#BeingBuddy: All Hail The King of Procrastination

Greetings, my good people. I am Buddy Gott, The King of Procrastination. No, no. Thank you, but no kneeling is required. Please stand up. Now sit down. Now stand back up and take two steps to your right. Do as the King says, my minions! Okay, I’m kidding. I’ll stop. Please relax now and make yourself comfortable as I tell you about my life in royalty.

I’ve held my title of The King of Procrastination for a very long time. I’ve wanted to give up my crown for many years, but I kept putting it off. (Get it? Haha!) Seriously, though, I am happy to report that I’ve been working on recognizing my problem and I’m changing my ways. I’m procrastinating less and less and there’s even been talk that I may get impeached and I’ll no longer be the King.

But even though I’ve been the King, procrastination certainly isn’t exclusive to me, is it? I know quite a few people who have problems with procrastinating. I see my friends joke about it online nearly every day.

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So, why do we all do it? I guess the answers are different for each of us and can change from day to day, but for me, it’s usually because of some element of fear. As I’ve been learning more and more lately, fear has played a very large part in my life in many different ways.

What kind of fears do I have that make me procrastinate? Well, let’s take a look at something like me writing this posting. I write a new post every week and I usually have very little trouble writing them. However, for whatever reason, this week’s posting made me feel intimidated. I had a feeling that I wouldn’t be able to come up with anything good for a topic. Then I came up with a topic (not this one) and thought it was rotten and I abandoned it.

Looking back now, it wasn’t a bad idea at all, but I’d gotten myself into a negative kind of funk and then things started to spiral. I was doubting everything I was going to do and it had all started with fear. That’s basically always been the main reason why I’ve procrastinated with my writings. Whether it’s a posting here on my site, or work I’m doing on a book, I often put things off because I’m unsure of what I’m going to create or I’m unsure of the quality of it. Then I put those things off until later…or until never at all.

But here’s the thing. When I actually do whatever it is I was afraid of, it’s never as bad as I think it’s going to be. I’m not claiming that everything I do is wonderful, but doing something, doing anything is better than doing nothing at all.

So, if you’re like me and there are things that you hesitate doing because of some sort of fear you have, try your best to push through it. Don’t put it off until later if it’s something you feel you need to do or that you want to do.

Just do it as soon as you can. The sooner you do it, the sooner it won’t be something that’s bothering you. Do it now and chances are good that you’ll feel better almost immediately. And not even because of what you did or how you did it.

You’ll mainly be feeling better because you didn’t quit. You had a goal and you met it. You won.

Plus, if you do those kinds of things now and don’t put them off until later, you’ll have less of a chance of being the person who replaces me as The King (or Queen) of Procrastination.

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Oh, sure. You might like the idea of wearing a crown. I understand that. Just remember, though, that not everyone looks good wearing a crown. You could end up looking creepy.

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VERY, VERY CREEPY!!!

 

 

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#BeingBuddy: Letting go of Guilt

I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I’ve spent a huge part of my life feeling guilty about a lot of things that I shouldn’t have felt guilty about.

Many studies have shown that it’s very common for people with anxiety disorders to often feel extreme levels of guilt over things that they shouldn’t be blaming themselves for at all.

Since I have ADHD, I wasn’t too surprised to learn the above. Of course, feeling unnecessary guilt isn’t a problem for just people with anxiety disorders. Very often, extreme guilt comes from fears of how others will think or feel about us. It can come from a multitude of different kinds of issues and insecurities.

While some people do horrible things that they absolutely should feel guilty about, I want to be clear that what I’m talking about today is things that we know we shouldn’t feel guilty or bad about.

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Yikes. Creepy, huh?

For me, my biggest problem with guilt is when I think that I’ve done or said something to someone and I’m afraid it’s going to make them think badly about me. I overthink the situation and play around with it too much in my head. I usually make the situation far worse than it actually is. In my head, I’m feeling guilty about disappointing or angering the person…even before I know whether or not I’ve actually made them feel that way.

I end up feeling horrible and guilty for no reason at all.

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Another thing I’ve done far too often is let unjust criticisms deeply hurt me. Yes, some criticism can be very good to hear. Sometimes we’re doing something incorrectly and we need to learn a better way to do it. That’s fine. I want to hear constructive criticism like that.

However, some people judge us or insult us when we totally don’t deserve it. For me, even when I know in my gut that what they’re saying about me is wrong, I take their words to heart too much and then start to believe what they’re saying about me is true.

I feel guilty because I must be the horrible person that they say I am. I feel guilty because I must not be doing things the way they think I should. Then I feel guilty for not being a stronger person and for not being a smarter person. And I feel guilty for doing everything wrong. For being such a loser.

