Join Dan & Dean as they continue the journey talking about the Procrastination Priority Scorecard.
Transcript: The Joy of Procrastination Ep008
Dean: Mr. Sullivan.
Dan: Good morning, how are you?
Dean: I am fantastic. I hear you're getting snowed in up there.
Dan: It is very white.
Dean: A white Christmas.
Dan: Yeah. It's like four or five inches deep and it looks very beautiful because it hasn't gotten dirty yet. See, I actually like winter. There's got to be somebody who likes winter. I'm one of those people who likes winter.
Dean: I guess. Well, you know what? You don't have to drive in it because you've got a driver and you don't have to shovel it because you've got a heated magic driveway. You've set up a nice environment around making winter tolerable.
Dan: Yes. Yes. This goes back to the Four Seasons approach. How much would I drive if I was staying at the Four Seasons? How much would I shovel snow if I was at the Four Seasons?
Dean: None, that's the answer.
Dan: Well, I'm very excited. I'm very excited. We just started the process this week of actually writing the little book, the procrastination priority, and I have to tell you these podcast I'm doing with you has helped me enormously to think through what would be really good book topics.
Dean: Oh, this is great.
Dan: This is really great. I had three workshops this week. This is just getting richer and richer in the actual workshops, so I'm feeling really super about this right now.
Dean: I love it. Well, last episode we'd gotten through the first, did we get the first two or the first three mindsets?
Dan: First two, first two.
Dean: The first two.
Dan: Everybody procrastinates, always for good reasons. Those were two mindsets that we went through. We had put this down as an offer, so we have it on PDF if anybody wants to see the scorecard and follow along. You indicated to them how they can do that. After they stop listening today or even before they can actually download this and follow along with the scorecard.
Dean: That's right.
Dan: Mine says scorecard. Procrastination underlies everything that humans do and so it affects every one of your mindsets. How you look at procrastination, I think, is very fundamental, how you almost look at everything else in your life.
Dean: I agree with that. Just even this conversation that we've been having now for three, almost four months now, has really presented just the awareness even of procrastination. I constantly observe it in my life and I'm always looking for the different flavors of procrastination. I mean, there's different levels.
Dan: First of all, people are as unique in their procrastination as they are in other areas of their life. I think the reason is is because it's a time suck. It's very much related to time and how you experience the present. How you look at the past and future really is bound up with why you procrastinate and how you procrastinate and everybody has these three time sense. What I've noticed is I haven't found any two people who have the time sense. Everybody seems to have a different take on the three dimensions and, naturally, how they're going to procrastinate is going to be reflected on what their time sense is.
Dean: Right. Absolutely. I'm finding this to be a constant in my life right now. Observing it and, I think, even just the strategies that we've talked about so far, just realizing that there hasn't been a day that I've been blanked with asking procrastination, "What have you got for me today?" I keep thinking maybe you reach a point where it's like, "You know what, I got nothing for you today," but it never happens.
Dan: Take a break, take a break.
Dean: Take some time.
Dan: What I've noticed, this just popped up this week, that end of the year, we have a ton of stuff to do. Some of it I like doing it, some of it I just have to do. It's set up for the new year. What I'll notice, I'll be procrastinating and I know I'm procrastinating, and why am I procrastinating? I said, "Well it's not a high enough item yet on the priority list that I want to spend any time coming to an understanding." I've got other procrastinations I'm working on, which I'm moving through. Even that insight, yes I'm procrastinating, I know I'm procrastinating, but for right now, for the next couple of days it's okay that I procrastinate because it hasn't risen high enough in importance that I should take a half hour or so to think it through and make a breakthrough here. I got other things I'm working on.
That's really different from before where I would say, "You're procrastinating," and I'd immediately jab myself or feel self criticism and I would lose energy at it. Here, it's just, yeah, we'll wait in line, it's in the parking lot and I'll get to it at the appropriate time.
Dean: I have found something very similar, Dan. When I had this realization that there's lots of things that we're procrastinating, not just one thing at a time, there is a priority and a queue to it in a way. I have found that one of the things that I'll do is zoom in glandularly on the time frame. I'll shift the time frame of it. Once I get all of the procrastinations out on a piece of paper or out somewhere to observe them, I do exactly what you're talking about, prioritizing them in a way of looking at is there a consequence to this, first off. Is there a consequence to it, is there a deadline to it, is there a debt to it, is there another person involved in this that's waiting for something or that needs to be communicated about it?
I kind of zone out from today and say, "What would happen if I don't do anything today?" Are there consequences if I don't do something today? That just eases the idea of it to really get to the point where sometimes if I just make a communication today, now, that takes the urgency away from it for me. Especially if there's another person involved in it where often they would be fine if we just communicate what's going on that let's them know that this is on the list, we've got it handled and everything's going to be fine to reassure them or to help them with their planning on something.
Because I often find when I do my procrastination list, I often start with the people, something that that project that has other people attached to it. I'll look at that because I imagine that when they're making their list today, I'm on their list in some way. That they're waiting for or need to check in with Dean or to check in with Dan or, "I need to schedule something with Dean," or whatever it is. Often with just a 60 second or two minute e-mail communication, you can positively impact that, get rid of that element of cortisol production.
Dean: I think when you're just squirting some dopamine on that particular inflammation, that's really a helpful thing and that then lets me settle down into, "Okay, now what's the most important thing that literally I could do today?"
Dan: You're just actually doing a dopamine patch. This isn't really deep dopamine. This is actually just a patch that you're putting on.
Dean: Yeah, just a couple.
Dan: It's just like a nicotine patch. It just cuts down the urge. It's an insightful thing and it's taking the negativity. Everything we seem to talk about when we get to the bottom of a particular insight, it's that we're taking that negative judgment that just seems to be universal about this activity of procrastination. Once you remove that, it's almost like you're naming it. It is procrastination, but not high enough on the priority list to actually address. You've given it another role. It's in the parking lot or it's in storage. It will be gotten to but there are more important things in front of it. I think that is a fundamental breakthrough just in how we think about our thinking. It's the theme that I use for myself.
Everything that I do as a Strategic Coach is that there's lots of education about thinking about things. There's lots of education about thinking about people. There's lots of education about thinking about thoughts. I mean thoughts, it's static thoughts like Plato had this thought and famous people had thoughts and then people use their whole life to study a particular thought, but that's not thinking. Thought isn't thinking, it's just something that's been frozen in time and you're thinking about it.
Where I find this procrastination thing so useful is that the moment that you relieve yourself of the guilt and you go to the, "Why am I procrastinating," you're automatically thinking about your thinking. It's like an automatic doorway into the realm of thinking about your thinking. That really excites me because I've just been about this all my life but I've never found a topic so fruitful and just taking, "Oh, that's really is interesting why I'm doing this, that's funny."
I notice I do it in certain circumstances and I don't. You just mentioned one, Dean, who is actually depending on something coming for me. Then it's really serious procrastination and you got to get on that one first. Well that's a very, very important thought.
Dean: I don't know how valid that is, but it certainly has that sense of it. You know what I mean? To relieve that sense of urgency is valuable enough, just to acknowledge it and to have that dispatch. I've done this before, Dan, where I'm thinking I'll physically write the list of, there may be 10 people that I need to catch up with, or something that's on the thing. I have done this before where I've literally taken a picture of the handwritten list and texted it to the person. "Hey, I'm coming! It's coming!"
Dan: Yeah, you're on the list!
Dean: You're on the list, that's right! Yeah. That eases it.
Dan: Anyway, Dean, in relationship to this, you're wondering how valid it is. I'm giving you lifetime permission right here, right now, to consider this totally valid for the rest of your life so you don't have this uncertainty in your mind.
Dean: Thank you.
Dan: This is blanket permission.
Dean: There we go. This day will be now forever etched. I appreciate that. Yes.
Dan: Yeah. Yeah. All right, let's go into the third mindset and it's ‘Procrastination is caused by your ambition’. This is very, very interesting because you and I deal with very ambitious people day to day. The only reason we have a business is because people are ambitious. This is a very interesting thing. I tell people the only way that, I haven't really seen it but I suspect it, the only way you cannot have procrastination is if you decide to have no ambitions. For the rest of your life you have absolutely no ambition whatsoever. You're never imagining something in front of you that's going to be bigger, better, different than what you have right now.
I think that may be. It's almost impossible for me personally to check it out but I can ask around. Because I have seen some people who will tell me, "I don't go in for that ambition stuff at all." I said, "Well okay, maybe they don't experience procrastination." Don't know. I don't really know yet about that, but it'd be worth pursuing on my part although it's hard to find. For me and I think for you it's hard to find people who don't have any ambition.
Dean: How would you define ambition? Because I know you have an entire scorecard about ambition. You start getting that down, but I think it's really about wanting something bigger.
Dan: Well it's actually related to my definition of selling, that when you're selling to someone else that what you're doing is that you're intellectually engaging them with a future desirable result which they visualize. They see a future desirable result that's bigger and better than what they have now and it's good for them. If you're going to be a positive salesperson you're actually getting a person to engage something that will be good for them. It's an intellectual engagement. They're using their brain. Then the second part of it is that you enable them to emotionally commit to taking the action that will get them that result. On the one hand it's intellectual engagement and on the second level it's emotional commitment.
I would say that that statement of how we sell to others is exactly how we create our ambition. We're selling ourselves on something, intellectually engaging ourselves in the future, and then we're enabling ourselves to be emotionally committed to taking the actions that will get that result. I think that the mechanism for selling to someone else outside of yourself is exactly the same mechanism as creating ambition for yourself inside of yourself. You're selling yourself.
Dean: Fascinating. When we look at the ways that people relate to this ambition, let's start with column one here, that you feel totally trapped in a business where better results are opposed and prevented.
Dan: Yeah. For example, I noticed businesses that are highly regulated in the economy. It almost becomes impossible to want to do something in that business, in that market, in that industry that is in any way different from what's already being achieved. You're locked in. You're just locked in. Any attempt on your part to create some sort of innovation or to do things differently will be opposed and prevented because of some sort of regulation. I'm seeing that a lot in the financial services industry.
Dean: I was going to say. I'm in the same, in the legal world and the financial advisors, they all run into that compliance and all kinds of things.
Dan: Yeah, medical world, very, very highly regulated. What I noticed, I cut out about 10 years ago any talks to groups or organizations of financial advisors because the moment I opened my mouth to suggest to them a bigger and better future for them, I could see their eyes, they were deer in the headlights because all they were seeing is all the ways that that was going to be prevented in their life.
Dean: Yeah, "Oh, can't do that! I wish you could do that."
Dan: It's useless. It was useless. I was actually making them angry and I would get a lot of objections. I could see that I'd just spent a day traveling across the country with a team three days all around to deliver a speech that was going to make me enemies.
Dean: Right! Wait a sec, I'm not going to do this.
Dan: Yeah. I decided this really isn't a good use of your time. All the really great financial advisors in our program, and we have lots of them, are independents. There is a basis which is called an independent financial advisor, and a lot of them are actually making their money not even with a regulated product. They've created a Strategic Coach based thinking process and they're actually selling the thinking process. It would be like your eight profit activators, that's the thinking process. If you take what you did, Dean, and let's say it's a financial advisor, they could have a process like that and they charge for it and they can do it in workshop form, but in order to that they have to give up their licenses. They can't be a licensed seller of products.
That's a real tough fork in the road for a lot of financial advisors, to give up the protection of my license, I can't sell a product, but other people can sell it for you. You can hire licensed agents like a contractor would hire plumbers. They're certified. I said if you understand that what people really, really want to buy is really great thinking, and then there's certain ways you implement the great thinking. The house isn't about the plumber, the house is about the architect.
Dean: Right, that's it.
Dan: You want people to help you design something really good where you have him put into it and it shows up in a beautiful design, then there's all sorts of trades that have to be brought in. The house really isn't about the trades, the house is really about the design. You have a picture on paper and then you want it to match that in reality when it's all put together and everything like that. I think most people want that in their lives.
I think that a lot of people are being faced that the very industry that they're in prevents them from having any ambition.
Dean: Yes, I find that. I have a lot of financial advisors come to my Breakthrough Blueprint events, and it's that same thing. The ones that are removing, they're really focusing on finding people in a specific circumstance and engaging in a relationship with those people. Then it comes to the financial advisory services. I think you're right on with that.
