Great Escape Podcast episode 18 - A Little Escape - Procrastination

Uncategorized Aug 06, 2019

Here I am, sitting in a hotel room in Melbourne, in Australia. I've got a whole mountain of things that I want to get done in the next two or three days. And I've got about one tenth of it done before all sorts of other thoughts kick in. Massive sciatica in both legs. Don't usually get it in both legs, sometimes get it in one. Suddenly very interested in going exploring the local cafes. And finding somewhere with some nice cakes to eat. And it seems that the more I try and sit down and do the things that I had set for the next few days to be done, the more, somehow my brain is desperately trying to find ways of distracting me of finding other things to do, of encouraging me to not set to with those things. And I recognize this. This happens, it's a common trope in my life that just when I want to set to and make a break through on something, somehow everything else becomes more interesting to do. And it's probably true for most of us that procrastination is a thing that happens. And as I was editing the podcast for this coming Saturday with Kenny Wise, it suddenly struck me that everything that was happening was in a way just referring to some of the things that he said. You know, I'm quite comfortable in my life with the idea of not getting things done, mainly because all though my life I've never felt that I did anything well enough. So actually not doing it well enough is the way my brain feels most comfortable. Because as human beings, we're creatures of habit. And we are creatures of habit. Coming up with new ways of doing things takes a huge amount of brain power of energy. And the brain is designed to minimize the amount of energy that it uses because it is the single most energy consuming part of the human body certainly by mass. So, it is trying to create habitual behaviors. It's trying to create ways of enabling us to do things without having to be consciously thinking about them, which is the most energy consuming mode of operation for the brain. And so the feelings of familiarity, even if those are feelings of pain actually, because we're in some way used to that pain, the brain says this is a road down which I know how to go, it's easy, it's comfortable and I know what to expect. So soon as we try and move off that track, soon as we try and get away from that groove down which our brain is comfortable running, even if it's an unpleasant groove, we're actually trying to drive our thought processes off into the rough ground. The energy consuming ground. The places where the brain has got to work harder. And so its entire physiology is designed to try and keep us working down the tracks that we know how to go down to, because that's less, uses less energy. So even now, you know I've spent half and hour setting the camera up. Did I need to set the camera up? No, I could've just picked up the voice recorder and recorded an episode of the podcast 'cause basically, the podcast is an audio, usually an audio medium. But on the website,, there are videos for some of the episodes. And I thought "Oh, I can do this." So, basically my brain has spent half an hour setting things up so I can record an episode of the podcast rather than doing the thing that I really wanted to get done this morning. Does that sound like madness to you? It certainly sounds like madness to me. So I'm gonna wrap this episode up with this thought. If the brain is designed to create habits so that it can use less energy and less processing power in order to keep us alive. And so many of our habits are self destructive. How bad does it have to get before we use this huge piece of the brain that makes us human, the ability to have free will when we say, "You know what?
"I'm gonna get off this well trodden,
"this well beaten track.
"Head out into the wilderness a bit
"and make different choices." And actually, the more we do that, the more we go that way, you know that way or that way, whichever way it is, it really doesn't matter. Actually those routes will become easier too. Those paths will become well trodden. The brain is, they call it plastic, it can learn, it can create new pathways. So, all we have to do is keep treading that new pathway. And pretty quickly really, that new pathway will become the natural route down which the brain wants to go. Not this one. So actually, what I'm trying to do is train my brain out of feeling comfortable in a place where nothing I ever do is good enough. And into a place where it's comfortable where most things I do are not just good enough but excellent. And actually, what I'm trying to do is train myself to become comfortable with the idea that I can do this. That I am good enough to do this. Whatever this is. And I'd encourage you to try and find that place as well. Find the place where you can be successful at something. It doesn't matter what it is. Even if it's just a small thing. And get used to that feeling of being successful. Thank you so much listening to this episode of the Great Escape Podcast. You can find other episodes at all the usual places on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify. Or at the website, And if you'd like to contact me, to talk about any element of this episode or others I've covered, please go to And you can find all the ways of getting hold of me there. And if you're stuck in a situation, and you can't find the way out, please go there, send me a message and let's see how we can work together to get you unstuck and moving forward with your life again. Please do share this podcast with your friends and family or other people you think might appreciate it. And comment on episodes or send me a message. I'd love to keep the conversation going.

The Great Escape titles music was created by Darren Reddick

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