"Grit Your Teeth" is a technique I devised to relentlessly overcome laziness and any other obstacle you have in the face of your goals. It's the only thing that's helped me stop being lazy.
I've accomplished a few nice things in my life. I've been working as a freelancer and now starting to build up a small agency online, a goal that I've had since a few years ago. I've worked for some pretty nice clients and I've also had content featured in Medium as a programming blogger.
Now, all these things are pretty recent news. I used to be as lazy as they come, playing video games, partying, and everything that's about useless. As a result, I've been reading countless books on beating procrastination and the failure loop that comes with them.
After reading a bunch of those books and articles you see around the Internet, I came to realize that most advice out there is generic and simply anti-productive (ironically).
Disclaimer: This advice comes from my own opinion. I may make jokes about the advice of other authors, but some of them are bestsellers for a reason: it must have worked pretty well for other people, just not the ones I know (and myself).
"I'll just watch one more episode."
So you've decided to watch an entire season of Game of Thrones in one day. No worries, you can just wash off your guilt by "thinking" about studying or working the next day. You won't actually do it, but you'll think damn well about doing it! Maybe you'll even open a book but also Instagram on the side. You're a-ok now.
... Stress piles up as you've wasted a week away.
After you've had enough, you think, "This is it! It's time to change myself!"
Thanks to the pressure you're shouldering at this moment, you might actually power through. Well, that is until you become relaxed. After that is another season to watch.
This stress is where the idea of Grit Your Teeth comes from.
Now, this guide is not for the ones who are still thinking about whether they should stop procrastinating. This guide is for the ones who know that lazying around is just a sorry excuse to escape reality (just like I realized), and it's preventing you from growing, either personally or professionally.
Why other "solutions" fail to help you
Before we get to the real solution, let's take a look at some of the techniques you may see in books and other guides, and why they aren't sufficient.
You may have heard of:
- Miracle mornings (AKA you become a super-hero in the morning, but retarded at night for some reason)
- The 5 second-rule (AKA count to 5 and you suddenly have the willpower of a god?)
- The power of habits (AKA copy the habits of other successful guys and you win)
- Eat that frog! (AKA eat that frog)
One of the biggest issues with these tips is that it gives you a very static way of doing things: "wake up early!", "do a sun salutation to get your day going!", "make your bed!", "do the rain dance, spin 3 times, then press up, up, down, left, right", etc.
Some days you won't be able to sleep earlier, and other days you may have an urgency which prevents you from doing your bed. So do you lose grace from the anti-laziness gods these times?
This is something that made me fail time and time again in my anti-procrastination quest. What I needed wasn't something to test my willpower, I needed a philosophy, a mantra which I can rely on every second of my life.
Not only that, but these also portray a mindset that avoids tackling the issues head-on: while you're doing your salutation to the sun, trying to sleep early, or whatever it is, you're still not doing what you're supposed to do.
Enter Grit Your Teeth
I'm sure you have that parent, friend, or even colleague who has an amazing routine. They seem to do whatever they need with tremendous ease.
Well, the advice you read from other anti-procrastination books and articles comes from analyzing the habits of these people. That kind of makes sense, right?
Well, what they fail to understand is that it's not the habits or the routines that make these people successful. Those are merely effects of an underlying mentality.
These people know that they only have one life, and they definitely won't waste it away doing useless crap. Waking up early or having a very carefully planned day doesn't matter, as long as they're reaching their goals.
Do you understand now? Let me talk a bit more about this mindset.
If you're an alcoholic, one of the first steps to stop being one is to assume there's a problem.
Laziness/procrastination is the same: it's 100% a problem that requires urgent fixing. It's a poison that eats your life away, and you don't even see it coming.
"What's wrong with wasting my life playing games? It's not like I'll win a trophy when I die, right?" - you reflect
Well, it's all about the quality of life. You want to be healthy so you feel happier, you want to have more money so you can have more freedom, and you want good social/romantic moments to give your life meaning.
After 1 year of laziness, you'll look back and think, "damn, I could've done XYZ." Yes, you could've started your own side gigs online, which gives you another source of income. You could've exercised a bit more, which makes you more appealing and healthier.
Don't you see it!? It's the lack of urgency that makes you so lazy. You need to snap out of it. No, you're not "still young". You're old. Too old in fact. What have you done in this lifetime? Don't waste another moment.
Later on, you might be able to fool others saying that you won't regret anything, but you won't fool yourself. You'll know it all too well.
This mindset is everything in this technique. You need to be afraid of the consequences of lazying around. You need to understand that you'll definitely regret not doing what you had to do today. This fear is your mantra, live by it.
A note on stress
If you believe you're going to be stressed out with all this urgency I just instilled upon you, I assure you that you won't.
Actually, you'll feel the most relaxed you've ever been. At the end of each day, you'll be able to sleep like a baby, after realizing how much you've accomplished.
Following the mindset, the technique is simple: if you need to work, then you grit your teeth and do it.
"So all you need to do, is to do it, that's it!?" - you ask perplexed
I know it was a bit anti-climactic, but that's the beauty of this "technique". It's so simple that anyone understands it.
You can do it at any time, and if you failed to be more proactive at any point, don't worry, you can do it now! Just avoid wasting any more time.
Gritting the teeth actually has significance. It shows that you need to tackle the next decision with all the seriousness that you can, whether it's cleaning your room, studying, or finishing a project. It means that you need to be harsh with yourself and think, "no, it's not just one more episode, it's 1 hour that I won't get back".
Also, with all things in life, grit your teeth requires training. It requires you to become more self-aware and understanding when you're dozing off on your task. You will fail, a lot. At one point you're managing to study, the other you opened Instagram out of habit.
When this happens, grit your teeth, think that you're wasting time, and continue your task.
Don't worry, it gets much easier with time.
"But I don't have any goal"
Well, you have a really well-defined goal then, don't you? More than most, actually. Your goal is to find a goal. Don't underestimate this.
It's not by traveling or by going on a spiritual journey that you'll find your answers by the way. It's through structured brainstorming (a lot of brainstorming), a lot of introspection, and an inspection of your natural talents.
This requires a lot of focus, contrary to what you may think. It's a boring, tedious, and time-consuming task.
So if you think that, since you don't have a goal, you can simply go on and play video-games or watch TV, forget it. You'll be wasting your time.
Grit Your Teeth does everything you see in other books and articles
Now, with all I've said, it doesn't mean that waking up earlier, planning your days, and having your rituals is utterly useless. On the contrary, they are absolutely necessary!
What I believe is wrong is when these are meant to serve as motivation.
Once you tackle the laziness issue (e.g. with Grit Your Teeth), these "techniques" will naturally come to you.
Sleeping earlier, planning your day, and having other good habits will show up as you focus on your goals. Not the other way around.
What about resting!?
Humans are lazy. Well, not just humans, but everything in life. We always try to spend the least energy possible.
With that said, don't worry, your body will tell you when you need to rest. And no, it's not when you say, "I'll just watch a movie now". It's when you become tired enough to be staring at a page from a book for 30 mins. It's when your muscles give out when you're exercising.
"Wait, in the beginning, you said that you wasted time playing and whatnot, but didn't you have fun?"
Well, definitely. But I started enjoying life much more once I started tackling goals head-on and stopped being lazy, while seeing the fruits of my improvements at the end of each day. That gives me a clear conscience, instead of the usual guilty feeling before I sleep.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you in some way. If it did, share it with some of your friends so you can grow together. I pray for your success and most importantly, happiness in this journey we call life.