Dan: Well here's the procrastination that actually affects them. It's the biggest procrastination in the world. It's when are you going to decide to leave the regulated industry and get out on your own? This could last for years. I've had people who dropped out of Strategic Coach because I face them with the problem. I said, "There is no future as long as you stay in your present situation." I said, "I'm not saying this to be mean to you, I'm just saying that I've observed it in hundreds of other individuals." I've had people who have decided and broke out and they're extraordinarily excited with their life now, and I've had people who refuse to make the decision because it was just too scary and they were losing all their security and everything else, and five years later they're even more miserable than they were then.
Dean: That seems to be the thing about regulation. Once it starts getting really restrictive it doesn't typically loosen up, it gets tighter and tighter.
Dan: It doesn't get less.
Dan: No, regulators are like pythons.
Dean: Right, they're ratchets. It only goes one way, right? It doesn't ratchet back the other way. Right.
Dan: Their whole point is to eat you at the end.
Dean: You're funny. I think that's good.
Dan: It is. I just gave a really great talk. What I have is I have little marketing meetings where a really great Strategic Coach client that sometimes will have a breakfast meeting. They all send out our scorecard to 10 people, and if the 10 people respond to the scorecard and give themselves first and second score and then they put down their things, they're invited to the breakfast meeting.
I had this one guy and he was talking about being in a business partnership with his brother where they got compensated equally, but over the years their contribution has gone from more or less 50 50 to the point where the one brother who was actually at the meeting felt that he was at 85 or 90% of the contribution and his brother was way, way down. He said, "This is going to just cause enormous problems. If I fire him, I essentially fire my brother or break up the partnership."
I said, "Well, I think you've already made the decision. I don't think you'd be sharing with us here at breakfast if you hadn't already made this decision. When was it, how long ago was it that you actually made the decision?" I said, "I have to tell you, you wouldn't even be able to get the thought to your head if you hadn't made the decision and here you are telling strangers about this problem." I said, "This is a decision you made quite a long time ago. What you're having a hard time with is the implementation."
I said, "The reason why you're having a hard time with the implementation is that you don't want anyone to suffer." I said, "I have to tell you that's not possible. You have no control over the suffering. You can't be in control and you can't take responsibility for other people's reactions to a decision that you make. You have to make the decision regardless of what their responses are."
Dean: It's interesting because as you were saying that, as we were talking about this idea of regulation being the restrictive thing, sometimes it can be the other people in your business. It can be your team or your partners just like you're describing there, that you feel like you're unequally ambitioned. That can feel like being trapped.
Dan: Yes. This one is doubly complicated because it has a family member.
Dan: It's not just the brother but it's the whole, how the evil brother who triggers the decision and leaves is going to be talked about at family reunions on the gossip network. I fired a brother and I know what happened as a result of this. It was back in the 1980s. First of all, he got to the gossip network before I did just because I don't get to the gossip network at all. He had full reign. Was I going to let that stop me from growing? The whole thing is where's your real commitment?
In retrospect it was not a good thing to do, to get involved with relatives in a business because you have to be able to treat them equally with everyone else and not give any favoritism, and if they're not performing, you have to treat them like anyone else who's not performing and everything else. The family thing really complicates it.
Anyway, and I see a lot of people who are trapped in personal relationship business. You and I have both been through divorces. There's a lot of complexity and a lot of stuff involved when you break apart with someone who you have a thousand habits in common with.
Dan: You had a real ideal of how it was going to work and it didn't work out that way. You have to come to grips with that.
The second one, Dean, this is where you and I most really, really spend with our clients and that is your goals for a bigger and better future always seem to increase your daily experience of complexity and confusion.
Dean: Yes. I agree with that.
Dan: Could you talk a little bit because you're dealing, as I am, with hundreds and hundreds of people. It's almost like the bad maybe comes with the good in terms of their ambition.
Dean: Yeah. I find that once people have, I would call, their goals for a bigger and better future usually come after they've been exposed to, like you said, the idea, the vision of a bigger and better future. A lot of times they don't even know what they don't know, but once you know what's possible, once you see something that you want, then I find that where people get caught up is immediately they get paralyzed by, "I don't know how to do that." That's where we get into this how versus who idea.
