Get Things Done!

God has put each person on earth to do something great for His glory. The simple purpose of this podcast is to help you get things done every day so that you can accomplish something worthwhile with your life.
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Dec 8, 2015

Ephesians 5:15-16 says: "See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil."

Our quote for today is from Vishwas Chavan. He said: "If every citizen can get rid of the indiscipline syndrome, we have immense potential to build more productive, conflict-free, harmonious and peaceful communities, societies, cities, nations and world."

Today, in the Get Things Done podcast we are looking at Part 3 of Step 6: "Get Tough With Yourself".

Q: You recommend doing difficult things not just for the intrinsic benefit involved, but because they provide practice in self-discipline?

Correct. Each time you perform a difficult act -- or resist a temptation -- you make it easier to do so in the future. In the words of Hamlet,

Refrain tonight,
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence; the next more easy;
For use can almost change the stamp of nature…

Q: So you would compare willpower to a muscle, which grows either stronger or weaker, depending upon whether or not it’s used?

Yes. The human mind, like the human body has an incredible ability to adjust to the demands made on it, and when the demands are steady, regular, and consistent, the result is growth, power, and greater ease of performance. In exercising your will you establish a mental “groove” -- a habit pattern -- that is deepened with each repetition, but which will gradually fade with lack of use.


Dec 1, 2015

Ecclesiastes 2:24 says: "There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God."

Our quote for today is from Roy Bennett. He said: "Don't let procrastination take over your life. Be brave and take risks. Your life is happening right now."

Today, in the Get Things Done podcast we are looking at Part 2 of Step 6: "Get Tough With Yourself".

Q: All of the advice you're giving out presupposes that the person involved has enough willpower to carry out your suggestions. But, unfortunately, willpower is often in short supply – especially for the typical procrastinator. How can one cope with a lack of willpower?

You have to learn to be tough with yourself.

Q: That's easily said, but it isn't really very helpful. A person who knows how to be “tough” with himself probably doesn't lack willpower, and doesn't procrastinate. What's the answer for the millions who don't have whatever it takes to exercise self-discipline?

There's no such person. We all have the option of using self-discipline if we choose to. We are born with a resiliency, a toughness that can enable us to withstand privation, pain, discomfort, and all the other “natural shocks that the flesh is heir to,” but in our modern world we have become so accustomed to the easy life that this inner strength is seldom exercised on a day-to-day basis. However, it's still there, dormant, awaiting the circumstances that will call it forth. And when that happens – when some crisis requires a seemingly superhuman display of pluck – we often amaze both ourselves and others with our ability to prevail over adversity.


Nov 24, 2015

Proverbs 18:9 says: "He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster."

Our quote for today is from Philip Stanhope. He said: "Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination: never put off till tomorrow what you can do today."

Today, in the Get Things Done podcast we are looking at Part 1 of Step 6: "Get Tough With Yourself".

Many people consider themselves to have no willpower or ability to overcome procrastination. In making this assumption, they sell themselves short. When a crisis strikes, most people have vast reserves of an ability to overcome adversity.

Most achievers are simply ordinary people who to put forth extraordinary effort without the urging of another person. They have developed exceptional willpower by practice and effort until they reach the point at which they can call for an exceptional effort on a regular basis. Then and only then are they in a situation to achieve something very challenging.

Humans grow strong and robust by adjusting to larger and larger demands. This is as true in the emotional and mental fields as it is in any physical endeavour. Therefore, by regularly taking an unpleasant task and accomplishing it, you are laying a stronger and more powerful foundation for achieving other more difficult tasks further in the future.

One particularly useful habit is decisiveness. When you insist on decisiveness and demand it of yourself, you are much more likely to be sleeping on your accomplishments rather than on your problems.

Nov 17, 2015

Proverbs 22:29 says: "Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men."

Our quote for today is from Babe Ruth. He said: "It's hard to beat a person who never gives up."

Today, in the Get Things Done podcast we are looking at Part 7 of Step 5: "Raise Your Energy Level."

Today, we will conclude our look at some physical and psychological factors that can affect our desire to work.

Edwin Bliss writes:

If you are one of the countless millions of people whose procrastination problems are caused -- or intensified -- by chronic fatigue, then doing something about this infirmity should be your top priority project.

