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  • Kit Allowitz

2 reasons to stop acting against your better judgement

Reason One:

You move closer to what it is you want.

Reason Two:

It builds mojo.

Let me explain with a story.

Victor Hugo was a French poet, novelist and artist. Victor was the author of many books, including masterpieces like, “Les Misérables.”

In the summer of 1830, after all his prior achievements, Victor found himself in trouble. He had made the commitment to his publisher to complete another book. But Victor had gotten a case of ‘pulling the chicken switch’……. specifically procrastinating.

And it turned out to be a pretty serious case, like oozing from his veins. Victor had procrastinated all summer with activities like entertaining guests who came to visit, taking on other projects, and traveling, anything but writing. These were all short term wants and temptations that were easy to say yes to…...instead of writing.

Victor’s publisher checked in with him late in the summer and found that he was well behind any sort of productive time schedule that would allow him to complete his commitment on schedule.

Victor’s publisher demanded he have the book completed in the next 6 months.

The human condition is such that we often seek short term gratification, the easier ‘wants’ in our lives. There is a rub between the longer term desired outcomes we seek and the short-term temptations we face.

For many of us, our short-term payoffs can supersede the desired long-term outcomes we say we want. With the publisher on his heels and 6 months lost, Victor birthed an extreme stratagem to beat his procrastination.

As the embellished story goes, Victor’s extreme stratagem was this; HE GOT NAKED!

Yes…...he got naked in his house.

He also got rid of all his clothes, and with no suitable clothes to be tempted to put on or go outside with, or be distracted with, he forced himself to write.

So….is the simple answer to Not Acting Against Your Better Judgement and Procrastination – To Get Naked?

Well…...just before you go there, here is the rest of the Victor Hugo story. His strategy worked. Without clothes, he feverishly wrote and wrote and two weeks before his publishers demanded deadline, Victor Hugo completed his commitment. The book he completed and published?

“The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

The temptation to act against our better judgement shows up in many ways, and most often connected to present bias.

Present bias is to want what is now, when compared to other choices, made prior. For example, I committed in the past to work on my taxes or make sales cold calls, however in this present moment, when the time has come to do the taxes and cold calling, I don’t feel at all like doing either of those activities. So, I choose surfing FB instead.

This behavior…. of acting against our better judgement has a name.

It’s called Akrasia, pronounced, “əˈkrāZH(ē)ə.”

Akrasia is a term coined by Greek philosopher Socrates. It means a state of mind where a person acts against what they know as better judgement because of a lack of will.

Victor knew he should be writing his book.

Many of us know there are things we need to get done, but put off. To do so is to act against your better judgement.

Akrasia…. Acting against your better judgement can be curtailed.

Akrasia can be curtailed by:

  1. Exercising discipline. Discipline is following through on your commitments after the emotion of making that commitment has passed.

  2. Be your word. When your word becomes you, you literally will do what you say and follow through on commitments after the emotions of making those commitments has passed.

By eliminating Akrasia (acting against your better judgement) from your life, you unequivocally move closer to what it is you want.

When you achieve your desired outcomes, it builds confidence. Confidence is mojo. Mojo is magic!

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