Dan: Just to bring an idea that you introduced, also they have a sense that they don't have enough time.
Dean: Yes. Yeah. "My plate is full," often, or they're kind of stuck in this, the "I'm so busy in these things." I find that there's a lot of depth here to this, "I don't have enough time," and I often, when we examine it, look at, "Well, what are you actually doing with your time? What are you doing?" When I look at it and kind of break it out for people, so often they're doing things that they've always done that they figured out how to do, they know how to do, feel comfortable doing, but that somebody else could do. There's so many things that they're doing that somebody else could do. That's really one of, I think, the biggest things of freeing up your time, is getting rid of the things that don't require your time.
One of the biggest breakthroughs for me came when I understood the difference between what Wyatt Woodsmall calls adaptive challenges versus technical challenges. Have you met Wyatt? Do you know who Wyatt Woodsmall is?
Dan: No, but you've told me the concept before. It's worth repeating.
Dean: Yeah, absolutely.
Dan: It's a real difference of time. People say, "I have problems," and problems do not come equal. There are problems that are not even the same species as other problems.
Dean: Right, absolutely.
Dan: Wyatt has really drawn a very, very useful and meaningful distinction between the two types of problems.
Dean: Yeah. Basically, the basic idea is that there really are two types of challenges. There are technical challenges, which are problems where the answer is known and you just need to know how to do it. Then there are adaptive challenges, where the answer's not known and you need to figure out what to do.
Dan: It has to be created.
Dean: Yes, it has to be created. That is the entrepreneurial challenge. That's the thing that gets us the juice. We're trying to figure out how to make something that doesn't exist. How to create a series of steps or a algorithm or a protocol or create a product or a service that solves a problem in a unique way. Once you've solved the adaptive element of that, once you've figured out how to do it, then the goal is driving that down to documenting it in a set of technical specifications that somebody else can do.
Once you've figured out what you're spending your time on, if you start really looking at the line items and say, "Is there anybody else that could do this," that's really where you're constantly getting that freedom. You would call it moving it from making it up, which is adaptive, making it real and making it recur. Certainly making it recur is all technical, all the technical challenges. Let's hear your amazing insight.
Dan: On Friday I was the guest of Glenn McQueenie, who you know really well.
Dean: I do.
Dan: He had you on his podcast series. He's a sweetheart. He's got a big brokerage here in Toronto, 300 real estate agents.
Dean: One of the biggest.
Dan: He was just giving me the per sale averages for agents, this year compared to last year. 70% of agents are averaging about six sales or less per year, six transactions. What he was talking about was that there are new technical solutions that don't need agents, that are increasingly taking over the real estate industry, and that would be true in every other industry too. It's not unique to that. The people who are getting killed by this are getting killed because they lack adaptive intelligence.
You know, "The old game is over and I'm going to have to adapt to a new game, and right now the things I used to be able to get paid for because consumers just couldn't find out the information." They couldn't do that, now they can. Technologically, consumers are being better and better armed and they can do all sorts of things. House comparisons and they can check up online on availability and they can check out procedures that can be streamlined through automation. That used to be the role of the agent and a certain amount of that was billed into what they could get, but they can't get people's attention anymore.
The thing that I was thinking here is that what you and I get most paid for is not technical solutions at all.
Dean: Not at all.
Dan: Nor do I want any involvement in it. I don't even want any involvement in the technical solutions. I mean zero. I mean nada. I mean nothing.
Dean: Yeah, no, you're absolutely right.
Dan: Because nothing makes me procrastinate more, is involvement in technical solutions.
Dean: Right. Yeah. I look at my goal and my role as to be a great simplifier. Both for my own life first.
Dan: Then an adaptive coach.
Dean: And an adaptive coach, but also creating the solutions that I'm adopting for myself into packaged solutions that I'm able to put in place for others. I mean, the 90-Minute Book is a perfect example of that. There's an example of somebody getting into procrastination, their ambition of wanting to write a book, that could be a goal for a bigger and better future, that then seems to increase their daily experience of complexity and confusion. How do I write? Where I am going to find the time to write or how am I going to do all the technical things of where do I get it printed and what fonts should I use and where am I going to get a cover designed?
