Paradox Pair #32: Aspiration & Procrastination

Aspirations expand our horizon, expectations cap our ceiling. Aspirations are about striving to achieve more, expectations are only good enough. Aspirations lift us up, expectations hold us back. Aspirations allow for new possibilities, expectations are predetermined outcomes.

Paradox Pair #32: Aspiration & Procrastination
Aspiration & Procrastination, James LaPlaine

Aspirations are far better than expectations. Aspirations expand our horizon, expectations cap our ceiling. Aspirations are about striving to achieve more, expectations are only good enough. Aspirations lift us up, expectations hold us back. Aspirations allow for new possibilities, expectations are predetermined outcomes.

We remember that our performance does not set our value, our determination does. We improve our performance when we live an Ubuntu life, surrounding ourselves with those that believe in us, identifying our tribe. Ubuntu (oǒ’boǒntoō), a word from the Nguni languages of South Africa, translates to "I am I, because of we". The concept emphasizes the connectedness of all of us as a people.

However, even with all of our talents and experiences we sometimes procrastinate. In fact, it is because we have aspirations that we procrastinate, without them we would resign ourselves to our humble fate. We recognize procrastination for what it is, a coping mechanism to protect ourselves from failure.

"We jeopardize our performance to create an excuse for possible poor results." --Nic Voge

Procrastination happens when our motivations strike an equal balance between our desire for success and our fear of failure. As time advances, and the deadline looms closer, the growing fear of not getting our work done at all breaks the balance. We then give ourselves license to operate in a "good enough" fashion, lowering our internal expectations (ceiling), and providing a ready-made excuse for why our performance may miss the mark — we didn't have enough time.

To avoid procrastination we need to become aware of it, recognizing the conditions that cause it. We can tip the balance toward success by acknowledging the reasons why we want to do this work and recognize the benefits that will occur upon success. This approach also allows us to break down complex problems in to several smaller tasks, making each more manageable and reducing the fear of failure.

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