Don't arbitrarily rule out medical reasons -- that's a job for a physician. How long has it been since your last checkup? Have you discussed your chronic fatigue with your doctor? Remember, it may be symptomatic of a number of ailments, so be sure to mention it. And if you're overdue for a checkup, can you think of a better time than this moment to make an appointment?

Once you've eliminated the possibility of conditions requiring medical treatment, you've placed yourself in the much larger group of people whose fatigue problems are their own fault, a result of some type of self-indulgence. Since what's at stake here is much more than just the procrastination habit -- it's your health, your energy, your longevity, your zest for living that we're talking about -- resolve to begin immediately to do those commonsense things you know very well you should do.

While you're in the mood, seal your good intentions by writing down what steps you intend to take. Then celebrate your decision by taking a good brisk walk, or by getting some other appropriate exercise, signaling the beginning of a new routine.


Nov 10, 2015

Psalm 37:5 says: "Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass."

Our quote for today is from David Allen. He said: "Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them."

Today, in the Get Things Done podcast we are looking at Part 6 of Step 5: "Raise Your Energy Level."

We have discussed exercise, relaxation, proper diet, and posture as ways of increasing our energy levels to ward off procrastination. Our attitudes and emotions also affect our energy level. Let’s talk about how to handle these psychological factors.

Edwin Bliss writes:

You can make yourself tired just by dreading some frustrating or tedious task. This happens especially when you habitually turn your thoughts inward -- when you are pre-occupied with how you will feel while doing the task, with your aches and pains and discomforts -- instead of focusing your attention on the task itself.

This pseudo-fatigue cannot be cured by mollycoddling yourself and postponing the job: it is cured by action. Getting involved in the job often takes your mind off your "fatigue," and your energy problem solves itself.

We all know that external events often will cause fatigue suddenly to vanish. Perhaps you are tired and looking forward to a quiet evening at home, when the phone rings and you learn that some unexpected guests are on their way to visit you. As you scurry to tidy up and get yourself presentable the tiredness is forgotten.

The fact that fatigue can be banished instantly by such emotions as excitement, curiosity, fear, anger, and anticipation demonstrates that, to a considerable degree, it is an ephemeral, controllable condition. It fluctuates not just according to how much we have used our muscles, or according to the time of day or night, but according to our attitudes, our thoughts, our interests. And this means that we can override it -- temporarily, at least -- by a pure act of will.


Nov 2, 2015

John 5:15-17 says: "The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole. And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work."

Our quote for today is from Michael Landon Jr. He said: "Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows."

Today, in the Get Things Done podcast we are looking at Part 5 of Step 5: "Raise Your Energy Level."

We have discussed exercise, relaxation, and proper diet as ways of increasing our energy levels to ward off procrastination. Doing drugs is another activity that can sap our energy, and that is what we will talk about today.

Edwin Bliss writes:

Marijuana is another substance that promotes procrastination. The only reason this aspect of pot isn't mentioned more often, I suspect, is that it's much harder to measure procrastination than it is to measure cell damage, testosterone levels, memory loss, immune system impairment, and respiratory ailments.

But consider one undisputed fact: even people who condone occasional use of marijuana admit that its use by children and teenagers lowers academic performance. And a major reason for that decline in grades, obviously, is that the students become apathetic and procrastinate on homework and on studying.

Dr. Harold Voth of the Menninger Foundation's School of Psychiatry, and chief of staff of the Topeka, CA, Medical Center, has studied psychotherapy of marijuana use for eight years. Among the characteristics he lists as being related to pot personality are diminished willpower, the amotivational -- or dropout -- syndrome, lessened concentration, shortened attention span, diminished ability to deal with abstract or complex problems, emotional flatness, impaired judgment, and lowered tolerance for frustration. Every one of those factors quite obviously is associated with procrastination.


Jul 28, 2015

Psalm 128:2 says: "For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee."

Our quote for today is from Pablo Picasso. He said: "Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone."

Today, in the Get Things Done podcast we are looking at Part 4 of Step 5: "Raise Your Energy Level."

We've discussed exercise and relaxation as methods of fighting procrastination. The third physical aspect that we will deal with is diet. It's a big subject, one we won't go into in depth, but suffice it to say that so far as fatigue is concerned one big culprit is sugar. Most of us eat many times as much sugar as we should.

Lots of people think sugar is supposed to produce energy, but it just isn't true ­­ at least not in the way they think. Every week the average American eats more than two pounds of refined sugar, much of it hidden as an ingredient in various manufactured foods (one popular brand of ketchup is 29% sugar!) If eating refined sugar really produced energy, we would be a nation of live wires and lethargy would be unknown.