All of those things that put people in this tailspin of confusion and procrastination that need figuring out, the adaptive challenge of, first of all, realizing that all somebody needs, that the most important part for the entrepreneur is their unique ability, bringing the information. They've already got it. If we could just hook up a hose to their brain, the book's already done. The book's in there.
Dan: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. Here's something that's really interesting and I'll just use our podcast series here as the example. We met on a Saturday not knowing we were going to talk about this topic, got very excited about the topic. Before the end of our lunch we had decided to do a podcast series. You had come up with the name, "Joy of Procrastination." I got home and later that afternoon I got a graphic from you. You had already designed the logo. We put a schedule for the next day that we were going to do our first podcast. It was all set up on your technology that you had.
Dean: My platform, yes.
Dan: We went through and completed the first podcast. That next day, on the Monday, I went in and talked to my marketing team and I said, "I'm going to have another podcast series," and I already have four. I could just see their eyes roll.
Dan: They said, "Dan, you're getting into that overload thing again where you just keep loading. Just because you can come up with an idea, all the work lands on our shoulders." I could see their eyes. I said, "No, it's already done. The series is already launched. It's already packaged. It's already got a graphic. It's up. Go to Google, punch in 'Joy of Procrastination.'" They did and it was right there. I said, "It's done." It was really, really interesting just to watch this because I deprived them of the opportunity to procrastinate.
Dean: Oh, I love it! That's so funny.
Dan: Yeah. It's launched! The ship's left! It's out of the harbor! I said, "You don't even have to know when I'm doing them. I'll tell you when they're finished and they're on." Just to see that, there was no reason for us to procrastinate on this because it was instant action because you had already created the make it real and the make it recur aspects of it. All we had to do was make it up, which we mostly did at lunch, and all we had to do was continue on with what we had already done.
Dean: There's an example again. That's just a technical algorithm of these are the things that have to happen in order for, A, to take you and I recording this, and I've boiled that down to the essence, and now we are in the process of launching a podcast service called "Dial, Talk, Done." That's it. That's how we want to get it so that you and I can just dial in and talk and then everything else is completely handled. That's how we have time to do four or five podcast series each because all we're doing is that.
Dan: The interesting thing, you've just given me enormous clarity over here, and that is that I never procrastinate when the only thing required of me is to make it up.
Dean: Unique ability, right? Part of that is we're just documenting a conversation and we have the stimulus of being able to frame this conversation together, and as quick starts everything we say leads to the immediate next thought to drive things forward. We're never struggling for what to say next.
Dan: Yeah. Okay. We're still moving along on the ambition, but these are all such fantastic discussions because you start seeing distinctions that you've never seen before. That adaptive technical one is a huge one. You had told me before but it didn't quite land because we didn't have this particular context to discuss it in. It relates back to unique ability, teamwork and everything that we do in Strategic Coach. Really huge.
Okay, the third mindset here is you have created this success formula over your entire life that allows you to look completely on top of everything.
Dean: We're in column three.
Dan: No, we're in column three. Yeah, it's okay.
Dean: Right now.
Dan: I have it on super zoom, so right now, your only motivation is to hold on to and maintain what you have already achieved. I've met people like that.
Dean: Yes. Kind of like what you talked about is everybody that you probably know at your age right now is in that mode. Right now, it's just, "Hang on, I just got to hang on until my pile gets big enough that I can retire and coast all the way through the rest of my life here." You see it. You're not meeting many 72 year olds who are three years into a 25 year plan.
Dan: No. No, it's very, very interesting. I had an experience about a year ago meeting a very, very famous marketer, and you would know him really well. I'm at a stage where entering into the marketing world and getting to know all the top marketing people is still a fresh thing for me. I'm just in the early stages of it. I met him and he's not quite my age but probably within about three years. Three years younger. We had lunch and one of my first questions when I meet somebody I don't really know, I said, "What's the thing that's most exciting you right now?"
He said, "Well you know, the creative stage of my life is kind of over now, and I'm just into the legacy phase where I'm getting things packaged and putting them in the hands of other people who can work with them. That real creative, constantly coming up with new stuff, that's over for me now."
