Procrastination Nation

I’m in a procrastination nation of my own making. It’s governed by rules of putting things off until tomorrow and the currency is little slithers of dopamine from mobile games. Right now, the country is in turmoil and a civil war is brewing against the establishment. Like all revolutions this one is hard fought and I fully expect the regent governors with the names: “Do it Later”, “Not now”, “Another time”, and “I should watch The Office again” will be summarily executed. The guillotine comes down and Marcus Aurelius is the executioner. A rather poetic image.

“Ask yourself this about each action: ‘How does this sit with me? Shall I regret it?'” Meditations 8.2

Do I regret inaction? Or is inaction a part of being actively passive? Is there a difference between being actively passive and procrastinating? I’m arguing with yes because I don’t feel regret for being so actively passive; for meditation and taking in the world around me, breathing in the new spring air and standing in the sun with a coffee. I regret babbling on about pure shit to a friend on the internet to avoid doing work. Perhaps that’s the difference. One is enriching to the greater benefit, the other isn’t. What’s enriching about sharing a story about being on a date with someone who thought reciting an entire episode of Drag Race would be endearing? I’m not sure how much my friend got out of it.

How much of our activities as human beings procrastinating? For example, X, watches Judge Judy everyday without fail then some days says:

“Well I can’t go for my run now it’s too late.”

The sun is shining, dinner can wait, Judy won’t care – but we mustn’t miss the end(!). Or another example: a person I work with will talk to me about Harry Potter for twenty minutes – knowing full well I don’t care about the story or the characters or what the views of the author are – to avoid a simple task. Another: I made three coffees today to avoid doing work.

I know I’ve spoken before about disagreeing with Marcus about inaction but I was making a different point about enjoying life rather than racing to the end. Procrastination, in this sense is putting of things that need to be done before the end. A fear of failing these things perhaps? What if I go to Goa and hate it, and fail at being happy. What if I fail at the work I’m meant to be doing today? What if? What if?

Enough of what if. Only what is.

“Do or do not, there is no try.” – Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

What are you putting off through fear of failure not because of planning, nor waiting not even being cautious. Fear of failure is procrastinating. I did it all the time with maths homework in Year 9, I’m doing the same with actual work. Sure take your time on a job, make sure it’s done properly, like a good philosophy or a garden shed. But you have to start somewhere, sometime – now is the time. This blog is an example. Its existence an act of revolt against the Procrastination Nation.

“Perfection of character is this: to live each day as if it were you last, without frenzy, without apathy, without pretence.” Meditations 7.69


Quick Quote Post: 2

I work in an environment where a lot of people disliking me or having a particular opinion of me in one way or another is a borderline expectation. It is what it is and a reality to be accepted yet not everyone accepts this. I act as I do in a professional way to my colleagues and while not as personal as I would be with those I consider friends, I try to be virtuous in my actions. For some, if not most, it can be unnerving or uncomfortable to work with and around those you know don’t like you – either personally or professionally. And are not all people of the world our colleagues in life? Luckily, our favourite Roman emperor has some words for you:

“Someone despises me? That is his concern. But I will see to it that I am not found guilty of any word or action deserving of contempt. Will he hate me? That is his concern. But I will be kind and well-intentioned to all, and ready this very person what he is failing to see – not in any criticism or display of tolerance, but with genuine good will, like the famous Phocion (if, that is, he was not speaking ironically). This should be the quality of our inner thoughts, which are open to the gods’ eyes: they should see a man not disposed to any complaint and free of self-pity. And what harm can you suffer, if you yourself at this present moment are acting in kind with your own nature and accepting what suits the present purpose of universal nature – a man at full stretch for the achievement, this way or that, of the common good?” Meditations 11.13

Phocion was a Greek statesmen nicknamed: “The Good”. He was sentenced to death and as his final words were to his son to not hold a grudge against his executors. I’ve spoken before about reputation and being liked yet I think it’s worth repeating the point. Are you, in your heart, a truly virtuous person – not without sin, perhaps, yet without blame?

Drink up your sangria, summer-child, give a genuine “hello” and “how are you” to your neighbour in the glasshouse with their stones. The sun shines on you both.


Jemima Puddle-Duck

Today I was reflecting on my recent ‘dramas’ with a friend and we both came to the conclusion that perhaps it is not the issues that are really my issue yet my overly trusting nature. This friend used the Beatrix Potter story of Jemima Puddle-Duck as an allegory for my own naivety. For those unfamiliar with the story, the character Jemima is a duck who seeks a place to lay her eggs in peace and is invited in by a “foxy” man and has to be rescued by the farm dog, Kip.

I have also been perhaps overly trusting in the universe’s whim (if not my own) to share sensitive details with someone who is a perfect stranger. Yet something tells me, in all of my spiritual being, that sharing what I did was the right thing. And so, in knowing that it was the right thing to do, is there regret to be had even if the information is used against me? If not trusting in my own gut – my own Third Eye, the Universe -, who can I trust? What can I trust? What can any of us? Sometimes I think, Like with Jemima Puddle-Duck, occasionally we all need a farm dog called Kip.

“Do not be ashamed to ask for help. It is your task to acheive your assigned duty, like a soldier in a scaling-party. What, then, if you are lame and cannot climb the parapet yourself, but this is made possible by another’s help?” Meditations 7.7

I’ve spoken about trust before. It was one of my first posts here. Trust, will be a common theme in my life: knowing who to trust and how to trust and what to trust. Is it not a common theme in all of our lives as trust is an extension of truth after all. Truth is relative and to that end so is trust. Yet unlike truth, trust is not fluid or dictated to by perception. It is grounding and true, yet we have find it first, don’t we? Not just in others but ourselves. For me, I can trust others heartily, but I question whether I trust myself enough to make that judgement. Despite this, whatever hardship, I remember and so should you:

“Doing something? I do it with reference to the benefit of mankind. Something happen to me? I accept it in reference to the gods and universal source from which all things spring interrelated.”Meditations 8.23


For the full story of Jemima Puddle-Duck, see here: