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The Kenya Forum | The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Achieving Greatness... Eventually - The Kenya Forum

April 27, 2024

Summary

Strategic procrastination isn’t just okay – it’s downright essential for the creative cauldron to bubble with brilliance!

More by Waweru Njoroge

The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Achieving Greatness… Eventually

The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Achieving Greatness… Eventually

Ah, procrastination – the misunderstood muse of the creative cosmos! In our hustle-obsessed culture, we often scoff at the notion of delaying tasks, yet the masters of dilly-dallying have long known its secret: it’s the ultimate incubator for genius!

But here’s the juicy bit: strategic procrastination isn’t just okay – it’s downright essential for the creative cauldron to bubble with brilliance! Those blissful periods of avoidance give our minds the space to stretch and yawn, allowing inspiration to slowly stir until the deadline dragon awakens us from our slumber, and bam! Genius bursts forth like confetti at a party.

So, come along for a brief stroll through history’s hall of procrastination fame! From the masters of “Can’t be bothered right now”, to the deadline dancers who waltz with finesse, let’s celebrate the fertile void before unleashing your inner procrastination prodigy!

Saint Augustine: From Procrastination Purgatory to Divine Inspiration

We start with the procrastination escapades of the legendary Saint Augustine, who could have moonlighted as the patron saint of delaying tactics. Before finding his calling in religion, Augustine perfected the art of putting things off with a casual “Yeah, maybe later, God” and an eternal promise of purity for tomorrow. But at 31, spurred by the celestial whisper of “Tolle lege” (“Hey, pick up a book already”), he finally kicked his procrastination habit to the curb. Turns out, his struggles with procrastination weren’t just legendary but also served as the fuel for some of Christianity’s most profound insights. So, if Augustine could turn his procrastination into enlightenment, perhaps there’s hope yet for us mere mortals to transform our delays into productivity!

Victor Hugo: Master of Literary Genius and Dramatic Procrastination

Next in line is the illustrious Victor Hugo, the maestro behind timeless literary treasures such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Misérables. Renowned not only for his literary prowess but also for his flair for dramatic procrastination, Hugo took eccentricity to new heights in his quest for inspiration. Legend has it that he resorted to extreme measures, like locking away his wardrobe to thwart any impulses of outdoor escapades, only to find himself cornered into writing to replenish his clothing fund. In a hilarious twist of fate, his publisher once had to stage a wardrobe intervention at a local café where Hugo had sought refuge, holding his belongings hostage until he surrendered the manuscript for “Les Misérables”. It seems deprivation does wonders for creativity, as evidenced by the masterpiece that ensued, solidifying Hugo’s status as a literary legend with a penchant for ‘fashionable’ drama.

Leonardo da Vinci: Master of Procrastination or Genius at Work?

Even the original Renaissance Man himself, Leonardo da Vinci, wasn’t immune to the charms of procrastination, once quipping, “I have offended God and mankind because my work didn’t achieve the quality it should have.” While Leonardo was busy playing the field—observing nature, dissecting bodies, you name it—his greatest masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, took a leisurely decade to brew. As court painter to the Duke of Milan, he accepted a portrait commission around 1503 but promptly stashed it on the eternal back burner, distracted by more tantalizing sketches and theories. Only when his patrons started giving him the side-eye did Leonardo reluctantly return to the half-finished portrait and conjure up that enigmatic smile. Had he rushed it, we might’ve had a run-of-the-mill household portrait, but instead, we’ve got the Mona Lisa, the ultimate head-scratcher that keeps us all guessing.

J.K. Rowling: The Procrastinator Who Conjured an Entire Wizarding World

Who would’ve thought that the mastermind behind the enchanting world of Harry Potter, sitting atop a fortune nearing $1 billion, was once a certified procrastination pro? Rowling’s tale is a delightful mix of resilience, daydreams, and yes, a healthy dose of procrastination. Admitting to dodging her writing duties like a wizard dodges curses, Rowling confessed to trading her pen for a mop or a leisurely stroll whenever the blank page loomed. But hey, in that procrastination cocoon, creativity sparked! Legend has it, the Hogwarts Express of ideas chugged along while she idled on a delayed train from Manchester to London. Voilà, Harry Potter was born! So, the next time you’re scrubbing floors instead of scribbling down ideas, rejoice – you might just be brewing up your own literary magic. And it worked like a charm, for her book soared to literary Olympus faster than you can say “Accio success!”