I let him talk for a few minutes and I said, "I think you're putting yourself in severe danger. You're thinking dangerous thoughts right now. As a matter of fact, you're thinking thoughts that are totally contradictory to the philosophy that you've been preaching all your life." It really shook him up. I could see he was really shaken by this. I said, "What if for the last 30, 40 years, you'd been saying the creative side of your business is now over and now you should just think about how you make your business into a legacy? Do you think anybody would have invited you back for a second meeting? Do you think they would have paid you for anything?"
I said, "Your whole success has been about getting people to have an ambition for bigger and better, and here you are, you're contradicting the advice that you give to other people by the advice that you're now giving to yourself. You would predict that any business that had that wouldn't be in business very long. I will predict that if you continue on thinking with those thoughts, you're not going to be alive very much longer."
Dean: Wow. I could see that. Because I think continuing to grow is what keeps your brain engaged.
Dan: Yeah, I think our body takes its cues from our thoughts about the future.
Dean: Yeah. I, 20 years ago almost, wrote a book called, "Stop Your Divorce," with a counselor from Texas who was 76 years old when I met him. He just recently died earlier this year. He was 94. Right up to the very end, he was so engaged and was doing telephone counseling with people all the way through. It was really what kept him useful. He just loved applying and helping people through their situations. It's an interesting thing, that that really does keep you engaged, keeping growing.
Dan: Yeah. I remember George Burns, who was a very famous Vaudeville, radio, early television comedian. George Burns and Gracie Allen, it was a husband and wife thing. He was sort of the straight man to her act, but then afterwards when she died, then he developed extra dimensions to his own career. He had a goal. I think there was a club in London called the Palladium where he had appeared very, very early in his career. He had always had a goal that on his hundredth birthday he was going to do a show at the Palladium, and sure enough he did it. Then I read three weeks later he fell in his bathtub shower, broke his hip and died about two or three months later.
I was just talking about this because I make so much deal about that you have to have future dates where you're doing bigger and better things to send the right signals to your body.
Dean: To keep going, yeah.
Dan: We need everything at a hundred percent. No dipping down here at all. Just keep putting on the fuel, I'll get you the fuel and everything else. I said, George, about a day before he did the event on your hundredth birthday you should have said, "And when I'm finished with this one then on my 110th birthday I'm going to be here!"
Dean: I'll be back! Get your tickets now!
Dan: I bet he wouldn't have slipped in the shower and broke his hip. My feeling is that he walked off the stage after he had achieved his goal and there were no more goals. My feeling is that he probably just went really fast after that.
Dean: I'm looking at the relationship here between column three, right now your only motivation is to hold on to and maintain what you have already achieved, and then column four, which is you realize that procrastination always comes from wanting something bigger and better.
Dan: Yeah, and I should add something to this because this is one point. I would say ‘dash dash’ and you absolutely depend on this. In other words, you realize that your procrastination always comes from wanting something bigger and better and you're happy with this or you're okay with this. We're kind of writing copy as we go along here. The big thing is that you're not afraid of the fact, especially since the way that we're talking about here, you're not afraid of the procrastination that comes with greater ambition. You actually want it because the way you're using it, how else am I going to get my daily procrastination priority unless I have bigger ambition? It's almost we've reversed the role here. Where most people think of procrastination as a thing that prevents their ambition or prevents their achievement, you've reversed it in your mind and said it's my ambition which produces the procrastination which actually fuels my tank for achievement.
Dean: That's good. Yeah, that's the good thing. That's where we get that energy, and I wonder if the way you're describing it even, that that boost of that procrastination awareness really does do something cellularly to us. That it's sending those signals that we got to be at the ready here. We've got things to do.
Dan: Especially with, I mean in our particular case we're ADD. The biggest problem I've always had as part of my ADD condition, there would be 30 different things I could do on any day and not one of any of them's stable enough that I can say, "Well this is the most important one." The lists I have of things that I could and, even worse, should be doing is constantly tormenting me throughout the day because I didn't really, really have a way to prioritize and say, "Yeah, yeah, there's a big list but these are the three important ones and today this is good." Not only are there three of them, but this is number one, this is number two and this is number three, and if I do that it's a great day.
