If you’re in a position where you’re not getting the things done that you don’t want to get done, especially if it’s an issue of motivation, then it’s almost always the case that there is some kind of disagreement between your conscious and subconscious minds that is going on.
Navigating this type of disagreement is incredibly frustrating if you don’t know what your options are on a conscious level because your subconscious mind is much faster than your conscious one. At the same time, your conscious mind is also smarter in the sense that it’s able to plan and formulate much more complicated strategies. You have to leverage this if you want your conscious mind to win in this type of conflict.
Why Subconscious Fear is Such a Tricky Problem
One of the things that your subconscious mind is designed to do is avoid danger. It does this extremely well, but sometimes it does this a bit too well because it can remember things from the past that scared you or that were stressful and think that they are going on right now in the present moment. In turn, your subconscious mind can then try to avoid certain places or activities because it’s under the mistaken impression that you are going to put yourself in the danger of the past.
In short, your subconscious thinking isn’t able to differentiate between the past and the present.
People who have problems with procrastination know this type of situation very well. They can feel a certain level of anxiety about what it is they were needing to do, and they can feel that something is pushing them away from getting that task done. However, they almost never realize what’s actually going on with it in terms of the subconscious mind being afraid of the task for some reason. If you have some degree of compassion for yourself, however, then you can negotiate with this part of your mind and find a solution.
The Role of Compassion for Yourself
The first thing you need to do is have an honest conversation with yourself to figure out what it is you’re actually afraid of, usually on a mostly subconscious level. What I think is the easiest way to do this, based on the work I’ve done with a variety of people with a variety of backgrounds, is to find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed, and just ask yourself what you’re afraid of. Literally say it so that you can hear it. After you do that, don’t say anything else, and just listen to what comes up in your mind.
It may take a few moments, but your subconscious mind will answer you, and it may give you a few different answers. Pay attention to how each one of those things feels, especially since feeling is the main way your subconscious mind communicates with you, and you’ll figure out which is terrorizing you the most. Then figure out how that thing ties into what you’re struggling to do or whatever it is you’re procrastinating on.
At this point, your job is to show compassion for yourself by acknowledging that this is a legitimate fear because of the parameters of how the subconscious mind works that we discussed above (ie: it can’t differentiate between past and present). Work out how you can do things a little differently to ease that fear, and you’ll see your productivity shoot up and your procrastination die down, especially when combined with the other methods we’ve discussed.