Are You Stuck?
Are You Stuck?
(c) Copyright 2003 by Murdo Macleod
You know the feeling.
There's something you want to do. You've thought about it,
you've made your decision, and now it's time to act.
Except... you don't.
You want to take the next step, but "something" stops you.
Do you know what that "something" is?
It's all down to our ancient ancestors...
Backtrack 100,000 years ago when we all lived in caves and
ferocious animals lurked nearby.
Decision making in those days was literally a matter of life
and death. If you took a wrong turn, or made yourself too
visible, you would attract predators who would eat you for
dinner. You and the entire group.
Whatever action you took, you had to be 100% certain before
taking it. One mistake meant death.
Fast forward to today.
100,000 years on, and the human brain has evolved into a
marvel of sophisticated intelligence. Unfortunately, it
still contains the primitive thinking layer used by our
And there lies the problem.
Because even today, we still have this overriding need for
the elusive quality that enabled our primitive forebears to
And so although the decisions we face nowadays are seldom a
matter of life and death, they can often feel that way
thanks to our genetic inheritance.
That's why the first step is always the hardest to take.
Anytime you decide to do something new, you are stepping
outside "the cave of the familiar" into unknown territory
where you are likely to experience some form of fear.
And this sense of discomfort is so strong, you'll do
anything to avoid it.
Typical tricks include avoidance, delay, or "over-
"Over-thinking" is when you continue to think about making a
decision, long after you've actually decided! What you're
really doing is creating a safe mental environment for
yourself. By constantly thinking about something, it
becomes familiar, and so you start to feel comfortable
The problem with "over-thinking" is that it doesn't move you
forward one tiny bit, and only results in wasted time and
Ultimately, a decision is not a decision until it's acted
upon. Until that point, it remains a dream.
Here's how to ease yourself out of procrastination and into
action using what I call the "triple A" method...
Accept -> Ask -> Act
Step #1 - Accept
Accept uncertainty is a part of life.
Just by doing this, you'll become aware of your feelings
surrounding a decision and put them into perspective by
relating them to your own primeval craving for certainty.
Realize that even with the best analysis, careful planning,
and due diligence, the outcome can never really be known in
advance and there comes a time when you've got to take the
risk and move forward.
Step #2 - Ask
Ask yourself: "What's the worst that can happen here?"
Look at the worst case scenario, and ask yourself what you'd
really lose from it. Most often, it's a lot less than you
might have feared.
And what can you do if the worst scenario was to
materialize? Could you backtrack? Change direction? Start
again? Few things are ever truly final.
Usually you'll find you've got nothing to worry about.
Step #3 - Act
Finally, act. Just do it. Take the next step.
Making a decision and acting on it is enormously liberating.
You get a sudden burst of momentum as you cast off the
shackles of procrastination and finally move forward towards
The old maxim "If in doubt, leave it out" is essential
advice when driving or engaging in other hazardous
For most decisions in life, though, you can afford to take a
little risk and start living.
The next time you feel stuck, use the 'AAA' technique to
help you move forward.
Accept. Ask. Act.
'7 Steps To Mental Mastery' -- Learn how to think faster,
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Murdo Macleod is the creator of the popular course: '7 Steps
To Mental Mastery'.