Dean: Yeah. I think there really is something to that because this is what I've been really journaling about and evaluating this last couple of weeks. I mentioned earlier in the call how it seems like the procrastinations that have an attachment to other people are the ones that create the most cortisol, where's there a difference between this sense of urgency about it, but that doesn't necessarily make them the most important thing. I think that there's a danger in that too of being just constantly driven. I use it as an indicator, certainly, but have to have the ability to discern in the bigger scope of things what really is the priority.
Dan: Yeah. It's almost like we've discovered something. It's like there's been this general rule throughout human history, stay away from the radioactive rocks. Don't touch rocks that are radioactive and we discovered, "Yeah, but that's where the atomic power comes from."
Dean: That's so funny.
Dan: You guys are still rubbing wood together to get sparks and what we're doing is we're taking radioactive and we're creating nuclear energy. I'm just using it as a metaphor, that what's perceived as to be a real negative and totally dangerous is actually the key to exponential achievement, exponential clarity.
Dean: I love it. Let's recap this mindset because, man, there was so much depth and richness in this one.
Dan: Well, ambition's a big deal. I see people and I've noticed that I think why there was such a change that took place in the recent election is that I noticed the messages coming out of Washington for probably the last four or five years. This being unemployed and not really having increases in income and it's not going to be like it was in the past and everything else and we just have to lower our expectations of what's possible in the future. That was so against people's ambition that anybody who would promise something, "No, no, no, it's going to be bigger than ever. We're going to take everything we've done in the past and we're going to make it bigger." It was just a very, very attractive message when he came along. I think that's the reason why everybody was so surprised. Why would they change and pick somebody with no experience over someone with experience? Because the person with all the experience was saying, "Well don't expect any changes." Well, we want the change.
Ambition is a very, very powerful skill. My way of describing ambition is that it actually is a skill. You grow this skill. One of the killers of ambition is that automatically it brings along with it the experience of procrastination simply because automatically you know you don't have the existing capability and confidence to get to that future thing. The other thing is you've already got so much on your plate that you're probably not going to have enough time to accomplish this new thing.
Dean: Yeah. Now there we go. Looking at the time, that we would break that down and identify it because your time is spent doing things that other people could do.
Dan: Yeah, you haven't made the distinction. Adaptive is growing yourself to higher capability and confidence, but the time issue of it is because you're thinking you're going to have to do all the technical. All you have to do is create the adaptive vision and other people will supply the technical solutions.
Dean: That's it. It's all very exciting, Dan.
Dan: Beautiful, beautiful. I'm a changed man after this hour.
Dean: I love it. Me too.
Dan: Yeah, and don't have dangerous thoughts in your head like you're not going to grow anymore because it'll be true. You won't grow anymore. You'll die.
Dean: It'll be true!
Dan: You'll die.
Dean: We don't want that. Nobody wants that.
Dean: Well, I can't wait to pick up and continue going through the ambition scorecard here, the procrastination scorecard and all the mindsets. It's just a fascinating discussion and I love all of these.
Dan: Anyway, we're on our break now, so I'm not going to have for a couple of weeks, but they don't need to know that at all.
Dean: They don't need to know that.
Dan: Why am I even talking that direction?
Dean: Nothing's going to change for them because the joy of this is that we are so on top of our procrastination that we are living right now in the future, and while we're on the break they're going to be looking for this podcast.
Dan: Even in the future, we are still having an impact in the present.
Dean: That is exactly right. We don't need to worry about it. We've got episodes lined up for them. There we go.
Dan: Yeah, and actually when they are in the present, that present that they're having is actually in our past.
Dean: That's true! Oh, my head hurts.
Dan: We are literally visitors from the future. We are literally visitors from the future.
Dean: I like what I'm hearing. I like going to the future with you.
Dan: There's another podcast series somewhere.
Dean: That's true, exactly.
Dan: Yeah. "Visitors From the Future," that will be a good podcast series.
Dan: Not just yet.
Dean: Not just yet. Okay Dan.
Dan: That's not even worth procrastinating on yet.
Dean: That's right. Not yet, that's right. We got a lifetime of procrastination ahead of us.
Dan: All right.
Dean: Thanks Dan. Bye bye.