Nassim Taleb: A Maverick Economist’s Procrastination Playbook

Nassim Taleb, the enigmatic economist and author of “The Black Swan” and “Antifragile,” is renowned for his insights into randomness, uncertainty, and the unpredictable nature of life. Yet, beneath his towering intellect lies a playful disregard for conventional wisdom, epitomized by his embrace of procrastination as a tool for innovation. Taleb’s approach to procrastination is not one of avoidance but rather ‘strategic delay’, allowing ideas to percolate and evolve before committing them to paper. In his own words, “You will be civilized on the day you can spend a long period doing nothing, learning nothing, and improving nothing, without feeling the slightest amount of guilt”

Steve Jobs: The Procrastination Prince of Silicon Valley

For our final inductee, we turn to a legendary procrastinator extraordinaire, Steve Jobs, founding father of Apple Inc., where deadlines were more like suggestions and innovation was born from the sweet, sweet embrace of procrastination. With masterful procrastination prowess, he elevated delaying tactics to an art form, turning the eleventh hour into his personal playground. Yet, perhaps that was the magic sauce behind his creative genius all along—harnessing the impending doom of deadlines to conjure up brilliance beyond mortal comprehension. With a sly smirk and a twinkle in his eye, Jobs once mused, “Creativity is just connecting things,” as if he stumbled upon genius while hunting for his car keys. But let’s face it, it’s easy to marvel at the art of connecting dots when the entire globe eagerly awaits your next mind-blowing invention, while you effortlessly recline; the epitome of procrastination chic.

Mastering the Art of Procrastination: The Dance of Delay

The delicate dance of procrastination is not for the faint of heart! Oh no, there’s a balance to be struck, like a tightrope walker waltzing across the chasm between productivity and procrastination. It’s a dance of deadlines, a tango of tasks, and only the most skilled procrastinators can pirouette gracefully through its twists and turns.

Imagine this: you’re sprawled on your couch, twirling a pen between your fingers like a master of procrastination-fu, contemplating the mysteries of the universe while avoiding that pesky project deadline. Ah, the sweet embrace of procrastination! But before you write it off as mere idleness, consider this: those moments of procrastination are like marinating a steak – sure, it takes time, but the flavor payoff is oh-so-worth it.

The secret sauce for this steak? Easy does it…but do it! A mantra that sounds like it was crafted by a wise old sage with a penchant for irony and a fondness for naps, but bear with me. Embrace those moments of glorious procrastination where your brain decides it’s time to take a leisurely stroll through the garden of your mind. Who cares if the productivity gurus raise an eyebrow at your seemingly random musings? Let your thoughts frolic freely, for in the chaos lies the seeds of innovation.

But ah, the inevitable moment arrives when the clock strikes zero and reality slaps you in the face like a wet fish. Suddenly, procrastination morphs into its alter ego: the turbo-charged motivational machine. It’s like procrastination whispers, “Fear not, mortal! For I shall bestow upon you the gift of last-minute brilliance!” Suddenly, priorities sharpen like a well-honed sword, and productivity skyrockets to levels that would make even the most diligent worker bee blush. It’s procrastination’s last hurrah, the grand finale where procrastinators transform from laid-back explorers to laser-focused taskmasters faster than you can say, “I’ll do it later.”

So, my friends, fear not the procrastinator within. For in the eleventh hour, when the sands of time are slipping through your fingers like a particularly dramatic hourglass, you shall rise like a phoenix from the ashes of your own laziness (creative processing). With a wink to the gods of productivity and a nod to the procrastination demons, you shall conquer the task at hand with a brilliance born of equal parts panic and inspiration.

The Paradoxical Power of Purposeful Procrastination

What if Saint Augustine hadn’t heard the cosmic call of ‘Tolle lege’? Would ‘Confessions’ still have emerged to immortalize his journey to faith? What if Victor Hugo hadn’t stripped away his distractions to finish ‘Les Misérables’? Would its timeless tale still resonate as deeply? What if Leonardo da Vinci hadn’t procrastinated until patrons demanded the Mona Lisa ASAP? Do you think her enigmatic smile would still captivate us today?

Would Harry Potter have captured our imaginations with the same enchantment if J.K. Rowling hadn’t taken her time to tidy up? Imagine if Nassim Taleb hadn’t deployed ‘strategic delay’ with ‘The Black Swan.’ Would it have reshaped our understanding of the world in the same way? And what if Jobs hadn’t delayed, meticulously crafting each detail of Apple’s iconic products? Do you think the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook would have captured our hearts and minds with the same fervor?

The questions I have posed are not about encouraging irresponsible delaying; they’re about purposeful, intentional procrastination demonstrating a potent creative force – a methodical process of accumulating creative energy through deliberate postponement, until the perfect moment arrives to unleash that electric surge of inspiration with astounding force. While it’s important to allow the muse to wander freely in the gardens of procrastination, eventually action must be taken.

Therefore, go forth and procrastinate with brilliance, but don’t let your genius linger in the shadows of uncertainty for too long, lest it become just another ghost of could-have-beens haunting your conscience. After all, only when the delicate dance between profound pondering and frantic frenzy reaches its climax, can you birth something truly magnificent, something that whispers across the ages, ‘I was worth the wait.’ So, dear procrastinating visionaries, the decision is yours… eventually.

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