I have a serious problem. Not diabetes or Ginger-serious, but I’ve struggled with it my entire life and I’m certain many of you readers have as well. I have a serious problem. Not diabetes or Ginger-serious, but I’ve struggled with it my entire life and I’m certain many of you readers have as well.
I’m a chronic procrastinator.
I eschew responsibility. I shy away from challenge. I sit and make excuses and rationalize my apathy until I’ve deluded myself into complacency. It sounds harmless, but I guarantee it’s a more pressing issue in your life than nuclear war or flesh-eating bacteria. And it probably always has been.
When I was eight, my parents signed me up for the local JCC basketball league. Until that point, I never was really a sports kid, more like a dinosaurs and a He-Might-Be-a-Gay-kid. The first practice was miserable. I got angry for missing shots I didn’t know how to take and frustrated with a game I never learned how to play. But rather than persevering to become the John Stockton of Dr. Katzman’s Podiatry Associates Utah Jazz team, I told my parents I hated it and never came back. I still have the pinny in my closet.
Flash-forward 16 years. After countless failed diets, short-lived hobbies, and constantly rotating college majors, I’m trying to make it as stand-up comedian. Yes, the lifelong lollygagger has chosen a shaky career that demands perseverance, dedication, and the unique ability to bask in failure while a roomful of strangers judge you. Don’t worry; I’ve already secured the movie rights. Naturally, my bad habit has stymied my career more than once.
I've seen fellow comics appear on MTV and book gigs at the Comedy Cellar while I languish in obscurity. Are they funnier than me? Maybe. Did they try harder than me? Definitely. They went to shitty open mic after shitty open mic, refining their craft and embracing the struggle. I sat home because I was worried that my jokes weren't stage ready yet, or I was going to bomb, or the fucking dew point wasn't optimal.
Now, I know anyone who has bought a pair of sneakers or heard of Wayne Gretzky is all-too familiar with this mantra. But how many of you actually put it into practice? How many times have you had a great idea for a product or a service that didn’t leave the couch? How many times have you settled with some boring job because it was safe or easy to get? Fuck, how many times have you avoided texting a girl because of the “what-ifs”. You can’t live in a world of “what-ifs”. Deal with the what-ifs when they actually happen.
Now, I don’t always practice what I preach, but I’m more aware of it than I ever have been. I was worried about making a comedy sketch because I didn’t have the right camera guy. That video almost broke 100,000 views. I was even worried about writing this article, thinking it’d be safer to write the “Top Ten Reasons Why College/Breaking Bad/Tits/Gofuckyourself”. But I wrote it anyway and now I feel pretty good.
So fellow procrastinators, every now and then, try and write the article you are worried about writing. It’s feels a lot better than leaving an empty page.