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Alexey Migutsky for Metadevelopment

Posted on • Updated on • Originally published at

A Hidden Side of Procrastination

Originally published at our Metadevelopment blog.
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Very often, the essence of laziness, procrastination and lack of determination are our fears and limiting beliefs. The chance that your are not really lazy is quite high.

The biggest blocker in achieving things we want is not that we are lazy or having low willpower or having no time. The biggest blockers are our fears and our limiting beliefs.


Our beliefs seems to influence a lot of things:

  1. Beliefs affect motivation.
  2. Beliefs affect stress.
  3. Beliefs affect our self-control.
  4. Beliefs affect our potential to learn and change (Growth Mindset).

A self-limiting belief is something that you assume to be true that is limiting your progress. It can be manifested in a negative self-talk or pessimistic views on the world. Some examples are: “I can not earn more, because this number is a glass ceiling in our industry”, “people like me can not be entrepreneurs”, “I was always told I am bad at math, and hence I am bad programmer”.

Most of our beliefs are things we hold to be facts without any active verification from our side.
The good thing is that beliefs can be changed. A nice explanation of changing the attitude by reframing your beliefs can be found in a book called Learned Optimism. One more great source is a book called Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy, which is the best first step to start with cognitive behavior therapy on your own.


Our fears do similar things: they prevent us from doing things we want.
The problem with fears is that they lie and that they are evasive.

A fear can be very subtle and can result in seemingly unrelated behavior - you watch a series instead of writing an article you've been thinking about the whole day. Why? Because you are afraid that this article won't be perfect. People won't like it. It's not good enough. It was not even written yet, but it is already not good enough!

Our brains is very bad as estimating possibilities and probabilities, especially the adversary conditions - when something can go wrongs.
Fears are what make us risk-averse and make us skip opportunities we are totally can harness.

Addressing the fears can help not just you, but also a bigger entity - a team.

What can you do about that?

First, there is a huge, but controversial idea: believe not what's true, but what's helpful. Even superstitions can be helpful.
Second, deliberately take small non-ideal steps instead of jumping into huge ambitious projects. Change does not happen instantly and in big amounts. It’s actually quite opposite: the more efforts you put into change, the bigger is the resistance.

Third, face your fears by stepping out of comfort zone. For example, take on rejection challenge to face your fear of rejection and see how it feels.

In general, start questioning your beliefs by conducting experiments to verify them.

A good starting point for working with beliefs and self-knowledge is Mark Manson’s Self-Knowledge guide.

Do you want to grow differently? Join Metadevelopment and get new superpowers!

Top comments (3)

ganonbit profile image
Andrew Reese • Edited

Been in CBT once a week for almost 2 years now. Can't even tell you how much it's helped learning and getting healthy coping mechanisms for this negative behavior ive had for so long.

Between that and Imposter Syndrome, it's can be a real internal fight, but these are definitely tools that can help with that. And also never be ashamed or afraid of asking for help in the form of a Therapist or Psychologist. They're professionals that are there for you for that half hour / hour to let you vent, provide outside prospective, and help show you patterns to break and give you tools to accomplish it.

It's no different than asking a mentor for help on a tough problem or having someone else review your code for an outside prospective. Plus mental health is important and all that jazz haha.

Been on Lexapro for about a year now and it's helped a lot with the anxiety peaks and makes my anxiety/depression so much more...manageable. It really lets me have room to breathe and work on CBT routines and behavior to break out of the negative cycle.

mr_mig_by profile image
Alexey Migutsky

Thanks for sharing your story!

It's hard to talk about personal things on public. I wish more people talk about overcoming their challenges openly and freely.

Would you mind to share some details on how you have decided to try CBT in the first place?

siriniok profile image
Vladyslav Siriniok

My favorite limiting belief is that about our limited willpower. While it's kinda true, studies show that people who believe that willpower is unlimited perform better, than those people who believe in limited willpower. IMO, it's a perfect demonstration of how the limiting beliefs work.