As a kid I was confronted with a nightly dilemma at dinner. My plate of food inevitably consisted of protein, carbs and vegetables. I hated vegetables. My only recourse (I thought) was to go worst last. I would dive into the meat and potato hoping against hope that somehow those veggies would disappear or my parents would have a change of heart. With each bite of roast beef however my discomfort grew. The looming specter of graying, boiled vegetables slowly crowded out my pleasure.The task before me seemed insurmountable.Countless meals ground to a halt this way. If I had only known about worst first.
What is worst first mentality? It’s taking your to-do list and instead of going for the easy, low hanging fruit first (the meat and potatoes) you identify the most disagreeable task (the green beans)and take it on, giving it your full measure.
The benefits of living a worst first strategy?
- Start with a victory! Tackling your biggest foe first has a two-fold effect. One you are rewarded with an invigorating flow of positive energy due to your esteem-enhancing actions. Two you are lighter for eliminating the heavy weight from your list. All that energy that gets eaten up by the “looming specter” is now applied elsewhere.
- Develop a self-image of being an obstacle buster. How you feel about yourself can easily be the difference between smooth and hard, success and same old, same old. When you see yourself as a task-slaying warrior you are building a new relationship with yourself. It feels good, really good. You will want more of this feeling. This is critical for making change. It’s from the inside!
The potential pitfalls of doing a worst last mentality?
- Feeding the monster. Rather than freeing your mind of the “looming specter” you instead are being weighed down and “occupied” by the disagreeable task. The monster is mostly a figment of your imagination. To avoid it gives it power.
Reinforcing a limited story of yourself. As you put off the worst task it becomes progressively harder to tackle. This can lead to procrastination. What’s next is the messy bog of self-condemnation followed by more evasion via TV, food, etc. Now a molehill has turned into the mountain of your past.
How do you begin a worst first mindset? For the next two weeks make it a practice to first identify the one task that makes you a bit squeamish. Give it a time limit if it is something that needs to be broken into multiple days. This will give you a start time and an end time. Summon up your courage and get started on it. Gauge your results and send me an email to report back.
Remember you are cultivating a new mentality along with a new way of being. This is not a one and done venture.Keep practicing. Know you are building a solid foundation for making big change. Oh and one other thing- you’ll find the vegetables were pretty good afterall.
Dec 26, 2011 1