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Procrastination (Part IV)

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A trap is a device for catching animals.

An old-fashioned “dead fall” trap has bait placed beneath an extremely heavy cross log.


This log is delicately balanced so that the slightest movement will make it fall with such force as to disable or kill a small animal.

In the 17th century the idea of this trapping practice was borrowed into psychology to mean some deceitful practice or trick designed to do harm. People who repeatedly procrastinate in a way that does harm are tricking themselves into a trap.

By procrastinating, their intention is to get some kind of gain -- to acquire something; to keep away from or not get something; to keep from losing something; or to keep things as they are.

Each of these is a trap because immediate short-term gains are often followed by consequences which cause a life-time of bad after-effects. In other words, to feel good or indifferent about procrastinating is to walk into a trap.

Although you may or may not get the bait, you will become disabled for a period of time, if not for life.

If you are imitating the procrastination habits of your parents, friends, or the community, you will follow them into a “dead end.” What that “dead end” looks like is to be like all the people you are following.

All are unsuccessful, lack money, and never reach their talent potential or their dream. Suppose you procrastinate to show your resentment toward an authority or want to show how powerful you are. It is the nature of most people, especially males, to meet a show of force with a bigger show of force.

“If you hit me, I will hit you harder.” Then, in order to show you are a “man,” you will increase your attack. This is how procrastinators get a lasting bad reputation.

Procrastinating with authorities can be foolish because they possess overwhelming power, skill in the use of force, a willingness to use their force, and may take pleasure in beating, jailing, and murdering resistors. Thus, it is wiser to give ground and come back another day with a better plan.

This is what is meant by “discretion is the better part of valor” or “look before you leap” into a bad attitude. People who procrastinate out of frustration and mental confusion from indecisiveness make stronger their habit of failing to learn how to figure out ways to keep going straight ahead in any difficult situation.

Some people are so bitterly disappointed with themselves that they use procrastination as a method of self-punishment, even when benefits are readily available. This, of course, means they are so focused on the negatives of their inner self that they cannot focus on an outer self-improvement goal.

Thus, they will go “nowhere but down.”

Most Black people are fed up with being disrespected and disgusted with feeling relatively powerless within the society at large. In order to give their self-esteem a “booster shot,” they engage in procrastination as a display of their importance.

A common example is those always late. Their “booster shot” comes at the moment of their grand entrance because then they are the center of attention. But in business, lateness prevents being hired, keeps one from promotions, or leads to being fired. Brutes are so self-centered, crude, and ill-mannered that they have no regard for the inconveniences they cause people by procrastinating.

By being so thoughtless they make everybody angry. Angry people are not helpful and often will go out of their way to throw obstacles in one’s path. Regardless of cause, procrastination is a way to guarantee two things. First, You Will Never Reach Your Full Potential And Forever Will Be Burdened By This Realization.

Second, you will be left to wallow in the ruins of what might have been greatness in your life. As Mother used to tell me, “Son, if you do not handle little things well you will not be chosen to handle big things.”

Joseph A. Bailey, II, M.D

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