We all put off doing the less pleasant things in favor of more enjoyable tasks, whether at home, work or even on the committee we signed up for. Certainly there wouldn't be hundreds of cliches like "eat the frog" (or "you have the same amount of hours in a day as Beyonce") if not. But other than facing the small inconvenience of prolonging the inevitable when it comes to doing laundry, or the larger consequence of missing out on an opportunity when it comes to business, consider how procrastination doesn't just affect you. Not doing the thing we're meant to do actually has an impact on the world around us.
For example, when a neighborhood restaurant closes too soon and you think, "Man, I kept wanting to go there." Well, probably so did a lot of other well meaning folks. But they never did and ultimately the restaurant shuttered its doors. Of course you could say the restaurateur should have had more significant cash reserves, or done better market research, or a dozen other things - maybe they procrastinated too. But the bigger lesson here is what opportunities are passed by on a daily basis because we just never got around to doing what we meant to do.
How many people have great ideas and never follow through on them, for various reasons, be it fear of failure (everyone's fav!) or not enough ____ (insert time, money, experience - a close second). What if Steve Jobs (and the Woz) had just never really gotten around to starting one of the most technologically innovative companies in the history of the world? Beyond grasping the idea you'd probably be reading this on a Blackberry (#RIP), just think of all the things the iPhone was a catalyst for - not just in the tech sector but also for the economy, the market, the world.
When you pass up something that is meant for you to do, in favor of doing nothing, or at best, in favor of maintaining the status quo, you are robbing the world of something great. The burden may not be on you personally - we're not all creative geniuses (genii?) destined to change the world with our shower thoughts. But it could be you who provides an inspiration or opportunity for someone else, you who opens the door and paves the way for the next big thing. Not every changemaker has global name recognition, but there are amazing people doing things right here in our own communities that we can hire, mentor, or support.
Making decisions to actively contribute to the world around us, whether they be starting a business, returning a phone call or striking up a conversation in line at the dry cleaner are each small but proactive moves that can set in motion larger ones that will ultimately inspire significant results. There's always the chance to be in the right place at the right time, by the favor of the universe or creative design - you can chalk it up to whomever you wish - but that right place is not typically found while shirking responsibility or ignoring that voice that is telling you to GO.
Every day we have dozens of opportunities to do something. Something new, something different, something small - but something just the same. When we choose not to, even with the intention of maybe doing it later, we take away a contribution. No matter how small, and no matter how not fun it may be in the moment, choose to act. The world needs all of us, we're all connected and we all have a role. In your household, your office, your community and your country, someone's next move is affected by yours. If you've been wondering if you should do something, the answer is probably yes. Don't sit on the sidelines, jump in and do your part!
"Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water,the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects." -Dalai Lama