“When feelings become the means of thinking, or if we cannot think greater than how we feel, we can never change. To change is to think greater than how we feel. To change is an act greater than the feeling of the memorized self.” ~ Joe Dispenza in Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself.
Take a moment to consider that feeling of resistance that surfaces when you have to do something you don’t want to do. Perhaps there’s a report due next week, a mountain of laundry to fold and put away, or an uncomfortable conversation you need to have with a loved one. Just thinking about that unpleasant task evokes uncomfortable feelings of resistance. Now consider the reality of the situation. There isn’t just one thing that you’re putting off doing, is there? I bet, because you’re human after all, you’ve got a pretty substantial Resistance List.
What is a Resistance List?
A Resistance List is a list of things (such as that dreaded report, the never ending laundry, or that potentially triggering convo) that have been piling up over time while you distract yourself with other things instead. This list of things you’ve been deferring tends to grow exponentially. It’s as though the resistance has power over your ability to get anything accomplished.
I think that we actually become addicted to the feeling of resistance. It becomes normal to delay the doing of things rather than actually tackling them; we are practicing the art of resistance and turning it into a habit.
This prevalent and incessant push back to which we let rule, is most commonly expressed as procrastination. Procrastination is a natural and common aspect of being human. The trouble is, when we procrastinate on one thing, it becomes easier for us to transfer that solution of procrastination onto another problem (task). Pretty soon we find ourselves with a procrastination habit, actually enjoying being a procrastinator because it becomes the familiar and easy way of 'solving' problems.
If we succumb to the resistance, instead of pushing through, then we are (consciously or not) choosing procrastination over productivity. By allowing procrastination to win, the feelings of resistance grow and we continue to think the same way over and over again, choosing what's easy over progress. Essentially, we are reinforcing a procrastination loop.
That is where my Secret Weapon comes in.
I believe the ability to transmute procrastination into productivity lies in the power of the Gratitude Mindset.
The Gratitude Mindset is key to combating the heaviness, the stuck-ness, and the chronic resistance associated with procrastination.
When you break the procrastination cycle by consciously choosing to feel differently about the task (having gratitude for it instead of dread or resentment or boredom) you will move forward. Guaranteed.
You’ll feel light as a feather . You’ll become unbound. You’ll practice non-resistance.
And then? Hello productivity!
Gratitude will shift you towards optimism and eagerness so that you can accomplish the task. Those thoughts will inspire action and that action will pull you out of the procrastination cycle and into a more productive life.
Robert Sharma hits the nail on the head when he says, “Gratitude drives happiness. Happiness boosts productivity. Productivity reveals mastery. And mastery inspires the world.”
When you operate with a gratitude mindset, you are appreciative of what has existed and what already exists. This allows you to focus on the limitless opportunities available to you.
Just as a growth mindset is a catalyst for exponential learning, and an abundance mindset perpetuates affluence, a gratitude mindset creates more things to be thankful for.
There are two key components of gratitude that are important to note when it comes to cultivating a gratitude mindset:
1. Gratitude as a skill. Gratitude is a soft skill that is profoundly impactful, and can be learned by anyone. It is very common to experience awkward feelings when learning to express gratitude towards others, especially if it’s a skill you did not grow up with. Just like any skill, cultivating the gratitude mindset takes practice. Be consistent, and over time you will experience increased intensity and duration of the feelings associated with expressing gratitude: happiness, optimism, motivation, and abundance.
2. Gratitude as a personality trait. Some people can be perceived as more grateful than others, to the point that we describe one person's personality as grateful and another's as ungrateful. Yes, our traits are rooted in our sense of being, but that doesn't mean we can't change. As conscious beings, we have the powerful ability to shift and evolve who we are and how we express ourselves. So, a daily gratitude practice can certainly help us to become a more grateful person; it just takes persistence, patience, and commitment. Remember, our thoughts and feelings affect our behaviors. Over time, repeated thoughts, feelings, and behaviors form personality traits. So if you want to be a more grateful person tomorrow than you are today, you've gotta feel appreciation, think of things you’re grateful for, and behave graciously on a consistent basis.
Check out part two of this blog series here to learn how gratitude shifts us from procrastination to productivity, and for some simple ways to integrate gratitude so that you can improve productivity in every area of your life.