Ah, the sloth. He’s at the heart of every true procrastin8r. Everything about the sloth’s nature is the LAZY we aim to be. He’s Slow, taking his time, Smooth, able to just go with the flow, and Deliberate, as every action he takes is done with purpose (SSD).
In the past couple weeks, we’ve been breaking down each of these three attributes that makes the sloth so...slothful. Today, we’re taking a deep dive into the final module of SDD in embracing your inner-sloth: Deliberate.
You take your time (nice n’ slow) to make any sort of decision. You take the time and think, actually freaking think, about your next move, without jumping into something on a whim.
Your decisions are strategic, thought out, planned, and you don’t just rely on gut instinct to take action. You consciously take a slow n’ steady step forward, instead of jolting ahead swiftly, without regard as to where exactly you’re stepping.
The sloth himself is not sporadic. He grabs each branch in a deliberate move, choosing each limb of the tree carefully before climbing further. So too must you pay careful attention to your next course of action in climbing to the top of your goal.
Emotions can often blind us and lead us to do things we never intended to do, like screaming a horrible insult at someone we care about. Emotions, if we rely on them too much, can make us rather reckless. The sloth is not a reckless animal. He is calm, stoic. He doesn’t get overly enthused nor overly angry. He doesn’t roar. He squeaks a little but is mostly silent. He’s steady, balanced.
So too must you aim for the same calm approach in any scenario.
It is important to rely more so on deliberate logic than it is to rely on high-spirited emotions when it comes to choosing how to handle things. Logic allows you to thoughtfully lay out the pros and cons of each possible choice. It allows you to deliberately make a choice instead of instinctively doing so.
You do things on purpose and not on impulse.
See, it’s not just negative emotions that lead to bad decisions. Sometimes positive emotions can be just as dangerous as the negative ones.
Deciding to have unprotected sex with a stranger because you feel excited then contracting an STD, speeding down an icy road because you feel real enthusiastic about your new car then crashing into a pole. You get the idea.
Emotions are the toddlers in our brains. They may have a point when they’re whining and screaming, but don’t always have the best method of going about things to express said point.
Calmly express how you feel without getting emotional.
That’s not to say you don’t have emotions or you don’t feel them. You do. It’s that you don’t let your emotions have complete jurisdiction over your decision-making process. You control your emotions and don’t let your emotions control you.
They are the passenger, giving you directions, but you hold the steering wheel. You choose where to drive.
Every action you take, every word you speak is done with purpose. You are careful with what you say and what you do, without letting your emotions take full control of those words or actions.
It’s better to be IN-active than RE-active.
The sloth spends his day sleeping. Bugs may bite him. Rain may drench his fur. But he remains fast asleep, unfazed, unbothered,...Aloof (the A in LAZY) to it all. He is IN-active in his attitude towards whatever sort of dilemma pops up. That’s because he knows what he wants to do -- sleep -- and he does just that, despite any sort of distraction or stress factor.
Inactive doesn’t necessarily mean doing nothing. It means not becoming active or worked up when shit hits the fan.
Being Reactionary means being easily stirred by outside circumstances. It means getting emotional about things. It means giving into stress easily and breaking down. That is NOT the sloth way.
Rather than performing a sort of recoil to events, take the initiative to plan events instead of having events plan you. Decide and abide.
You set the direction you want things to go and stick to it. You don’t react, you act. You take matters into your own hands. You take responsibility.
Do less, with more focus
If you aren’t Deliberate in your goals, you spread yourself thin across many (unnecessary) tasks. You’re completely scatter-brained, trying to juggle everything at once.
Make it easy on yourself. Be a sloth. Be Deliberate.
Focus on just a few things. Deliberation is being selective so you must selectively choose what you prioritize.
Most things on your to-do list, you procrastinate on, and only do the things that actually matter. You procrastinate with purpose, eliminating tasks and goals that aren’t really in line with moving you toward your ultimate vision, the PRO-crastin8r you want to be.
The sloth doesn’t do a whole lot, but he does sleep, and at a 20 hour a day snoozefest, he’s damn good at it. Be good at just one thing, instead of trying to make yourself out to be a jack of trades.
Remove obscurity, make clear cut goals
Being Deliberate means being SPECIFIC about what you want. An obscure goal is nothing more than a wish; it’s all fantasy. You can’t achieve something too vague.
A goal, on the other hand, is a real tangible objective that you set out to attain.
Goals like “I want to lose weight” or “I want to quit my day job” don’t really have substance.They’re obscure. Like what does it really mean?
How much weight do you want to lose? When do you want to lose it by? What steps are you going to take to achieve that?
