Going Beyond Survival and Achieving More


A challenge that many of us face is procrastination. We’re often looking at people who seem to have overcome it and wish that we could be like them. We often talk about procrastination as if it’s bad and unnatural as if it’s a problem. We view it as something is wrong with us and it needs to be fixed. I disagree with this point of view. Procrastination is not just common, it’s normal behaviour.

Human beings, like all life, is designed to survive. Survival requires doing only what is necessary to keep living and to continue existing and a little extra to have some comfort. Survival doesn’t require achieving great things, becoming rich, or powerful, or a top performer in any field. If the goal is survival then achieving more than that means using an unnecessary amount of resources for that extra gain. From the point of view of just survival, the extra gain is unnecessary. 

Survival runs a lot of what we as individuals and as a society do. By doing only what we need to, we procrastinate instead of starting tasks early because we do not need to start early. We can survive by doing it at the last minute, even if it’s stressful. Survival influences financial management where many people live week to week or pay cheque to pay cheque. Some households earn six figure incomes and live pay cheque to pay cheque. As their income increased, their spending increased. Saving significant amounts of money goes beyond survival. Many people only save money to make large purchases such as homes and they save for retirement because the government gave them a tax incentive to do so. Some people claim that they work better under pressure but it’s really that there is a deadline and in order to survive the consequences of the deadline they must do the task now. They can’t procrastinate anymore. 

To go beyond survival, we need a reason to put in the extra effort and work the produce more than necessary. To build a larger business, we need to produce significantly more than we need for ourselves and our family. To motivate ourselves to produce significantly more, we need a good reason for doing it. We need to create a purpose for that excess. What do we want to do with that excess? 

For example, if you want more money, then how much more money? What do you want to use that money for? Whatever it is that you want has to be something that you want more than the comfort you get from the lower level of effort to live a bit above survival. What do you want badly enough to motivate you to put in the extra effort to produce more than you need for survival? Do you want to have a higher status or position in your career? Do you want to have a certain lifestyle that costs more than your current one? Do you want a certain level of financial security? Do you want to afford certain types of experiences in life? Do you want to contribute or improve a community? Do you want to create a particular legacy? Do you want to become more than who you currently are? A better version of yourself where you have unlocked more of who you really are or choose to be. Do you want to buy back your time so that it can be used for something other than labour? It’s not about a wishlist or a fantasy. Look at what you truly want to accomplish or have in reality.

Once you have clarified what you want to achieve and have, you will have a reason to produce more than you need for survival. Use these goals to motivate you to be proactive and to put in the effort that is required to achieve your goals. You will acquire the level of discipline that you need and put in place the routines, structures, and habits that are required to achieve your goals.

Have a plan of what you will do with the excess that you produce. It could be to save the money to build up reserves or to invest into people and infrastructure to grow your business. You can also pay for your expenses into the future such as prepaying for things that you know that you will need anyway. 

Remember that procrastination is normal and do not beat yourself up over it. There is nothing wrong with you and there is an opportunity for you to be and have more if you choose.

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