Funnily enough, I wrote this post after I have started 3 other blog posts but got stuck while writing.

Do you know the appeal to switch a task, when you got stuck? When you just want to skip the difficult part and do something easy instead? So, do I. I mean, what is wrong about this? What is wrong about doing something different when we got stuck in doing a task? What is wrong with buying something new, when we don’t feel satisfied with our current item? When our current item isn’t perfect anymore, with a small scratch? What is wrong in changing partners, when our current partner has a difficult time?

The sickness of our society

We are told every day that we can replace everything “old” and unproperly functioning with something new and shiny. That we should switch to an easier task, if we got stuck. We are told that we don’t have to have all that stress with unproperly functioning items, relationships or people. “Replace your old with something new”, is the maxim to follow. Why shouldn’t we, when the prices are low, we easily can shop online and we can get the new shiny thing the next day? Isn’t it even dumb to avoid doing so?

I can tell you, it isn’t

And it is simple why: with replacing things, switching tasks and doing stuff that fits better our current mood, we start to procrastinate. Even worse, we start to believe that we can replace or postpone everything, if we want to. But, and this but is huge, there are things we can’t replace or postpone:

Dissatisfaction, negative emotions, anxieties, fear, you name it

As far as I know, there is no shop for buying happiness, satisfaction, confidence, dreams or ideas. But of course, there are ways to imitate the aforementioned aspects. For example, with cars, houses, expensive suits etc. And maybe there are even people, who would believe us if we say that we are satisfied, happy, confident and all the rest, when we arrive in our new Lamborghini. But, although we can convince everybody around us that we are happy, there is still someone we can’t convince:

Ourselves

At first, we may think that we have everything we ever wanted. Everything we ever needed. Even more than this. But the more time will pass, the more we will realize that we postpone our old, well-known negative emotions on a daily basis. We postpone them until a point, at which everything will collapse, like a house of cards.

At this point, we realize for the first time that we didn’t replace the negative emotions with true happiness, true satisfaction or confidence. Instead, we went to a shop bought us the fake version of it and wondered why it doesn’t work.

It all starts inside of us

This means, that we shouldn’t look for external factors of satisfaction. Instead, we should focus on ourselves to find out what bothers us. We should stop whitewashing everything negative with quickly available satisfactions, like an easier-to-do task.

We consciously have to take action against the negative feelings inside of us. Not by buying something new. Not by postponing a difficult task. By coming to grips with ourselves. By drudging through the drudgery. And especially by enjoying the progress of change, the progress of growth, the loading bar towards our personal fulfillment.

Because, with endless opportunities in our environment, we often not only feel overwhelmed, but also appealed to do something else. This is a dangerous combination, perfect to start a lot of things, but finish not one of it. Why do we need to write a paper for university, when we can watch Netflix? When we can avoid a lot of struggle?

Struggle means growth

With the right mindset, struggle means growth. It means drudging through the drudgery to get the result we want. Will we build muscles while lifting weights we can easily lift? Probably not! Will it feel comfortable. Of course. Will we build muscles while lifting heavy weights? Probably. Will it feel comfortable? Not a bit.

The same goes for task-switching

The dangerous appeal of task-switching is doing something with less or no resistance. It is the avoidance of something difficult, to satisfy our upcoming need of quick “success”. I mean, how can we fail watching Netflix or YouTube?

Short-term satisfaction > long-term reward

That is the inequation in our head we are acting upon. We unconsciously choose short-term satisfactions over long-term rewards. We fail the marshmallow-test every day. To feel satisfied for a short moment, we replace, procrastinate and postpone. This is what society teaches us. This is what we are used to believe in.

But sometimes, struggle is exactly what we need. And often, task-switching is our desperate attempt to feel good, when we realize that we are stuck in something. When we realize, that something is wrong and we aren’t fine with it. It is our way to get positive emotions as quickly as possible. This is why it works so good. This is why we become addicted to it.

Task-switching and replacing are drugs. Drugs to replace our inner negative emotions with something positive. Even if it is only for a short time. Even if it is fake. As I have mentioned, we were taught that we can postpone everything. Even more: That we can replace and postpone everything without any consequences. But, as we know, this isn’t true. At some point, we have to pay the bill for everything we have postponed and everything we have replaced.

My approach to avoid the collapse

Instead of having the big struggles in life and satisfy myself from time to time with a new shiny gadget or a easier-to-do task, I want to feel deep satisfaction within my work. I want to feel good while doing the stuff I want. But above all that, I want to appreciate struggles in my life and start seeing them as a chance to grow instead of a hurdle I will fall over. This means, that sometimes I will have to struggle. Because, although I love what I am doing, I know that there are difficult parts about it. There are parts I want to skip. But instead of skipping them, I embrace the struggle. I embrace the hurdles I will overcome, while I keep doing what I am doing.

Leave a Reply