It is true that low blood sugar means less energy, but the proper way to maintain the right amount of sugar (glucose) in your blood is through a balanced diet. When you zap your system with refined sugar (sucrose) you trigger the release by the pancreas of large amounts of insulin to counteract the sugar shock, and this insulin overcompensates, resulting in a much lower blood­sugar level than you originally had. And one result of this process is fatigue. It sounds complicated, but that's the way it works. (There are other undesired effects of too much sugar, including weight gain and dental cavities, but this isn't the place to go into that.)

Of course, I'm not saying that procrastination is a result of eating too much sugar. What I am saying is that one result of bad dietary practices, such as eating too much sugar, is fatigue. If you are vacillating about whether to go ahead and get a job done or whether to put it off, you will more frequently choose to put it off if you feel pooped. So poor diet doesn't "cause" procrastination, but it may tip the scales. And if bad diet becomes habitual, causing chronic fatigue, it can tip those scales dozens of times a day ­­ on matters that don't seem to be related to health in any way whatsoever.


Jul 20, 2015

Acts 20:35 says: "I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive."

Our quote for today is from Dale Carnegie. He said: "The best possible way to prepare for tomorrow is to concentrate with all your intelligence, all your enthusiasm, on doing today's work superbly today. That is the only possible way you can prepare for the future."

Today, in the Get Things Done podcast we are looking at Part 3 of Step 5: “Raise Your Energy Level" by "Doing It Now: A Twelve Step Program for Curing Procrastination and Achieving Your Goals" by Edwin C. Bliss.

We have already talked about exercise being one of three factors that we can use in combating fatigue. Relaxation is the second factor.

Just giving lip service to the value of relaxation ­­ which we all do ­­ isn't enough. And it's not enough, either, to plop down in front of the television set for an hour or two every evening with a beer in one hand and a bowl of potato chips in the other. That may be entertainment, it may even be recreation, of sorts­­ but relaxation it isn't!

Dr. Herbert Benson, a psychiatrist on the staff of Harvard, has made extensive studies on what he calls the "relaxation response," which is involved in transcendental meditation, Zen, yoga, and various other relaxation techniques. He found that these relaxation-­producing regimens all have quantifiable physiological effects and that they have four things in common: a quiet environment, a mental device (such as a sound or word or "mantra"), a passive attitude, and a comfortable position to reduce muscular effort to a minimum.

To obtain the relaxation response, sit comfortably, close your eyes, then relax your muscles, beginning with your feet and slowly working up to your head. Breathe through your nose. Say the word "one" as you breathe in, and again when you breathe out. Continue this for twenty minutes. Open your eyes to check on the time, but don't use an alarm. Try this twice a day for several days, preferably not just after eating, and see if it doesn't make you feel calmer, more energetic, more self­-assured ­­ and more inclined to tackle some of those unpleasant chores you've been putting off.


Jul 14, 2015

Ephesians 4:28 says: "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth."

Our quote for today is from Philip Stanhope. He said: "Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination: never put off till tomorrow what you can do today."

Today, in the Get Things Done podcast we are looking at Part 2 of Step 5: "Raise Your Energy Level."

Edwin Bliss writes:

When it comes to boosting your energy level, programmed exercise is only part of the story. There is also the matter of getting the kind of physical activity during the working day that will prevent fatigue.

People with sedentary jobs often get too little activity at their work and consequently become lethargic. We weren't designed to work at a desk or a machine or a computer screen for eight hours at a stretch. These prolonged periods of immobility cause the blood to stagnate in the large muscles and in the extremities. The result is a feeling of drowsiness or tiredness, so that when we are faced with an unpleasant, postponable task, the scales are tipped toward postponement rather than toward action.

Most office tasks can be done at least part of the time standing up. Now, of course, if you are an office worker you will sit most of the time, but you should use every opportunity to alternate between sitting and standing to minimize fatigue. For example, you might form the habit of standing when on the telephone. An extra­-long telephone cord or a cordless phone can free you from being confined to one spot while phoning.

If you do want to sit, it's often better to sit on the edge of a desk or table rather than sitting plopped in a chair, because you don't remain in the same position for long periods. Hold conferences standing rather than sitting, when possible ­­ they tend to be shorter and more productive that way anyhow. And a standup work area can reduce fatigue. A counter, a bookcase, a file cabinet, even a makeshift work platform about elbow height ­­ anything that provides an alternative to prolonged sitting ­­is worth considering.