If I allowed myself to feel this way, then I’d constantly be carrying around all of those unjust guilty feelings.

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You can only do that for so long before you start to break. I broke several times. It was just very recently that I finally realized that things needed to change. If I kept holding on to guilt, if I kept holding on to the fears and insecurities that came with the guilt, then I was going to keep hurting. I was going to keep breaking.

I decided (finally) to allow myself to let go of the guilt. When I feel guilty now, I do what I can to fight it. It’s not easy and I know it will be an ongoing struggle. However, one thing that has helped me a lot is the realization that people are going to think or feel whatever they want to about me. I have no control over that and it’s pointless for me to spend any of my time or energy worrying about it.

What has also helped me is I now realize that my happiness is entirely up to me. When you get right down to it, it’s a choice that each of us has to make for ourselves. We can choose to take the steps we need to be happy, to lead us to where we want to be in our lives. Or we can choose other directions, ones that will make our journeys far more difficult that they need to be.

Life is too short. From now on, I’m going to choose happiness. Every day.

I’m going to let go of the guilt and pain, and I’m going to see where I can go next…

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#BeingBuddy: Self-Discovery With Journaling

Have you ever kept a diary or a journal? I had my first diary when I was around 10 years old. It was the kind that had a very, very, very tiny little lock on the front of it. It looked nearly identical to this one.

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The lock was so cheap that you barely even needed the silly little key that came with it. I used to open the lock by hitting it with my fist in the same way that Fonzie on Happy Days would hit a jukebox to get it to play music. It worked for me (and for The Fonz) every time.

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Being only 10 years old, I didn’t have many exciting things to write about, so I didn’t use it for very long. The next diary that I got came when I was a freshman in high school.

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Okay, not an actual diary, but I did get Ozzy Osbourne’s great Diary Of A Madman album back then. Alright, that certainly wasn’t the best joke I’ve ever told. I admit that it kind of stunk.

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But, seriously…

A year or so later, I started keeping a journal. It was just a spiral notebook, the kind you’d use in school, but it worked out perfectly for me. I’d write down all kinds of random thoughts in there. I actually located that notebook recently and it was fun to read through it. There were several entries about girls I had crushes on, dreams that I had, and insecurities and fears that I had. It was especially interesting to read about the things that I viewed back then as being “the end of the world.” They don’t seem so horrible now, but they sure seemed that way back then.

Looking back on keeping that journal, I know now that it was a very valuable experience for me. Even though I had a lot of friends at that time, I was still a bit of an introvert and I kept a lot of things to myself. Writing in the journal gave me a chance to let out some of the sad and angry things that were buried deep inside of me.

Letting them out always made me feel at least a little bit better.

Like a lot of people do who keep a diary or a journal when they’re a kid, I stopped doing it as I exited my teenage years. Life moved on…

Flash forward to 2016 and I’m keeping a journal again. I started doing it a couple of months ago on a very sporadic basis. There were some things going on in my life that were troubling me and when things got especially bad, I’d sit down and write out my thoughts and feelings.

Just like how journaling helped me work through problems in high school, I found that doing it now in the present was no different. It very much became self-therapy for me and it made me feel better.

But then I decided to take it a little bit further. As I said earlier, I’d been doing the journal entries only occasionally, at times when I was feeling especially low. What if I changed that and started writing in the journal every single day? What if it became about more than just the things that troubled me? What if I went much deeper and wrote about other types of thoughts and feelings that I have?

So, I started writing in the journal each and every day. I made a few rules for myself. One was that it was to be more about what was going on inside of me and not be a chronicle of simple things like me going to the store to pick up donuts. My second rule was that each entry has to be at least 500 words. That way, there’s a much better chance that I’ll always have to really tap into myself to get enough material for 500 words. My last rule was that I write these journal entries first thing every morning.

And you know what? It’s felt great! With doing them in the morning, I’ve been going into each day with a clearer head. If I had woken up with any negative feelings, I faced them and tried to work through them in my journal. If I woke up with nothing but wonderful feelings, my journal entries let me write about those feelings and then embrace them even further.

Each and every one of my journal entries has been a step to self-discovery for me. I truly examine my feelings, my desires, and my dreams. It’s been wonderful.

And you know what? I realize now that maybe those silly little keys that come with those diaries aren’t so silly after all.

Maybe those keys aren’t so much for locking others out, but they’re actually for unlocking the mysteries that lie within us.

