How You See You
If you do follow me on social media, then you must have noticed that I continued with the subject of procrastination, a subject that I started last week. Based on feedback I received from that article, I decided to delve deeper into the various reasons why people tend to procrastinate. If you don’t follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, I encourage you to do so because I use that platform a lot to ignite, inspire and influence my readers/followers to join me in becoming the best versions of ourselves we can ever be. Like I have always said, your struggles are mine too and so we are in this together, working together to become better people.
So going back to the posts I’ve been sharing all week, let me sum them up by briefly mentioning what they were about. I think the first reason I gave as to why people procrastinate is lack of proper goals; obviously by now you all understand that without goals in life you are just existing but not living. It’s just like a dog chasing it’s tail, what would it do with it if it caught it? Anyway, I digress.
Another reason I gave was not having a proper plan. If you normally start your week without having a detailed plan of what you will do every single day of the coming week, then you are very likely to procrastinate because there is no urgency to complete tasks. Speaking of planning, please take your planner and start planning your week as soon as you are done reading this article. This will help you not to procrastinate on planning your week.
Another reason I gave was lack of knowledge and skills. People will always shy away from doing things they don’t know for fear of making fools of themselves. As a result, many have shelved ideas and projects that have the potential to change their lives as well as the lives of those around them. How do you overcome this challenge? Check out my Instagram, Twitter or Facebook for the detailed solution I shared on this.
Another reason I gave was lack of focused focus. I like something Stephen Covey said about prioritization and focus; he said, “the main thing is to let the main thing be the main thing”. In other words, he was trying to warn us that in life, there will be lots of side shows that will come up to distract us, thus destructing our concentration which will definitely take time to come back. As a result of being distracted, you end up shelving what you were doing to entertain what destructed your concentration. That right there opens a door for procrastination. To echo the words of Winston Churchill, “You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks”. Forget the side shows and practice Focused focus.
Then on Friday I mentioned the last one on the list which was having a low self-esteem. I don’t know why but I felt it so strongly that I needed to say something about procrastination induced by a low self-esteem. In so doing, I had to share a personal story of how someone close to me once said something to me that affected me for seventeen years! Little did I know that by sharing that story I had touched the hearts of many people who are struggling with the same issue. Many sent me direct messages asking me how I overcame that challenge, and whether I can recommend some solutions they can adopt in order to overcome it too. Some were telling me how they had given up on life and were on the verge of doing some very drastic things when they read my post. I can only say I am grateful to God for giving me the push to write the post when I did.
As a result of those messages, today I have decided to spend some time addressing this issue of self-esteem and will continue with this topic for the rest of the week on social media. Like I have often said to you, I only share with you solutions to challenges I have gone through and overcome myself because I know what it took to overcome them and what it can take to fall back into the same challenges again. I only share publicly what I have overcome privately.
That is why I only dance around the subject of financial management because this is an area I am still working on. I believe before long I will have acquired my private victory, which will then give me the green light to write or speak on financial issues. Issues such as living a debt-free life, discipline when it comes to sticking to budgets, investing and saving, among others.
You are probably wondering why I just shared that and why I am not ashamed to admit that I have a challenge in that area. Well, I’ll tell you this once more; I am human, with struggles and challenges just like you. It is through the messes I go through and overcome that I get messages to share with you. I am not superwoman or superhuman. I am you.
Going back to the issue of self-esteem, I’d first like to clarify something; there is a very big difference between self-confidence and self-esteem. Self-confidence simply means a feeling of trust in one's abilities, qualities, and judgement on a specific subject. Lack of self confidence would therefore be the opposite of all that i.e. not trusting your own abilities, qualities and judgement on a certain subject. For instance, I can say I have self-confidence in writing, blogging and public speaking, but I do not have confidence in the topic of financial management. But pretty soon I will be.
On the other hand, according to Wikipedia, self-esteem reflects a person's overall subjective emotional evaluation of his or her own worth. It is a judgment of oneself as well as an attitude toward the self; in other words, how you see yourself. Did you know that your evaluation of yourself has a great impact on all the choices you make in life? Do you know how you spend your time, who you spend it with is greatly dictated by what you consider yourself capable of and worth doing? There’s this quote by M. Scott Peck that clearly shows the connection between our actions and our self-esteem. It says, “Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it”.
If you value yourself (and your time), you will be careful to do things that are meaningful to your life, things that add value to your life and by extension to those in your world. When you value yourself, you will not eat haphazardly or drink yourself into a stupor. Instead, you will be careful about what goes into your body because you know you are what you eat. Similarly, you will be careful to exercise and stay fit so that you can have the strength and the energy to focus on your goals. You will avoid anything and anyone that drains your energy or sends negativity your way. You will be careful whose company you keep, who you listen to, who and what you give attention to. When you value yourself, you will be careful how you dress, how you present yourself to the rest of the world, the words that come out of your mouth, how you treat yourself when you make mistakes. In short, you will do everything possible to live a positive and fulfilling life.
What about people with a low-self esteem?
These are people who feel poorly about themselves and consider themselves inferior to others. Such people are at risk of never ever fulfilling their true potential in life. They lack the drive to set and pursue personal goals; after all for what purpose would they be setting goals, they ask themselves. Such people will not put any effort into their day to day activities, be it in their education or in their careers. They accept poor treatment from family, friends and even romantic partners. I know this how? Been there done that.
As a by the way, are you aware that a low self-esteem among teens is what causes negative behaviors such as poor academic performance, teenage pregnancies, dropping out of school, early sexual activity, criminal behavior, substance abuse, self-inflicted pain like cutting, eating-disorders such as comfort eating and anorexia, among others?
Low self-esteem is more than an unpleasant feeling. It controls someone’s life totally and breaking out of its hold needs more work than most people ever imagined.
That is why I have initiated a program where I go to schools/colleges to talk to teenagers and young adults between the ages of 15 to 25 how to start living a purpose driven life, regardless of their backgrounds or circumstances. If you are a parent reading this article right now and you have a child within that age bracket, please send me an email with the name of your child’s school/college and we can arrange on how I can introduce this program to them.
There is a lot to say about the subject of self-esteem related issues, but as it is I’m already on 1,587 words, which means I need to stop here now. I will continue with this subject for the whole of this coming week, where I will address reasons why people have low-self esteem and how to deal with each reason until one totally overcomes it. For now though, I’d like to ask you to spend some time doing a self-evaluation to determine whether you have a negative or a positive self-image. Start by checking the choices you have been making for yourself as explained above. If you find you are more inclined to making wrong choices, choices that affect your well-being, then you might need to seriously consider the possibility that you have self-esteem issues.
If you have a positive self-esteem, it means that you feel valuable and worth, that you believe in yourself and no matter what happens in your life, you do not allow yourself to be devalued by your circumstances or by people around you. People with a high self-esteem know how to separate their who from their do.
Please follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook to get the posts I will be sharing next week on this subject. Feel free to share your thoughts, your experiences and/or your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lastly, no matter what you are going through in life, no matter who told you what negativity about you, or who did what negative thing to you, none of that should ever dictate or define who you should be. Like my favorite motivational speaker Les Brown said, “Somebody’s opinion of you should never become your reality.” Unless of course it is a positive opinion.
Be ignited. Be inspired. Be influenced. Become the best version of yourself you can ever be.
PS: This article was originally published in Tanzania's Guardian On Sunday on the 12th of November, 2017, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words".