You understand procrastination comes from fear, yes? Fear of failure. Fear of success. Or fear of your art, or your friendship, or the meal you’re cooking or your writing … not being perfect.

So we stall. We put off getting in front of our laptops or making that phone call or experimenting with that new recipe. Or we try to pretend our fears don’t exist, or vow to banish Fear forever.

But I’ve been around the sun a few times and for me? Fear always returns. You too? Then I want to suggest we embrace a different perspective on fear.

The Idea

I learned this from Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic. It’s simple (as most great ideas are) and it works. Gilbert writes:

“Dearest Fear: Creativity and I are about to go on a road trip together. I understand you’ll be joining us, because you always do. I acknowledge that you believe you have an important job to do in my life, and that you take your job seriously.

Apparently your job is to induce complete panic whenever I’m about to do anything interesting—and, may I say, you are superb at your job.

So by all means, keep doing your job, if you feel you must. But I will also be doing my job on this road trip, which is to work hard and stay focused. And Creativity will be doing its job, which is to remain stimulating and inspiring.

There’s plenty of room in this vehicle for all of us, so make yourself at home, but understand this: Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way. I recognize and respect that you are part of this family, and so I will never exclude you from our activities, but still—your suggestions will never be followed.

You’re allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice, but you are not allowed to have a vote. You’re not allowed to touch the road maps; you’re not allowed to suggest detours; you’re not allowed to fiddle with the temperature.

Dude, you’re not even allowed to touch the radio. But above all else, my dear old familiar friend, you are absolutely forbidden to drive.” 

Yes? Yes! 

Now go forth friend, and take hold fully of the journey ahead.