motivation is because you relate your motivation to fear, and then discard the fearful thought and along with it the value. An example of the wrong way to motivate one's self would be; "I should stop drinking so much because it is not good for me and especailly for my liver." This type of motivatiom puts the profoundness in the bad, which most poeple do not want to think about. The proper way to motivate is through the good by changing the profoundness of why you are doing it (the good); "If I want to achieve a long, productive happy life I should stop drinking."

It is the good that has to be the motivation not the bad or fear. So, choose the good as your motivation not the negative/fear as the motivating factor. The next time you go to waste time (refreshing oneself is not wasted time), just remind yourself that you could possiblly be throwing out that which you say you value, hence contradicting your own values and along with it your own life.

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Fidgit,

I should have added that if my statements have no relation to your situation then just discard them.

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Thank you for that. It's not something I would have thought of.

I have a bad way of dealing with accomplishment. This is something that I know stems from my upbringing, because I remember many, many specific situations where I had a certain kind of interaction with my parents. I'd accomplish something and bring it to their attention, or they'd notice it. Their reaction would be to downplay it right away, with an attitude of "Well of course you did something good, that's what's expected. Doing what's expected is no big deal, so, so what? You don't get rewarded for what you're supposed to do anyway. It doesn't count." Any sense of pride at my accomplishment or even just a little happiness or pleasure from it, met with "What? You think you're better than anyone else? Well you're not, so don't get a big head. Feeling good about what you did means you're putting yourself above us. How dare you!" Good things wree ignored as "expected," and pride - the kind of pride AR writes about in Galt's speech - was crushed at every turn.

On the other hand, bad things were not ignored, they were exploited. "See? You're nothing special. In fact you've just shown how bad you really are. You screwed up. You're weak. What's more, you're unworthy." Mistakes were jumped on and made to seem like moral failings. For example, every time I'd accidentally break something around the house or do something else wrong I was accused of doing it deliberately. "Deliberately" was one of my mother's favorite words. I never once in my life ever tried on purpose to disappoint my parents, but according to them every disappointment was a deliberate act.

To this day I refuse to take credit for things, usually saying something like, "Yeah, it's good, but it would be good no matter who did it, so it doesn't make any difference that it was me who did." You might see how it never would have occurred to me that I'd accomplished anything just by posting my problem.

Now that you have given more information, I have another suggestion. The constant negative feedback would have an effect on anyone. The tendency would be to give up with a certain amount of resentment, or even fear. After all, what will be the result of success--only confirmation of how ordinary I am. So, if I don't do anything, I won't be put down. There is no motive to apply myself.

Before proceeding further, is this a possible answer?

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If someone is going to do something that requires any type of demand, the good is what should be driving you.

Ray, this is a profound insight. Well done. Anyone and everyone reading this thread would do well to contemplate your insight, if only to be reminded of its value.

As my very wise partner likes to say, "I'd rather be pulled away by something that I want to do than pushed away by something that I don't."

Thanks, Ray.

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Hello Fidget,

I'm glad to hear that you've been able to take some positive steps. Slowly but surely, one step at a time is how it works.

While there are certain difference of history and details, our experiences are strikingly similar in many respects. When you wrote of your relationship with your parents it was almost as if I could have written it. It's really good that you have already made significant progress toward understanding the things in your past that have influenced who you currently are.

I want to say that this quote really hit home for me:

Now that you have given more information, I have another suggestion. The constant negative feedback would have an effect on anyone. The tendency would be to give up with a certain amount of resentment, or even fear. After all, what will be the result of success--only confirmation of how ordinary I am. So, if I don't do anything, I won't be put down. There is no motive to apply myself.

Before proceeding further, is this a possible answer?

In my experience, the combination of rampant negativity (Why didn't you get straight A's? Police officers don't make any money, why would you want to do that??) with impossible expectations (Why didn't you get a full scholarship? You could have gone to Harvard and studied law if you had just applied yourself.) makes passivity very attractive. Motivation goes away becuase no matter which choices you make they are painful. That makes diversions like video games very attractive, as they offer some form of safe goal attainment.

As example, imagine something similar to Pavlov's Dog. The dog can see the food (his goals/dreams) and very much wants to eat it, but when he tries he gets a smack (negativity/unrealistic expectations). Given such an alternative, the dog may just try to get little nibbles of food (video game) for the small amout of satisfaction it offers and to avoid the sting of being smacked.

I'm not saying anyone is a dog. The example seems apt though as it's fairly simple to grasp.

I think we both may profit from further discussion about this topic, Fidget. It took many years of my parents negativity and rediculous expectations for those things to become ingrained within me. I've made good progress, though things like this aren't undone in a day. Sharing ideas that work for each of us and sharing our insights may prove extremely valuable, accelerating the process of improvement.

My offer will remain open. Whatever your choice, I will respect it.

Be well,

Sunzi

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