You must have in mind specifically what it is you desire to accomplish and take steps that lead you there.
It has to be something possible too -- something you’re capable of performing.
Otherwise, you’re just wasting time. Procrastinate your time, but don’t waste it.
In the social media age, we’re addicted to instant gratification. Want a new phone? Get it delivered to your door in a few hours. Want social approval? Post a picture and get likes. Want a date (or maybe just some attention)? Swipe right.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of simply expecting things to come right away. But that’s just not the timeline of reality. We’ve certainly adapted this expectation of “GET IT NOW” for everything. The best things in life, those that are worthwhile, aren’t available in the now.
Great things take time, like a delicious slow-cooked bowl of chili. “Eventually” is the timeline of the sloth, eventually is the timeline of a true procrastin8r.
If you’re Deliberate, you don’t seek to satisfy the thrills immediately. Rather, you choose what is best, not necessarily immediately available.
You are willing to wait for the greater return LATER then to settle for some sort of synthetic that just so happens to be available right this goddamn second. As tempting as it is to want it now, have a bit of patience.
It’ll all happen...in due time, friend. In due time.
Make a specific goal and take the time to get there... eventually. Like the sloth. Don’t expect to reach the top of the tree in an instant. Take it to the top, one branch at a time.
In the game called Real Life, ya gotta constantly be gaining xp, so that you can reach “max level” in whatever “class” you choose.
Total character customization here. You choose your own path to play. And you level up whatever, talents and skills you want.
This goes hand in hand with ignoring instant gratification. You don’t reach max level overnight (of course there’s some shitty IAP practices by a lot of games now that let you buy your way to victory, but I digress).
You have to grind it out, one level, one xp at a time. And hit max level...eventually.
Always seek improvement, don’t allow yourself to plateau. Don’t settle for mid-tier level.
Deliberately level up your skills and don’t just wander around this open world aimlessly.
Give yourself a bit of self reflection
In order to make deliberate actions, you need some self awareness. Awareness is key in deliberation. After all, you can’t level up your character if you don’t know how to play him (or her).
Understand your playstyle. Understand your controls. Understand your strengths and weaknesses.
Look at what you did right. Look at how you can improve. Re-equip your character and re-adjust your stats to face the adventure tomorrow.
Seriously, reflect upon what you are actually doing. You can’t be deliberate if you’re not even aware of the progress being made. I mean in that case, you’d just be going in blind.
Know how far you’ve come and believe in how far you can go.
You’re not aiming for a flawless performance or a perfect adventure, but one in which you slowly get better over time. Be honest with yourself and take the time to really examine what sort of “tweaks” you need to make in order to level up.
The sloth is probably aware of the fact that he is lazy as fuck and he uses that to his advantage. Likewise, make your strengths stronger and your weaknesses strengths.
It’s dangerous to go alone! Here take this: advice. No, not from me. But someone close to you, someone you trust, someone who can be bluntly honest with you.
I’m not talking about someone who is going to encourage you. I’m talking to someone who will rip you to shreds, or at least be willing to.
Constructive criticism is a necessary ingredient in being Deliberate. It gives you a clearer picture of “how to level up” when you can receive an honest outside perspective. And again, the clearer your goal is, the more deliberate you are being.
There’s only so much you can think to yourself...about yourself. There’s always something you may be missing. It helps to turn to a trusted coach, advisor, or even friend to bring to light what you’ve been blind eyed to.
Take time to rest
And of course, what kind of sloth doesn’t get his beauty sleep?
Deliberately give yourself plenty of rest, rather than working so hard to the point that you can’t even try anymore.
Look, you're gonna run out of energy no matter what. You either plan to recharge intermittently or run out of fuel before you can say “I need a nap.” Give yourself a break. Don’t break yourself trying to avoid one.
Procrastinate with Purpose and embrace yourself in Leisure occasionally, without any concern about any sort of goal or project. Your body needs it. Your mind needs it.
Give yourself inner-peace. Fully and completely at rest.
The sloth knows the power of rest. He gets done what he wants to get done and doesn’t force himself to try any harder than he needs to. He gives himself plenty of time to rejuvenate before climbing again.
Take time to be the sloth, sleeping without a care, until you decide to climb again. If you climb too long, you’ll get too tired and fall.
Now you know what it takes to embrace your inner-sloth -- how to be SSD, Slow, Smooth, and Deliberate. You understand the nature of such a lazy animal and what it means to become like him.
Now in case you were a little too lazy to read the past few articles, I’ll give you the TLDR verstion:
Don’t rush into things. Take your time and do things with a full set of intentions, as opposed to reactions. That’s the sloth way.
Take it easy,