"Don't do tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow." If that's your motto this year, and you feel like you've been putting things off too much (maybe even as you read this), it's worthwhile to try to understand what it means to be a compulsive procrastinator—and how BJJ can help you spring into action and attack your errands, right here and now.
Procrastination is not the same as being lazy. The sin of sloth is complete lack of motivation, when the person has no will to do anything, and can't gather mental or physical energy to develop any projects.
Procrastination is swapping one task for another, which professionally can be a problem. But why do we send that one task to the back of the line, or postpone that tough phone call in favor of one more silly internet video?
Well, it all starts in your head, which is what is in charge of making decisions. According to neuroscientists, the human brain is constantly evaluating the cost-benefit of all our actions. Truly all of them, from making the bed to a rigorous, months-long diet.
Then the mind puts that on the scale. Will it be quick? Woo-hoo! Will it be difficult? Will it provide pleasure and a good reward? Or will I start and get frustrated?
Quite different, therefore, from laziness—that general lack of motivation that leaves the person without mental or physical energy for anything.
The Brazilian neuroscientist Andrei Mayer, for example, pointed out in an article for Folha de São Paulo that there are four basic components that the brain uses to make a decision:
The reward (what you're going to get out of it);
The physical and mental effort to conclude the task;
The time you will need to dedicate to it;
And, finally, the probability that it will work.
"For example, to go into a diet, the effort is very big and the reward, which is improving health or losing weight, is far," says Mayer. "Another example is studying for a test that's taking place in a year and you don't know whether you'll pass, even if you study a lot."
But like every good opponent, procrastination can also be overcome. One of the most effective strategies, in the case of long tasks with far-away rewards, is to break these activities into micro-objectives, goals or stages, as in a game.
If the person manages to set daily, weekly or monthly goals, the brain starts to understand that with each stage beaten, you are getting closer to the grand prize.
But how is it that jiu-jitsu becomes a strong ally against procrastination and lack of motivation?
It's that the art honed by the Gracies works daily on those four components needed by the human mind when it comes to making decisions.
Those who train fill themselves with confidence that, indeed, that dream will work out, as long as there's time, work and planning;
The practitioner also gets their physical and mental conditions reinforced, ready to take on any tasks;
They know, moreover, that the patience to get there is necessary, and that haste and anxiety don't go well with success;
And, finally, those who practice BJJ know that the reward at the end of the road is priceless.
How about you? Do you procrastinate due to insecurity, indecision, pure habit or some other reason that stops you from acting, here and now?
Take a look at this bit of wisdom from Rickson Gracie to better deal with your challenges, missions and anxieties. Oss!
Perfect. I started Jiu Jitsu with 31 years old. Its frustrating sometimes in this beggining, but knowing that I'll learn something new everyday that I'm going to the gym is what keeps me motivated. Oss!
my parents would tell you that at 41 years old (your hypothetical black belt age if you train consistently etc etc), you are just becoming an adult: its a lot to be a master of something at such a "young" age :)