Last time you learned how to recognize procrastination, which is one of the most common symptoms of fear. Closely related to that – indeed, it’s really a subset of procrastination – is when you take the wrong kind of action. So instead of procrastination that grinds all activity to a halt, you actually find yourself busy… but you’re still not moving forward.
As you might suspect, this sort of symptom of fear is very difficult to spot (at least initially). That’s because you’re busy every day. You may even feel productive and satisfied with what you’ve accomplished. Indeed, you may even be working on your “to do” list.
And yet you’re still not getting anything done. Not really. You’re busy and working hard, but you’re not actually productive since you’re taking the wrong kind of action.
The reason why this one is so hard to spot is because you may believe you’re taking the right action. True, deep down – on some level – you know you’re just wasting time. But you can go into such deep denial about this form of procrastination that you start to believe you are taking the right kind of action.
Taking the wrong action while believing it’s the correct action usually leads to yet another problem. Namely, people start blaming someone or something else for their lack of good results.
For example, you see this a lot on online marketing forums. People will purchase a book on a particular marketing strategy. They may even buy it after others have told them specifically to NOT buy it. And yet they waste weeks or even months trying it out, knowing full well that this particular strategy doesn’t work… or at least it isn’t suited for their marketing model.
So, they waste time taking the wrong kind of action. Then when they have to face their lack of results and explain them, they can point to this book and blame it. They can tell themselves, “It’s not my fault. I was mislead by this book.” And so they can point to something outside of themselves as the reason for their failure.
NOTE: Blaming people and things outside of ourselves for our failures is another big block to success. Indeed, it’s so prevalent and such a success-killer that we’ll devote a future lesson to it. For now, I just wanted you to recognize this as a bad thing.
Now let me give you another example of how you can take the wrong action on a day-to-day basis… that is, how you can feel busy and yet be unproductive. Once again, recognizing this behavior is your first step in overcoming it.
Here’s the example…
Let’s suppose you’re a beginning online marketer who’s just learned about using forum signature files to drive traffic. So you find niche forums and start participating. You spend the entire day jumping from forum to forum, refreshing the index pages so that you can see whenever there is a new post that you may be able to answer.
It’s easy to rationalize that you’re “working.” But if you really look what you’re doing, you’re just wasting time visiting on forums.
You see, forum marketing is useful. But it’s not something you should do all day. That’s because it’s a “low revenue” activity. Spending the same 8-10 hours doing something else – like optimizing your sites for the search engines or finding affiliates – would likely result in a much higher return on your investment of time.
In other words, the person who spends all day browsing forums is taking the wrong action. It may take weeks to realize this (once the person admits his business isn’t moving forward). Or the person may never see it for what it really is.
Point is, look for instances in your business and life where you believe you’re moving forward, yet you don’t have the results to show for it. Perhaps you’re taking the wrong action as a subtle way to procrastinate.
More symptoms of fear to come, so stay tuned!