Let me just start by saying that completion is a key component of life. And, if you want to have lots of energy and be a free spirit who:
- Embraces life as a grand adventure;
- Slays internal and external dragons on a daily basis:
- Finishes what you ́ve started;
- Acknowledges and rewards yourself and others for accomplishments, and;
- Still gets home by six, in time for dinner.
Then, you need to understand that incompletions can and will:
- Erode your self-esteem;
- Lessen your ability to finish what you start;
- Increase your need for rationalization (or what I call “rational-lies”);
- Fuel procrastination, and;
- Promote fear.
As if that weren't enough, they also waste gigawatts of energy that could be put to much better use helping you reach the amazing levels of fulfillment you both desire and deserve.
The Villain You Can´t See
There´s a villain lurking...and it's not your usual villain either.
The most horrifying thing about this villain is that you can’t see it, and yet, it has the power to ruin you and your life over time.
The villain I am talking about is incompletion - as in incomplete tasks or unfinished work.
Incompletes (or a lack of completion) are all around us and they have a simple yet effective power.
Incompletes focus on draining our energy and leaving us feeling both worthless and spent.
Not even children are exempt.
The Toll a Lack of Completion Takes
Everything you’ve undertaken that, over time, remains unfinished, undone or unresolved, drains your energy while feeding the power of the incompletes in your life. As you continue to avoid doing things over a long period of time, the long-term effects of those incompletes begin to show themselves.
Long-time or multiple unresolved tasks drain you of energy, leaving you tired, ineffective and indecisive. Those unfinished tasks weigh heavy on your mind and you find yourself in a constant battle of wills between your good intentions and your incompletes. And, before you know it. the incompletes have won.
Maybe those things you ́ve started are mundane; such as sorting, organizing and eliminating the things you no longer need. Others may be more substantive, such as not having completed college. While others still may be more profound, such as the failure of a marriage.
The Problem With Seemingly Logical Reasoning
At the time, any of these may have seemed like a sound choice. You rationalize your decision by telling yourself:
- You'll do it tomorrow;
- You weren't up to the task;
- The project was too ambitious;
- The relationship didn't make you happy anyway
...or some other seemingly logical reason.
But, here's the hard truth: When you add up the final results of not completing all those things in your life, what do you get?
That's right. Nothing.
Because when you add nothing to nothing, that's the end result: absolutely nothing.
Why Completion Matters
The highest, most profound, challenging, and meaningful levels of understanding and achievement don't come to you without you doing something to obtain them. There are no alternatives to this fact of life.
Many live in a world in which they feel a lack of deeper achievement and understanding and have deceived themselves into believing such things aren't important.
That is just an illusion.
Completing something we have set out to do is extremely enjoyable and satisfying. Our confidence is rooted in it!
Practicing what we learn is the first step toward taking our newly gained knowledge to the next level. When you complete the homework for a given class it helps you move forward in completing that class. When you complete the class, you are given a grade and that grade helps you graduate to the next level of classes.
With each step we take and each task we complete, we accumulate successes in our lives.
Here's another example:
What if you set an exercise objective to run a marathon? Most of us can't just start running 26.2 miles if we ́ve never run a mile! You have to start somewhere. You must set a goal, work to achieve it and then set another.
Change stems from conviction and the certainty that we can accomplish something. Achievement starts with a belief in the end result.
Stacking victories is a way of allowing certainty to grow. It helps us build confidence and enhances the probability that we will improve our situation with each new attempt.
Fulfillment is the fruit of development and development does not come without effort.
It's Not Always Easy
Seeing things through to the end isn't always easy, I know. There are obstacles, hurdles and, quite often, a considerable number of balls that need juggling as we move towards the completion of our goals.
When we were younger, the things we stressed over were fewer and far less pressing.
As we got older, we stressed over school and graduation. Our responsibilities grew. So did our struggles.
Life wasn't getting easier.
The Negative Effect of Incompletion On Our Self-Esteem
If, in school, you didn't complete your homework and everyone else did, you felt bad because you were left standing there alone with your “incompletes” for everyone to see. A lack of completion has a terrible effect in the moment because of its power to make you feel worthless.
You don't finish the project given to you at work and wind up feeling ineffective.
You are stuck in the same unsatisfying position, year after year, which leaves you feeling unhappy and unsuccessful.
Your office keeps sinking deeper and deeper into disarray because you can never find time to put things back in order, leading to feelings of frustration and overwhelm.
In every aspect of your life, things you should have completed that you haven't, negatively affect your self-esteem, at some point.
A Lack of Completion & Procrastination
Everything incomplete, undone or unresolved in your professional or personal life drains your energy. As long as things are left unfinished, they will continue to pull you down, hold you back and sabotage your progress.