Jul 7, 2015

Ephesians 5:15-16 says: "See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil."

Our quote for today is from Karen Lamb. She said: "A year from now you may wish you had started today."

Today, in the Get Things Done podcast we are beginning Step 5: “Raise Your Energy Level.” 

A person may have a clear idea of what needs to be done and a firm intention of doing it only to find that physical exhaustion causes repeated postponement. Fatigue is one of the most common causes of procrastination.

Fatigue from normal physical exertion is a natural, healthy response, but it tends to be short-­lived. Once your body bounces back, you experience an abundance of energy. But chronic fatigue ­­ the kind that gives rise to procrastination­­ is a malady, and unless it is dealt with, it will thwart your efforts to get things done.


Jun 9, 2015

Ephesians 4:28 says: "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth."

Our quote for today is from Ambrose Bierce. He said: "A person who doubts himself is like a man who would enlist in the ranks of his enemies and bear arms against himself. He makes his failure certain by himself being the first person to be convinced of it."

Today, in the Get Things Done podcast we are continuing with part 4 of our series titled, "Overcoming the Fear of Success". 

How do you distinguish between genuine inadequacy and low self-esteem?

I wish there were some kind of litmus test that could be used to determine the difference, because it's the central question every person faces in deciding whether to try for any ambitious goal: "Do I have what it takes, or don't I?" No one can answer that question for you. Sometimes you can't answer it for yourself, either, until you've attempted the task and risked the possibility of getting in over your head, making up your mind that you'll give it your best effort anyway.

Let me just say this: chances are, your fear stems from a faulty self-image rather than from incompetence. If you have a set goal for yourself, it is probably something that you could achieve and could handle after achieving it if you would only make your move. Instead we all tend to sell ourselves short, underestimating our abilities. I referred earlier to the belief of distinguished psychologists that most humans use only a small portion of their potential, a belief shared, I think, by all thoughtful observers of the human condition. This means that you have a vast reservoir of unused talent and capability available to you. but if procrastination and timidity keep you from ever opening the floodgates, the reservoir might as well be empty.


Jun 2, 2015

Galatians 6:9 says: "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."

Our quote for today is from Denis Waitley. He said: "Procrastination is the fear of success. People procrastinate because they are afraid of the success that they know will result if they move ahead now. Because success is heavy, carries a responsibility with it, it is much easier to procrastinate and live on the 'someday I'll do it' philosophy."

Today, in the Get Things Done podcast we are continuing with part 3 of our series titled, “Overcoming the Fear of Success”.

Caution and fear of success are totally different things. It is prudent, of course, to avoid unnecessary risk and to set attainable goals (which presumably would not include such feats as flying near the sun on wax wings). But having established attainable goals, you should strive wholeheartedly to attain them. You should not be held back by procrastination -- or any other self-defeating behavior -- in order to hinder your progress toward those objectives you've decided are worth striving for.

What it all comes down to is dealing with yourself in a manner that is forthright and logical, instead of devious and irrational. If, for some good reason, you've really decided not to do something, then for heaven's sake don't do it. But having made that decision, eliminate the thing from your mind. Don't let it remain there in the guise of something you're "going to get around to one of these days." The accumulation of a bunch of these pseudo-objectives has a debilitating effect; their insistent nagging diverts you from the matters at hand and prevents you from enjoying your leisure time with a clear conscience.

There's much satisfaction to be had in crossing a difficult item off your "To Do" list once it has been done -- but there's almost as much in crossing it off just because you've decided that you definitely don't want to do it after all! The procrastinator doesn't get that satisfaction -- he just leaves the task on his mental "To Do" list where it festers indefinitely. So the person who procrastinates because of fear of success puts himself in a no-win situation: he tells himself that he should do certain things, but at the same time at a subconscious level he orders himself not to do those things, and through procrastination evades any resolution of the two conflicting commands. 

One is reminded of the prayer of St. Augustine said he offered as a young man: "Give me chastity and continence, but not just now."


May 25, 2015

Isaiah 41:13 says: "For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee."

Our quote for today is from Michael Jordan. He said: "I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

Today, in the Get Things Done podcast we are continuing with part 2 of our series titled, “Overcoming the Fear of Success”. 

