Procrastination, a robber of opportunities

Procrastination is the act of putting off something until a future time. It is deferring, postponing or delaying action needlessly. It is one of the terrible vices of human beings because of which many vows, promises and resolutions are never fulfilled. Because of this vice, procrastinators often pay a high price.

Procrastination is a great robber; it robs people of the following important things:

Firstly, procrastination robs people of the opportunity of making decisions at important junctures in their lives. Sometimes an opportunity is wasted, not because we don’t know what to do, not because we fail to do it, but because we don’t do it soon enough.

We can weigh our options for only so long. There comes a time when we have to make a decision, because failure to decide might be the worst decision of all.

How much time do we waste on indecision? Of course, I don’t mean time spent on considering, deliberating or fact-finding. That’s all good, valuable time. After we have considered, deliberated and looked at the facts, do we know how much time we waste playing the old on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand game?

For Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the question “to be or not to be” was a life-or-death issue. For us, it may be less serious, but nonetheless an important one. To move or not to move, to change jobs or not change jobs, to marry or not marry, to buy or not buy.

Making a decision can be much more stressful than implementing it. But procrastination can rob people of the opportunity of making that important decision.

Secondly, procrastination robs people of the opportunity to be successful. Procrastinators hardly succeed in their endeavors, because they always postpone and delay their actions. It seems that in all realms of human endeavor, procrastination comes out a winner every time.

Procrastination can outtalk any student when it comes to homework. It can outthink any executive when it comes to correspondence. It can outwork any homemaker when it comes to doing her home duties. It can outsmart any salesperson when it comes to selling.

Any businessman or salesman will tell us that the art of succeeding is knowing what to do, when to do it, and doing it in a timely way.

Dale Carnegie once said, “One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon, instead of enjoying those roses that are blooming outside our windows today.” 

Some people think and talk about tomorrow; meanwhile, they forget to live today. Someone has said, “Remember, yesterday is a canceled check, and tomorrow is a promissory note. The only cash you have is today. Use it wisely for tomorrow may never come.”

Tomorrow can be a detriment, a dangerous thing, because of its ability to rob dreamers of their dreams. Think of the young man who fell in love. He was pretty sure that the young woman felt the same way. But he just couldn’t find the courage to ask her out. He deferred. He put it off. Instead of approaching her, he decided to mail her a love letter every day for one year. Then he would ask her for a date.

He followed the plan faithfully. Every day for one year, he sent her a letter. Finally, he worked up the courage to call her. And that’s when he discovered that she had married the letter carrier.

Thirdly, procrastination robs people of the defining spiritual moments of life. Just as there are defining moments in people’s lives, there are also religious, existential moments in their lives. Procrastination within the spiritual realm is fatal. Today’s necessities cannot await tomorrow’s deliberation. The Apostle writes, “Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).

There are many people who are victims of procrastination – people who postpone opportunities to make a momentous choice at a decisive juncture in their lives and a life-changing decision to make peace with God. 

Rev. Dr. Vahan Tootikian

Rev. Dr. Vahan Tootikian

Rev. Dr. Vahan H. Tootikian is the Executive Director of the Armenian Evangelical World Council.
Rev. Dr. Vahan Tootikian

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