procrastination and wabi-sabi

Posted on June 21, 2005

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Procrastination – we all do it. Some of us even know we’re doing it, and know we shouldn’t, and yet we go on doing it regardless. Consciously, almost. In Solid tactics for understanding (and beating) procrastination Merlin over at the wonderful 43 Folders points us to a nice clear explanation of why, and what to do about it. Overcoming Procrastination through the Pull Method suggests that

“Most procrastination happens because through procrastinating we are temporarily able to relieve fears: fear of failure, fear of being imperfect, fear of impossible expectations. Most of these fears, in turn, are ultimately based in the idea that work and life are awful struggles which we must somehow get through…”

The article goes on to recommend that we replace this kind of thinking by letting go of the concepts of “perfect” and “complete”, focussing instead on the joy of “in progress”.

“I choose to start on one small imperfect step, knowing that I have plenty of time to enjoy life.”

This made me think of wabi-sabi, the Japanese ethic of the unfinished, imperfect and incomplete. I whole-heartedly recommend Leonard Koren’s beautiful little book Wabi-Sabi: For Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers; read it in an hour, and be changed forever.

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