Any time you put your problem into the Fear of Success pigeonhole, it's time to sit down and have a long heart-to-heart chat with yourself -- or with your therapist. You're being torn by conflicting pressures. You are unsure of your goals, since the things you've been telling yourself you want aren't what you really want, in view of the price involved. To use a term that's in vogue among psychologists these days, you're not being "authentic" in your dealings with yourself. And procrastination is never the answer -- it only makes matters worse.

There are two sides to every coin. No matter how desirable a goal may be, there are some negative consequences of having reached it. Fame means lack of privacy; wealth draws envy; growth fosters higher expectations; a promotion entails more responsibilities; a spectacular achievement raises the question of what you will do for an encore.

We are constantly weighing the pros and cons of possible courses of action, deciding in one instance that the advantages offset the disadvantages, in another that the price is too high. But with procrastination that process is circumvented. Instead of objectively considering the price of achieving a goal and then making a decision, the procrastinator decides by default against resolving the matter either way. The will to fail blocks objective consideration.

May 19, 2015

Proverbs 12:11 says: "He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding."

Our quote for today is from Thomas Edison. He said: "Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time."

Today, in the Get Things Done podcast we are beginning a new series titled, “Overcome Fear of Success”. Edwin Bliss writes:

It sounds a bit far-fetched that people would dread success, but millions do. They have a secret determination to fail, and they are invariably successful -- that is, successful in their effort to fail. 

-- But the idea is ridiculous. If you didn't want to reach your goal why would you establish it? Why would anyone attempt to do anything and sabotage his own effort by trying to fail?

Because human beings don't always behave rationally, that's why. Contradictory as the term sounds, the fear of success is a common component of the human psyche and a frequent cause of procrastination. 

The reason this phenomenon is hard to accept is that it's not only irrational, it's hidden, even from the person involved. It's a function of the subconscious. For a variety of reasons, our subconscious mind may rebel at the commands we give it, preventing us from getting around to things we had intended to do.

Thus, when you analyze the real reason behind your procrastination, as we recommended earlier, you may wind up putting your problem into a pigeonhole marked Fear of Success. In other words, it isn't the actual doing of the task which you dread -- it's the result of getting it done.


May 5, 2015

2 Timothy 2:3-6 says: "Therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits."

Our quote for today is from Vincent van Gogh. He said: "What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?"

Today, in the Get Things Done podcast we are continuing with Part 7 of our series titled, “Overcoming Fear of Failure”. 

In our last episode, we talked about how exaggerating our fears -- imagining that the worst possible things that can happen do happen -- can help us overcome the fear of failure. Today, we are going to summarize all that we have learned in this series.

Edwin Bliss writes:

Suppose you'd like to learn Spanish. It would be useful to you in your work but not essential, so you've been putting off registering for the class. You analyze the reasons and realize your procrastination stems from fear of failure, fear of competing with younger students who might have more supple minds and perhaps even Spanish-speaking backgrounds.

First, imagine yourself successfully learning the language; picture yourself meeting friendly and interesting people, in the class and beyond, conversing with them in Spanish; envision yourself enhancing your status within the organization you work for because of your new-found skill. See yourself traveling in Spanish-speaking countries with new freedom and a new appreciation of the culture.

Now envision the worst. The worst that could happen would be to flunk out of the course. Mentally paint a terrible picture of the instructor ridiculing you, all the other students far outperforming you. So what? You could simply resign and nobody would really care. You wouldn't have lost much except some time. The experience would be distasteful, but you realize that you certainly could handle it.

Now ask yourself what is most likely to happen. You probably won't star, but you aren't likely to be ridiculed either. Chances are you'll do at least as well as the average and your shortcomings will hardly be noticed. And although you may have some difficulties gaining proficiency, you realize that you definitely would gain something worthwhile by the experience. Your fear now begins to dissipate and you are more likely to be able to take the plunge.


Apr 28, 2015

Proverbs 6:10-11 says: "Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man."

Our quote for today is from George Edward Woodberry. He said: "Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure."

Today, in the Get Things Done podcast we are continuing with Part 6 of our series titled, “Overcoming Fear of Failure”.

In our last episode, we talked about using imaging -- mentally envisioning ourselves doing that which we need to do -- as a way to overcome the fear of failure and get things done. Today, we are going to talk about another way to overcome the fear of failure.

