Tomorrow-ism and procrastinationitis are two words I've created to refer to the habit of putting off until tomorrow that which can (should) be done today. You suffer from procrastinationitis if you think, "Tomorrow I'll spend more time with my children" or "Tomorrow I'll work on being a better husband, wife, father, mother, or person."
When you live this way, you often miss out on some of the greatest moments of life because life is not lived in tomorrow – it's lived in today. And most of life is about the little things that happen each day.
When my granddaughter was 8-years old, her mother picked her up from school and brought her to our house. We were excited about her visit because we hadn't seen her for over a week. When they arrived, she came running into the house and screamed, "Grandpa!" She jumped into my arms and gave me the biggest hug Grandpa has ever had.
At that moment – nothing in the past mattered, and though I had much to do that afternoon, whatever it was, it could wait. What mattered most was to stand there and hug that pretty little girl. That is living in the awareness of a holy moment.
Of course, we're supposed to think about our future and plan our days and weeks to be productive. I'm not disputing that. What I am suggesting is that using tomorrow as an excuse to do nothing today is a flawed belief system you must lose if you want to win.
The late great author Napoleon Hill said it this way, "Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday."
Tomorrowism –or procrastinationism is a deadly disease for those who only yearn for success but do nothing today to bring it about.
A few years ago, a friend of mine and I created a small business we thought had great potential. Both of us were fully employed with plenty to do when we set out to start this business. My partner, Dwight, at the time an Airline pilot, said, "No matter how busy we are, we must advance the ball every day." He explained, the perpetual completion of small tasks ultimately accomplishes big jobs. He was right. We got the business off the ground right on schedule, and we made some money with the project because though we were busy, each day, we advanced the ball. Or, to say it another way, we didn’t procrastinate.
Why do we procrastinate? Why do we think tomorrow will be the best time to do something? Author Dennis Waitley observed, "Procrastination is the fear of success. People procrastinate because they are afraid of the success that they know will result if they move ahead now. Because success is heavy, carries a responsibility with it, it is much easier to procrastinate and live on the 'someday I'll' philosophy."
Procrastination is the first cousin of perfectionism. If you think things must be perfect before a decision is made or an action is taken, you will retreat from your calling. You are not called to be perfect — only one man was, and they crucified him. You are called to be you.
Think. Pray. Plan. Execute. But don't procrastinate.
Dr. Ron Ross is an author, publisher, speaker, and "The Voice of Powerful Seniors."