A Law Abiding Citizen - Part 3: Manson's Law of Avoidance

Part 1: Parkinson’s Law - COMPLETE

Part 2: Murphy’s Law - COMPLETE

Part 3: Manson's Law of Avoidance

Part 3: Manson's Law of Avoidance

Manson’s Law of Avoidance is conceived by the excellent American author, blogger and entrepreneur, Mark Manson.

Mark’s book ‘The subtle art of not giving a F*ck’ is a classic, and something I have referred to at least twice in my blogs since inception, having read the book twice in 2018.

Manson’s Law of Avoidance is coined as being “the more something threatens your identity, the more you will avoid doing it.” He talks about this specifically in relation to something we’re all (in my experience) superb at; procrastination.

I used to be an enthusiastic procrastinator. I excelled at it. I was a professional.

But then I thought to myself, “Well if that is true, how could I have possibly ever achieved anything?”.

A serial procrastinator would not be able to run a business, meet with clients far and wide, produce content, lead a team, inspire and achieve things each day. Nor could a procrastinator have put himself into the position where he was able lose as much as I have, screw things up like I have, made such bad choices, annoy my fiancé and generally be such a wally. You have to make decisions in order to be this annoying, right?

So what is it, then, that I procrastinate about? Yes, of course, it’s the hard stuff. It’s the stuff I don’t want to do or think about, the stuff that challenges me. It’s the things that are going to put me outside of my comfort zone, or make me or others think, “is that really me?”.

Someone asked me recently what is the single biggest thing holding me back. After turning that question over and over in my mind, blaming everything and everyone else, I finally surmised that the only thing holding the business (and everything else in my life) back is me. It’s my own fears, insecurities and self-doubts. Each time something is hard, extraordinary or particularly challenging, I tell myself that it really is threatening my identity and consequently it takes me forever to get round to doing it. So then I suffer for months before finally pushing through and taking that leap, and then inevitably look back wondering what all the fuss was about.

So what is it that you think is threatening your identity, and is preventing you from making the right choices/changes, and from taking the right steps in order to achieve what you really, really want?

For me, the most important thing was forcing myself to understand if the perceived threat was real, or whether I was just telling myself that it was. Recently that has been the key to enabling me to move forwards in various different ways. More importantly, it has changed me from being a professional procrastinator to more of a retired semi-pro.


Alfie Mullan, July 2019

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