Instead of imagining yourself succeeding at the task, imagine everything going wrong, in the worst possible way. By exaggerating your fears you make them look ridiculous, and your sense of humor usually restores your perspective. Either that or you will realize that even the worst possible scenario isn't so terrible after all.

Bertrand Russell was an advocate of this ploy. He urged considering "seriously and deliberately" the worst that could happen in any frightening situation. Then, he said, "having looked this possible misfortune in the face, give yourself sound reasons for thinking that after all it would be no such very terrible disaster. Such reasons always exist, since at the worst nothing that happens to oneself has any cosmic importance. When you have looked for some time steadily at the worst possibility and have said to yourself with real conviction, 'Well, after all, that would not matter very much,' you will find that your worry diminishes to a quite extraordinary extent."


Apr 20, 2015

Proverbs 16:3 says: "Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established."

Our quote for today is from John Maxwell. She said: "Procrastination is too high a price to pay for fear of failure. To conquer fear, you have to feel the fear and take action anyway. Forget motivation. Just do it. Act your way into feeling, don’t wait for positive emotions to carry you forward."

Today, in the Get Things Done podcast we are continuing with Part 5 of our series titled, “Overcoming Fear of Failure”.

In our last episode, we talked about two ways we can combat the fear of failure: (1) Examine our fear and pinpoint the exact reason why we are afraid; (2) Determine what we would do if we were not afraid and then force ourselves to follow through with that action. Today, we will talk about another technique to overcome the fear of failure.


Whether your failure to act is a result of fear, boredom, depression, shyness, fatigue, unwillingness to tolerate discomfort, or just plain laziness, you'll find it useful to act as if you possessed the opposite attribute. Before you act, however, you may find it useful to try imaging.

The term was coined by Norman Vincent Peale, but the procedure, which has received renewed attention in recent years, is centuries-old. It involves picturing yourself in vivid, specific terms, actually doing the thing you want to do, rehearsing it in your mind. Don't just think about doing it, but see yourself doing it. Get a clear mental image of yourself performing each step. The psychological effect of this imaginary run-through can be dramatic.

Many athletes have used this technique since publication of “The Inner Game of Tennis” and other books on improving athletic performance by mental practice. But leading sports figures have used the technique for a long time. The great Ben Hogan, for example, always went through a golf shot mentally, including the follow-through, before making it, and then would depend on what he called his "muscle memory" to execute the shot correctly. Research with basketball players has shown that players who practice in their imagination can greatly increase their accuracy in free throws.


Apr 14, 2015

Proverbs 6:6-8 says: "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest."

Our quote for today is from Tony Robbins. He said: "I've come to believe that all my past failure and frustration were actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy."

In our last episode, we talked about how we can overcome the ‘vague dread’ of failure by acknowledging our fear and then acting as if it didn’t exist. Today, we will expand on this topic.

Of course it's not easy to act as though your fear did not exist. But this technique works. People who require an easy solution to every problem might as well resign themselves to a life of disappointment.

The point is that while this technique of "acting as if" is not always easy, nevertheless anyone can use it. And when you do, it not only enables you to get the task done, but it builds your ego. You develop a self­-image of boldness, instead of thinking of yourself as a victim of an invincible enemy called fear.

Of course, the technique can be used to develop other traits as well as self-confidence. William James and Friedrich Nietzsche both commented at length on the useful role this process can play in life, actually changing the realities of our existence. Thus, William James noted that whether we believe God exists or not, "We can act as if there were a God; feel as if we were free; consider Nature as if she were full of special designs; lay plans as if we were to be immortal; and we find then that these words do make a genuine difference in our moral life."


Apr 7, 2015

Ephesians 6:7-8 says: "With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord..."

Our quote for today is from Dale Carnegie. He said: "Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy."

Today, in the Get Things Done podcast we are continuing with Part 3 of our series titled, “Overcoming Fear of Failure”.

In our last episode, we talked about how successes tend to occur in fixed proportions to attempts. The more often you try -- and the more failures you chalk up -- the more successes you have. Thus, if we want more success, we must simply make more attempts at doing things. We must ‘make a pile of chips.’ Today, we are going to consider how we can overcome the ‘vague dread’ of failure.

Sometimes, dealing with fear of failure isn't as simple as just forcing yourself to "make chips." Sometimes a vague dread of what might happen causes you to keep putting off the desired action. How do you deal with that?

That term vague dread holds the clue. As long as your fears are vague and undefined they are impossible to deal with, so the first step is to make them specific, concrete, identifiable. Pin down exactly what it is you're afraid of.

