I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Growing up my mom made bread. I loved the bread. I didn’t like the crust. I saw my friends bring their sandwiches to school crust-less. Not in my home. You HAD to eat the crust. So I devised a method of eating the crust first…all the way around the sandwich….leaving behind the sweet center that I absolutely enjoyed to the last crumb!
Later on in life I used my peanut butter sandwich eating method as a metaphor for how I approached life…
I deal with the part I don’t like first and enjoy the parts that I like after.
I told myself that I’d do homework first, then play later. I’d write the article first, then I’d watch TV.
Turns out I’ve been telling a fib ( a lie really but fib sounds much better! 🙂 )
My major motivation is to avoid things that I don’t like. The truth is that I put things off until my back was against the wall and then I’d hunker down and get it done….usually with very little time left. I organized my life so that I could avoid activities I didn’t enjoy.
I’m also motivated by completing tasks that I set for myself (challenging myself)…and I love to be rewarded for my efforts.
But my major motivation trumps the other two all the time and I finally understand why.
My top 3 values in order of priority are:
- Privacy – Having time for myself, having time to think, having a private place to go (long walks, solitary time listening to music, reading a book)
- Creativity – discovering new things or ideas, coming up with new ideas, creating
- and Responsibility – being reliable, being trustworthy, meeting my obligations.
It seems that my “eat the crust first” theory needs to be put to some practical use. Whenever I set out to do the tasks I’m responsible for completing, I feel a tug to do something creative, or read, or just spend time alone. It seems there is never enough time for me to spend only with me. I always feel cheated out of time with myself. But that’s not because there’s no time per se, it’s because what I do is live in my head, and roll around all the things I need to do that would meet my responsibility value; I’d think about all the things that I’d like to do by myself and creatively; and exhaust myself into doing nothing or scrambling to complete a task because the deadline is upon me!
When you’re able to take something out of your head – write it down and look at it – you can see it for what it REALLY is. Then you won’t you use broad brush phrases like “I’m a procrastinator” without fully understanding what’s really at play.
Now I am aware of my top needs that must be satisfied. I have to intentionally make time for me and inject into my day – things that require me to be creative while fulfilling my need to complete tasks and meet my obligations.
I wish that what I found out about me would be the same for you, but it really NEVER works like that. Sometimes you might come across something or someone whose actions seem familiar, or you see parts of yourself based on what they’re saying but you still need to do the work necessary in your own life.
Start by observing situations in your life – are you proactive or reactive? Emotional or clinical? Do you do everything you possibly can to escape pain?
I feel that I got to know myself a little better today. Self understanding and awareness is the first step to figuring out anything else that you need to in your life. If you haven’t already – take a step today!