He put a gun to my head and told me, sell, you fucking asshole!
I didn't know who to call.
I just wanted to play World of Warcraft and eat pizza.
All of my prospects wanted me dead.
I had no friends who owned small businesses or restaurants.
I had nothing.
But, practically out of thin-air, about a half-a-dozen potential clients appeared in my list of leads.
"I was still too scared to pick up the phone, but when somebody has a gun to your head, you figure out a way to sell."
I'd signed a 12-month lease at around $1,500 a month, in Brooklyn, and I was going to go flat-broke and wind up on the streets and feel sad and pathetic if this job didn't turn out the way I'd imagined it would.
So, although it wasn't an actual gun it might as well have been one.
(In the worst-case scenario, actually, I'd just wind up back home with my parents. Still, your brain has a mysterious way of haunting you with imaginary demons.)
So, I was selling with a gun to my head and, at the last possible moment, I saved my job.
In all seriousness, though, I'd probably saved my life, too.
The Art of Eliminating Procrastination and Laziness
For years (even still, honestly), I was the laziest son-of-a-bitch on the planet.
I'd routinely play World of Warcraft for 10+ hours a day; rarely did homework or written assignments for any of my classes (let alone pay attention during class); and would get outside and hang out with friends only if they had pizza, and ideally if I could get drunk first, too.
I was (and still am, for sure) awkward around girls, new people, strangers and I've saved every big project and idea and dream I've ever wanted to accomplish until the last minute countless times.
I think something snapped in me when I had that proverbial gun to my head: you're forced to figure things out when somebody else is holding you accountable.
And I think that's part of the reason why so many people fail at overcoming laziness and procrastination: they try to take matters strictly into their own hands when, in reality, we generally suck at setting our own self-imposed deadlines.
So, there are a few effective means of forcing yourself to overcome procrastination and laziness that I'd suggest to almost anyone.
- Find meaning in your work, first. Without any rhyme or reason behind the work that we do, it's often difficult to force ourselves to continue to do that work. In research on this matter, Amy Wrzesniewski calls this developing a Calling attitude towards work. "For example, people with Callings tend to put more time in at work whether or not this time is compensated." Fast Company suggested that, after exploring this topic years ago, one of the easiest ways to find more meaning in your work is to focus on the act of giving, more than anything else. For me, I write because I'd go fucking insane if I didn't.
- Give yourself a painful motivator. Months ago, I set out to launch the first episode of my podcast, Embrace the Suck. I could've waited another six months, if I'd wanted to, but I set myself a powerful motivator: if you don't finish this by X date, you have to contribute $1,000 to Donald Trump's campaign. That's just about the last thing I wanted to do, so I did everything in my power to launch the day I needed to. And I did, and it was awesome. In order to motivate yourself, set a painful motivator using something .
- Or, as Nathan Fielder suggests in the hilarious TV series, Nathan for You, take a naked photo of yourself in a hot-dog bun, address an envelope to your family and give that to a stranger. If you don't complete said task by the date necessary, instruct them to send that to your family-members. Trust me, you'll figure out a way to get the job done.
3. Get an accountability group or partner. Part of the reason why I've recently developed a mastermind group is mostly because I'm a lazy sack of shit and if I don't have people breathing down my back, I won't do shit. I'd highly recommend this for any early-stage entrepreneur, but also for somebody totally lazy: it'll force you to stay accountable. (And here's on how to find a good one.)
Beyond that, having a close friend in your network who you meet with regularly is helpful, too. If you want to ensure that churn rate is low, make sure both of you are paying for these meetings otherwise you'll start to ignore them after a while. Even just a $20 fine for every meeting missed is generally motivation enough to hop on a call/get-together.
You'd be surprised what simply being around people who are motivated can do for your levels of motivation. When I'm around some of the ridiculously smart people I'm often with on a day-to-day basis, my laziness levels drop to about zero.
Because I don't have much of a choice.
Lastly, I recently put together a guide on just a handful of simple morning routines that you can implement in just a few minutes a day that will help you seriously reduce procrastination, fight writer's block and do shit you love. Download the guide below.