This is another application of Pigeonholding. The point is that it's difficult to deal with something that's hazy and general, whether you're talking about fear, procrastination, or any other problem. If you go for a medical checkup and announce that you don't feel well, you aren't given a prescription. Instead, the doctor begins to probe for more specifics. Until a precise label can be attached to your ailment it's pointless even to think about remedies.

Although, in this case, we've already identified the ailment and labeled it: the label is fear. Fear of failure. But you must push beyond that; it's still too general. Exactly why do you fear failure in this particular case? As you dig deeper you may realize, for example, that what you really dread is the embarrassment that would result from that failure. You would have to admit to your associates that you bombed, and that's what's really bothering you.

Now you have put your problem into a pigeonhole labeled Embarrassment Before Associates. You still haven't solved your problem, but you have at least isolated it. Now, instead of trying to deal with a generality -- fear of failure -- you are dealing with a specific -- your embarrassment when your associates would become aware of that failure. Now you can ask yourself some pertinent questions...

Mar 31, 2015

Proverbs 12:24 says: "The hand of the diligent [the faithful worker] shall bear rule: but the slothful [lazy worker] shall be under tribute."


Our quote for today is from Paulo Coelho. He said: "Have pity on those who are fearful of taking up a pen, or a paintbrush, or an instrument, or a tool because they are afraid that someone has already done so much better than they could."

Today, in the Get Things Done podcast we are continuing with Part 2 of our series titled, “Overcoming Fear of Failure”. 

In our last episode, we identified healthy and unhealthy responses to fear of failure, and we also talked about how failure can actually be a good thing if we learn from it. Today, we will pick up with that discussion.

Okay, let's admit that valuable lessons can be learned from failure and that surviving failure can strengthen the ego. Aside from that there isn't much to be said for it, is there?

Yes, there is one other important benefit connected with failure. In many situations, successes tend to occur in fixed proportions to attempts. The more often you try -- and the more failures you chalk up -- the more successes you have.

Would you illustrate what you mean by that?

Suppose your job involves calling on customers, selling on commission. From analyzing your records you learn that on the average you make one sale out of every five calls. Of course, anything you can do to increase that ratio is desirable. But aside from that, even without improving your technique, you can increase your income simply by increasing the number of calls you make -- in other words, by getting more "failures." At your present rate, to make one more sale per week you need make only one more call each day. Each of those extra calls, even though unfruitful, should be thought of as an accomplishment and not a failure because it has moved you one step closer to your next sale.

Mar 23, 2015

Proverbs 12:24 says: "The hand of the diligent [the faithful worker] shall bear rule: but the slothful [lazy worker] shall be under tribute."

Our quote for today is from Napoleon Bonaparte. He said: "He who fears being conquered is sure of defeat."

Today, in the Get Things Done podcast we are beginning with Part 1 of a new series titled, "Overcoming Fear of Failure". 

Is there any one emotion that, more than any other, causes procrastination?

Yes. Fear in its various guises is at the bottom of much of our procrastination. It figures especially in our putting off really important things, as distinguished from simply bothersome chores like cutting the grass or washing the car.

What kinds of fear preclude action?

Fear of failure, fear of self-disclosure, fear of ridicule, fear of the unknown, fear of falling short of perfection, fear of confrontation, fear of pain, fear of risk, even fear of success, to name just a few.

And the most common of these is fear of failure. The realization that what you want to do may not work out, and that you will then have to admit to yourself and possibly to others that you didn't succeed. Many people are immobilized by such thoughts.

But that's understandable, isn't it? You can't blame people for being afraid to stick their necks out when there's a chance they may lose them.

True, but one's neck is seldom at stake, although we often act as if it were. Failure doesn't mean annihilation or disgrace or an end of opportunity. It usually means a temporary setback and nothing more. Thinking of it that way can preserve your morale, your optimism, your zest. In short, it can change your life.

As a matter of fact, not only is failure seldom a disaster, but it can actually have a benign aspect. It can serve a useful function, and can be thought of as a plus rather than as a minus.

Mar 17, 2015

1 Corinthians 10:31 says: "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."

Our quote for today is from Paul J. Meyer. He said: "Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort."

Today, in the Get Things Done podcast we are continuing with Part 9 of our section titled, "Developing a Game Plan to Overcome Procrastination". 