Put simply...procrastination is toxic.
The mental energy and time we waste in the process are two things we can never get back.
Incompletion & Fear
When your life is plagued by procrastination or avoidance, it is only a matter of time before fear rears its ugly head.
The longer you put off doing something, the more your thoughts begin to work against you. You worry about your teacher, boss or partner not liking what you ́ve set out to do. And, as a result, you become afraid of what could happen if you actually followed through.
That fear of criticism holds you back and keeps you from experiencing any kind of praise for the work you ́ve done. Feedback isn't always positive, it's true. But it is there to help you learn and grow.
Putting something off or not doing it at all because you are afraid of what others may think only hurts you and no one else. Embrace experiences and allow yourself to feel the resulting emotions, both good and bad. That's what life's about, after all.
Incompletion & Wasted Energy
Incompletes have a way of continually running through our minds, refusing to leave us alone.
It doesn't matter what we are up to - at a party, watching TV, trying to concentrate on a project at work - incomplete jobs or tasks nag at us until they get finished.
The more you struggle with completion in your life, the more persistent that struggle will become - popping into your subconscious, continuously reminding you that it´s there and needs to be dealt with. This takes an incredible amount of energy out of you.
The bad news is that if you continue down this path, chances are failure will become a constant companion.
How many times have you not taken advantage of opportunities with the power to improve your life? How many times have you felt like kicking yourself as a result?
Incompletion & Pressure To Perform
Most chances or opportunities only knock once, as the saying goes. They rarely pass our way a second time.
As we procrastinate, avoid and succumb to fear, negativity and stress build over time. Stress can cause fatigue, insomnia, a weakened immune system and stomach problems.
At work, we are under constant pressure to perform. Each missed deadline intensifies the pressure. The resulting stress can transform even a "dream job" into a nightmare. Failure can lead to a weak reference which can make it even harder to find and keep a good job.
At home, we may avoid doing the simplest of tasks, such as mowing the lawn or washing the windows. Not doing what we've said we'd do can lead to nagging and increased tension in our relationships. At some point, our partner may come to feel that if we are unreliable with the little things, then we cannot be counted on for the bigger things. Over time, this can be detrimental to even the most loving relationships.
Incompletion & Avoidance
Putting things off may seem like winning because you perceive it as avoiding pain. The long-term consequences can be far more painful however.
At some point, incompletion can lead to underachievement. It can lead to missing your monthly targets at work or neglecting important deadlines.
What consequences will this ultimately have on your career?
Could you be passed up for promotion? Or, worse, run the risk of losing your job?
While you may be able to sweep your incompletes under the proverbial carpet for a time, this is rarely effective as a long-term strategy for success.
In addition to damaging your reputation, you are damaging your self-esteem and self-confidence.
The more often you avoid things, the easier it is to continue avoiding even more things simply because you are no longer surprised by your actions. Others stop depending on you and are also less likely to send opportunities your way because they worry that you will not follow through and they will be left to clean up the mess.
After all of that though, I do have good news!
There IS a Solution
You can take steps to change this kind of negative behavior and turn your life around.
Learning to complete things - learning is a skill and skills can be learned! - will lead others to start depending on and believing in you.
More importantly, though, your own sense of fulfillment and self-esteem will grow.
Like with every new skill we learn, this one takes time and effort.
Let me show you how to get started:
The 5 Keys To Completion
- Remind yourself on a regular basis why you need to complete the work. Tell yourself there is more work to be done; doing the task at hand will keep you from feeling frustrated and overwhelmed, in the long-run.
- As we've discussed, incomplete tasks negatively affect your mind and sap your energy. Understand that the completion of the task at hand will bring peace to your mind and allow you to truly enjoy the fruits of your labor and everything that follows.
- Remind yourself of just how unworthy your incompletes have made you feel in the past. Focus on the freeing effects of doing what needs to be done. Completion bolsters your feelings of self-worth and self-esteem.
- Find ways you can divide the work into chunks that are achievable within the time slots you have available. Complete the most important tasks first, if you can. They will give you the greatest sense of accomplishment.
- Finally, keep your end goal in mind. What is it you are ultimately trying to achieve? Visualize this in all its glory and keep that picture in your mind ́s eye at all times!
Remember what your situation was before and how you want to change and make it better. Do this not just for yourself but for those you love as well. Because, when you are suffering, they are suffering, too.
Figure Out Where Change Needs To Happen
Before you get started with the suggestions above, I've put together this little Conquering Incompletes Quiz to help you see where your level of incompletion stands. Your answers will help shed light on those areas in your life where change may be necessary.
Click the button below to take it now: