The following post was written by a great friend of mine and a brilliant mind. Bobby Cappuccio is a leader in the fitness industry and an extensively studies human behavior, particularly in relation to health and fitness.
This post originally appeared on the best fitness education portal on the internet, PTontheNet. Bobby writes extensively for PTontheNet and I’m fortunate to be very involved with them too.
Please enjoy Bobby’s great article.
Deception is a concept that is despised in our society. It violates our sense of fairness and arouses our instinctual nature to nurture and protect the victim. From the sandbox to the boardroom we’ve all heard the not too unfamiliar cry of “It’s not fair!!”
Outrage arises not just when we feel violated ourselves, but almost equally when witnessing the victimization of others. Elizabeth Tricomi, professor of psychology at Rutgers University, observes that “…the brain doesn’t just reflect self-interested goals, but instead, these basic reward processing regions of the brain seem to be affected by social information…That might explain why what happens to other people seems to matter so much to us, even when it might not actually directly affect our own situation.”
My question, as uncomfortable as it may be, is…Is it truly possible for a victim to be deceived if they’re not in some part a willing participant?
Every situation brings with it our own perception and interpretation, stemming from a lifetime of experiences, beliefs and values, and, therefore, biases. So our interpretation of events is the combination of fact and perception. Hence, every story we tell is, to a degree, fictitious. Could this be especially true regarding the stories we tell ourselves?
Consider Giacomo Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly. Cho Cho San is more acquired than courted by her new husband, United States Naval Lieutenant Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton. From the beginning, the loyalty, faith and love that she gives with gentleness of a “butterfly” is returned with carelessness, lies and betrayal.
For three years after Pinkerton departs from his wife, leaving her pregnant with not more than the empty promise to return to her “after the robin’s nest,” she waits naively, but ever so faithfully. Despite the admonishment from her servant and even her husband’s personal aide to forget the lies of a treacherous man who has clearly forgotten her, she remains loyal in a way that is so sweet, trusting, it is painful, even tormenting, to watch.
It is only after Pinkerton’s return to Nagasaki with his new American wife that Cho Cho realizes his extent of her betrayal. She sees the loss of her illusion of a loving husband as analogous to loss of honor. In the dramatic final scene she seeks redemption by ending her own life.
I cannot help wonder if the tragedy is the treachery of Pinkerton’s deceitful callousness or in Cho Cho’s quiet subservience. Was her mental model of love and devotion so deeply rooted, so pervasive that she chose ignorance over prudence in the face of obvious betrayal? As undeserving as she was, was the pain of her reality more intense than the illusion she imagined?
In many ways all of us are not too dissimilar to Cho Cho San. We deceive ourselves into seeing our reality not as it is but as we wish it would be. We delay until tomorrow to avoid dealing with our issues today. The danger in this becomes evident when our reality can no longer be ignored, yet we have denied it for so long that the consequence, figuratively, is death in the form of lost opportunity or, worse, our career. In actuality, dealing with reality is less painful than denying it. Yet, with the economy, rate of change, growth of competition, etc., the enormity of our circumstances may dissuade us from doing what we know we should do whether we feel like it or not.
Here are 10 tips to overcome procrastination in 2011.
1. Fear of criticism, rejection and failure are major reasons why people hesitate to take action. Understand that any significant goal will be met with resistance, scepticism and ridicule. Accept the fact that opposition may be a sign that you’re on the right track. No one who has ever done anything even slightly interesting has done it in the absence of criticism.
Albert Einstein said that “great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” Be open to feedback but accept that in the end if the feedback of a critic was of any value at all he/she would be doing something in the real world themselves instead of tearing down the ideas of others. Before allowing the opinion of another to distract you from important tasks, ask yourself, “Do I desire to be where he/she is in his/her career?” If not, who cares what they think?
2. Set goals that you intensely desire to achieve. Review them daily. We persevere when our desires exceed our fears.
3. Tell other people about what you intend to do. Use social pressure to make sure you follow through.
4. Write a list of every action step you need to take in order to complete a task or project.
5. Isolate the two most important tasks.
6. Write drunk, edit sober! Not literally, this just means get going and build momentum. Don’t worry about perfection.
Perfection is indefinable and, therefore, unattainable. Just produce. Later on, you can go back to your work and revise it.
7. Similarly, the hardest part of dealing with anything is to simply get going: from a project to dating after a break-up or divorce to starting your life over in a new location. Identify one small action you can take just to get you started.
8. Start with the task that causes you the most anxiety and frustration. Removing that task from the project makes the rest of the process seem much easier by contrast.
9. Identify the consequences of not taking action. What is the most painful result of not getting started on the thing you’ve been avoiding? When the pain of not doing something exceeds the pain of doing it, it’s likely to get done. Think about how you feel about putting off your taxes two days before the deadline.
10. Determine the areas of your life that are suffering the most not taking action and then list every benefit you believe you will experience as a result of doing what you know you should do.