The Power of Quitting
I QUIT! And I’m not being quiet about it. I’m giving up, throwing in the towel, and waving the white flag of surrender. My commitment to quitting this particularly draining habit is unwavering.
Before I reveal this stifling habit, answer this question.
Do you have ideas that you want to write about but haven’t because you’re attention is too scattered to discipline yourself to write?
When I asked myself this question the word YES flickered like a neon sign across my forehead. Admitting my addiction to distraction when it comes to writing is a relief. With so many ideas swirling in my head the weight of inaction is now too burdensome to bear. Besides, writing is cathartic and helps me process my thoughts and feelings.
So, I’ve decided to quit distracting myself from writing and have joyously embraced a writing habit that I publish weekly. One of the main reasons that so many of us fail to do what’s in our hearts and on our minds is due to what psychologists call the hard-easy effect. Learning about this concept helped me see how I was getting in my on way and gave me a framework to think about my time and abilities.
This effect says:
...we incorrectly predict our ability to complete tasks depending on their level of difficulty. It suggests that we are overly confident in how successful we will be at hard tasks and under-confident about how successful we will be at easy ones.
The hard-easy effect essentially states that we are not realistic with our abilities and in the context of time, we’re just as unrealistic with time.
When it comes to our abilities we can overestimate or underestimate what we can do, which influences our behavior. If we are off in our self-assessments it could lead to unintended consequences such as overestimating our preparedness for a presentation or underestimating our abilities when a task is perceived as hard.
When it comes to time, it's better to overestimate how long something will take than to underestimate. I know that I definitely tend to underestimate how much time I sometimes need. While I’m getting better at giving myself the gift of time, including the time needed to write and publish a weekly post, there’s still room for lots of improvement in this area.
So, the main take-away is to avoid underestimating the impact of your daily small contributions by giving yourself more time than you think it will take to finish a task or accomplish a goal. This will help you mentally prepare to stay consistent in the long-run so you won’t give-up too soon or at all.
Also, don't underestimate your ability to achieve your goal as this will cause you to delay starting. Instead stay curious and keep learning and growing as you go. Lastly, avoid overestimating your abilities as it could cause overconfidence that could keep you blinded from learning what you need to succeed.
In closing, the following quote has been attributed to several different people across the web. I'm not sure who said it, but it resonates with me.
"People overestimate what they can do in a day, and underestimate what they can do in a lifetime."
Ask yourself the following questions to avoid falling prey to the hard-easy effect.
1. Do I tend to overestimate my abilities?
2. Do I tend to overestimate how much time I have?
3. Do I tend to underestimate my abilities?
4. Do I tend to underestimate how much time I have?
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