In our last episode, we talked about the pros and cons of talking to others about your goals and asking other to hold you accountable if you struggle with procrastination. Today, as we conclude this series on Developing a Game Plan to Overcome Procrastination, we are going to consider how prayer can help you kick the procrastination habit and start getting things done.

The philosophy of self-reliance is sound, no doubt, but what about the possibility of seeking assistance from a higher source? Doesn't prayer deserve a listing in our catalog of anti-procrastination techniques?

Certainly. It would be folly to overlook a practice that has helped billions of people throughout the ages. If what you are procrastinating on is something important, and if you have religious convictions, by all means use prayer as a means of strengthening your resolve. We've spoken of the benefit you can get from making a commitment to a friend. Obviously, if your commitment is to your Maker instead of to the person sitting at the next desk, your sense of obligation will be infinitely stronger.


Mar 10, 2015

Philippians 2:14-15 says: "Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world."

Our quote for today is from Babe Ruth. He said: "It's hard to beat a person who never gives up."

Today, we are continuing with Part 8 of our section titled, "Developing a Game Plan to Overcome Procrastination".

In our last episode, we talked about the merits of recording the talks you have with yourself as a way to get over inertia and procrastination and begin doing the things you know you ought to be doing. Today, we are going to talk about the type of questions you should ask as well as the value or lack thereof in talking with friends and family about the goals you wish to accomplish.

It isn't your self that you want to analyze, but your behavior. Remember that the goal isn't analysis, but change.

When people try to analyze themselves they begin to focus on the past, and when they do that they always find many places to put the blame for their shortcomings -- parents, siblings, teachers, fate, the company, the boss, the economy, the system. Even if the analysis happens to be correct it isn't very helpful. So instead of asking such questions as "What's wrong with me?" or "What made me the way I am?", it's far more helpful to ask, "In what ways would I like to change my behavior, and how can I?"

Mar 3, 2015

2 Thessalonians 3:11-12 says: "For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread."

Our quote for today is from Thomas Carlyle. He said: "Nothing builds self-esteem and self-confidence like accomplishment.”

Today, we are continuing with Part 7 of our section titled, "Developing a Game Plan to Overcome Procrastination".

In our last episode, we talked about the option of talking to yourself as a way to get over inertia and procrastination and begin doing the things you know you ought to be doing. Today, we are going to expand on that topic with the suggestion that you record these talks you have with yourself. When Edwin Bliss published his book in 1984, he recommended using a cassette tape recorder. Of course, today, you can do the same thing with your smartphone, a microphone hooked up to your desktop computer, or the built-in microphone on your laptop.

Just talking to yourself can have a powerful effect, but some people get even more benefit from a self-lecture if they record it. Then, whenever they are tempted to goof off, they can just play back what they said when they were in a more buoyant mood, thus getting the needed shot in the arm -- or kick in the rear, as the case may be.

Besides being a reusable medium for self-motivation, the recording has another advantage: some people find they simply can't talk to themselves out loud as we've discussed -- they feel self-conscious when pacing the floor soliloquizing, Hamlet-style. But with the recorder they are, in effect, dictating a memo to themselves, making the process more acceptable.

Feb 24, 2015

As we begin, let me give you this reminder from the Word of God. Proverbs 13:4 says: "The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat."

Our quote for today is from Jaachynma Agu. She said: "Satisfaction in life doesn't jump on you. You work for it, you earn it. You will not sit in a place, fold your hands and expect to be satisfied with life.”

Today, we are continuing with Part 6 of our section titled, "Developing a Game Plan to Overcome Procrastination".

In our last episode, we talked about the option of keeping a journal as a way to motivate yourself to accomplish the things you have been postponing. In this episode, Edwin Bliss shares with us the option of talking to yourself as a way to motivate yourself to get things done.

When you find yourself repeatedly postponing something you know you should do, go to a private room and talk to yourself out loud as if you were the proverbial Dutch uncle. Be blunt, direct, honest. Ask yourself what is going on, and why you have failed to do things that you know should be done. But don't just make it an exercise in self-flagellation: your message is not "I am a slob," or "I am a no-good procrastinator." Instead, it should be along the lines of, "This continuing procrastination is unacceptable, and it's going to end immediately. Here is what I am going to do to get started..."

Tell yourself what you are going to do, not what you should do. Commit yourself to a specific action at a specific time. Make it a pep talk: assure yourself that you can do it. End on a positive note.

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