As we begin, let me give you this reminder from the Word of God. Proverbs 14:23 says: "In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury (poverty)."
Our quote for today is from Edward Everett Hale. He said: "I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do."
Today, we are continuing with part 5 of the section titled, "Attitude Adjustment".
"Doing It Now" is written in a conversation format, and today’s conversation starter is: Suppose you lack the attribute of self-discipline that is supposed to be so essential, how do you develop it?
For starters, you change your attitude toward difficult tasks, and admit to yourself that postponing them will not make them easier. Tell yourself that from now on you are never going to put anything on the back burner without running the rationalization through your mental computer for careful analysis. As you weigh the reasons methodically and objectively, you will begin to spend less of your time in the fantasy world of the procrastinator and more in the real world where the penalties of postponement are recognized and unacceptable.
You'll start also with something even more basic: an attitude of affirmation. You must tell yourself that you really can change, if you want to. The tendency to procrastinate isn't something one is born with, like color blindness. It is a habit and you can alter habits. The way you begin is by admitting that you can and resolving that you will.
This "attitude of affirmation" you speak of—isn't that just another term for "the power of positive thinking"? And isn't that pretty old stuff?
The answer to both questions is, yes. Norman Vincent Peale calls it positive thinking. Robert Schuller uses the term possibility thinking. Clement Stone talks about PMA—positive mental attitude. Maxwell Malt coined the term psycho-cybernetics. Wayne Dyer speaks of becoming a no-limit person. An earlier proponent of positive thinking, Jesus of Nazareth, put it this way: "According to your faith be it unto you."
So, it's nothing new. But one of the ironies of the human condition is that old verities are suspect. A truth that has been proven millions of times through the ages will be questioned because of its very antiquity. We have to learn it all over again sometimes dressing it up in new garb. Thus each generation and each individual has to be convinced anew that love is better than hate, that peace is better than war, that virtue is better than vice, and that positive thinking brings success and negative thinking produces failure.
Sophisticates may scoff at what they describe as the simplistic message of Robert Schuller, but even they are awed by the magnificence of the great Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, which "possibility thinking" produced. Even more important, they must be impressed by the changes that have occurred in countless lives because of the "simplistic" message of affirmation.
In the words of Dr. Karl Menninger, the famous psychiatrist, "Attitudes are more important than facts." Those six words express a profound truth. Change your attitude toward procrastination and you will have taken a major step toward overcoming it.
But to change your attitude by a mere act of will seems impossible. It's like lifting yourself by your bootstraps. If you don't honestly believe you can overcome procrastination, how do you trick yourself into believing you can? How do you convince yourself of something that simply isn't so?
You don't. Because it is so. You aren't tricking yourself or lying to yourself—you are stating a truth. Remember, we are not talking about just procrastination but about the things you are procrastinating on. The skill you want to develop, the weight loss you would like to achieve, the language you would like to learn, the house you would like to build—all of these things are attainable once you get it through your head that they really are, and that the only thing blocking them is your own negativism: your refusal to believe in your own capacity and then to act on that belief.