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#BeingBuddy: Staycations Can Be The Best Vacations

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Vacations are great, aren’t they? We all need to recharge our batteries from time to time and vacations are a perfect way to do that. My wife and I are on vacation right now and it’s been wonderful.

So, where did we go this week? Well, not very far. In fact, we had to drive somewhere yesterday and it was the first time in six days that we even got into our car. We’ve either been staying inside relaxing together or we’ve been going on walks to nearby parks like the one in the above picture.

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Oh, my goodness. What the heck happened to my hair? Well, thankfully, nothing for real. One of the relaxing and downright silly things I’ve done this week is to play with apps that do things like that. I also found a groovy one that made me look 30 years older.

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Rock on, Old Buddy. Rock on!

So, what else have I done this week? Well, Lisa and I both spent a lot of time writing. She’s gotten a lot of work done on her new book and I’ve done a lot of work on mine. Neither of us have put too much pressure on ourselves, though. If we felt like writing, we did. If we didn’t, we didn’t. After all, we’re on vacation! What I think is especially cool is that I bet that part of the reason we were both able to accomplish so much is because of how relaxed we’ve been.

IMG_1419 Even our cat Nikita embraced the spirit of Vacation Week and decided to take it easy most of the days. Alright, come to think of it, she does this every day anyway…but still, I think she has the right idea here.

You know what else we did? Color and draw! Here’s my favorite creation of the week:

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And you know what? It really has been all good. I’d rank this as one of the best vacations I’ve ever had. I have absolutely no problem with people going away on trips for vacations and I often love to do it myself. Traveling can be wonderful. In fact, we’re planning a big getaway next year and I know it will be awesome.

But there’s a lot to be said for just staying at home and having a “staycation.” It’s nice to not have to worry about traveling anywhere and being able to just totally take it easy at home.

I highly, highly recommend it.

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#BeingBuddy: Erasing Fear and Making Art

I can say, without a doubt, that the biggest obstacle to my writing fiction has always been fear.

What exactly have I been so afraid of? Well, that’s a good question.

If I thought you had three or four hours to hear my complete answer, I’d go ahead and share it here. Nah, it’s not that bad. I’m just joking.

Or am I? Actually, I’m one of those people who very often hides behind humor to mask what I’m really feeling or thinking. I’ve done it most of my life and I’m a master at it.

So, why do I do that? Well, it goes back to a lot of fear. Myself and countless others often hide our true selves behind jokes or other sorts of walls because we’re scared of sharing what’s deepest inside of us – our true selves. We often do it because we’re fearful of what others will think about us if we share who we really are.

Will people say that we’re weird? That we’re stupid for thinking the way that we do? That we’re just a bunch of big losers?

Having those sorts of fears is very hard for anyone, but I think it’s especially detrimental to those of us who want to make art. Whether you’re writing or making music or doing anything else where you’re creating art, the best way to do it is to dig deep into yourself and use what’s inside of you.

For me, when I’ve truly gotten into a project and dug deep into myself and written without fear, those times have been my most enjoyable times writing. Where I’ve gotten myself into trouble is when I’ve been fearful of what others would think of those writings. Would people think my stuff was weird? Would they say that I had no talent? Would I be a failure in their eyes?

But then I’d take it to an even worse place. I’d totally abandon those writing projects because of those stupid fears. And then I’d feel like a failure. But I realize now that I wasn’t feeling that way because I felt that I had no talent or that I lacked passion. I was feeling like a failure because I was letting my fears cripple me and totally stop me from doing what I wanted to be doing.

And that’s a shame, isn’t it? I’ve done the above and countless others do the same thing every day. And it’s not even because of other people actually criticizing or being mean to us. It’s because of our fears of those things happening.

But what does it really matter even if people don’t like what we do? Yes, we all want to have approval from others and that’s totally understandable. But if we’re not doing what we truly want to do because we think someone’s going to disapprove of us, aren’t we selling ourselves incredibly short? If we let our fears stop us like that, aren’t we stopping ourselves from reaching our true potentials? From being not only who we really want to be, but also from who we really need to be?

I did it for far too long and I’m not going to do it any more. I’m going to write like I’ve never written before. No more fears. If I feel like writing something, I’m going to write something. When those old fears try to hit me, I’m going to hit them back even harder and then erase them from existence.

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I didn’t realize it until very recently, but I am much stronger than those fears are.

So, like me, if you want to write, then you should write. Sing if you want to sing. Dance if you want to dance. Do whatever you feel passionate about and never let your fears stop you from being who you really are. Do you want to truly be happy? Then make sure you keep being the you that you want to be. That you need to be.

I’m going to do the same. I’m going to keep being Buddy.