The Mentality of always ‘Putting it off’

When you take a look at the daily habits you encounter on a consistent basis, do they invite you to a lifestyle of ‘getting it done as soon as possible’ or ‘putting it off as long as possible’?  One or the other can usually be seen as the typical way your thinking occurs in a majority of the decisions you make everyday, leading one to be the overall mentality by which you live.   

Both ways of thinking can be seen in habits ranging from how you pay bills to goal-setting timelines.  When it comes to paying bills, the convenience of having a due date can very easily trigger a desire to put off making the payment as long as possible.  There is often the belief that more important matters need to be taken care of at the moment; a belief which can quite possibly be true more times than not.  Also, paying bills by a due date is certainly much better than making late payments and paying by the due date doesn’t necessarily lower your credit score.  More important than any of these, however, is recognizing how this habit of putting it off as long as possible can spill over into other areas of your life.  It is the need for a due date, which becomes dependent upon, that can sometimes hinder success.

Whenever you take your clothing to a seamstress to be fitted, one seamstress may ask ‘when do you need it?’  In other words, when is my due date, while another seamstress will simply give you the day your clothing will be ready.  Two different mentalities, likely for various reasons, but which do you think is closer related to putting things off as long as possible?  Which do you think makes more money?

When a college student takes a self-paced course, there’s only one due date, which is at the end of the semester.  Some students will complete the requirements in half the time allowed, despite the end-of-semester due date.  Some will use the full semester, putting off some of the work as long as they can.  Although both ways can lead to the best grade possible, it is more important to recognize the lifestyle or mentality that develops or has already been established within each strategy.

Due dates are not at all the enemy here.  In fact, they give you the opportunity to work with your finances, balance your responsibilities and they help you create order.  They can also open the door to a sense of accomplishment when you meet their expectations.  It is when due dates are given by others, rather than yourself, that they tend to control other areas of your life, including the way you think, the habits you develop, and even the level of success you achieve.  The habit of working towards someone else’s expectations or someone else’s due date, will keep you spending more time thinking about and working towards their success.

Although most of your responsibilities will come with a due date of some sort, a more driven mentality is practiced by the one who sets their own due date within the date already set.  Instead of expending all the time you’re given, a more driven mentality gravitates towards getting things done as soon as possible as opposed to putting things off as long as you can.  Creating such habits as paying bills as soon as they arrive, setting your own due date standards as a seamstress, and completing self-paced college courses sooner than required, will find you more prepared when grand opportunities present themselves.  Such habits will give you the control over your life rather than your life being controlled by every due date that comes your way.  Instead of planning towards when the due date is, decide instead, how soon you can get it done.  The ‘get it done as soon as possible’ lifestyle brings on a sense of control that allows you to determine what you are capable of achieving.  The ‘put it off as long as I can’ mentality allows others to place limits on what you can handle.  The more you control your own due dates, the more mentally prepared you are for your next challenge and the more excited you will be about your next achievement.

The ‘putting it off’ mentality can take away so much valuable time, especially when you put things off just because you can.  It forces you to live by last-minute standards and can often cause you to miss valuable opportunities.  Over time, living by the ‘putting it off’ mentality too often becomes a way of thinking that will determine your journey, your level of success, and your contributions to the life given to you.  I challenge you today, to examine at least one area of your day-to-day living where you can improve upon the timing you either complete a particular task or pay what is owed.  Incorporate your own due date within the one already established for you.  Each time you exceed what is expected, it will strengthen your desire to exceed expectations in other areas of your life as well.  Before you know it, you will begin to build on the mentality of getting things done as soon as possible, rather than putting things off as long as you can.  Such progress in your life will be the key to the preparation needed to reach more goals, especially in a more profitable manner and it will give you the confidence needed to accomplish anything you set your mind to achieving.  Take a chance.  Set your own due dates and take control so you can experience all that life has in store for you.

Author Tawana R. Powell

‘The Biggest Devil Is Me’….Whitney Houston

If we’re honest enough, these are five words we can all attest too. But just because we say it, recognize it and even acknowledge it, doesn’t mean we’ve taken control.

The death of any individual is never meant to be an opportunity to scrutinize and state all the should’ve, would’ve, and could’ves about that individual’s life, but is instead an opportunity to explore all the lessons we can take from that life and implement into our own. So instead of only wishing things could’ve been different for Whitney, let’s see what we can learn from her life for our own good.

Once an individual can recognize that ‘the biggest devil is me’, they now have the opportunity to change so many things within their own life. To recognize such a claim can mean so many things. It means you now understand that any decision you make is yours alone no matter how many people it might affect. It means you understand that you have the prerogative to make those decisions, even if it’s a last minute decision. Some of the most impacting decisions we make are the ones we make at the last minute. It means that you have just released any and everybody from being the responsible party for all your mistakes and all your failures. Most importantly, it means you recognize the God-given power you have and the free will to do as you please.

Having all of these epiphanies might sound like you’ve just won the battle, but the truth is to actually act off of what you’ve just learned about yourself is ‘alot easier said, than done’. To act off of such an awareness means alot for not only yourself, but also for those around you. If and when you do act in your own best interest, based on this simple belief, it could mean saying no to alot of things people want you to say yes too. It means you find a way to express what will and will not be for you, hopefully in a way that doesn’t offend anyone, but more importantly in a way that is clear and concise. To act off of this belief also means that you are constantly ‘checking’ yourself consciously in regards to everything you take part of, what you think about yourself, and how you present yourself. The most important action you learn to take is to stop blaming anyone else for the state you’re in.

But knowing ‘the biggest devil is me’ doesn’t mean a whole lot if you don’t act upon this belief. It sounds good and may be perhaps your greatest epiphany but at the same time, your greatest demise could be to know and not act accordingly. The hardest part about living by such a notion could mean that it will force you to establish a relationship with yourself that many cannot handle because it entails accepting alot of blame, possibly chastising yourself for making bad choices, and even having the courage to make last minute decisions. It’s a constant battle of doing what others want and doing what’s best. The truth is it’s a claim that many already know about themselves, choose to live with, but never really own it.

So whether you choose to recognize yourself as your biggest devil, your biggest stronghold, or your biggest roadblock, it is most important to recognize that you are yours and only you can do something about it. If you’ve ever wondered why you’re never really pleased with who you are and may have even experienced some level of self-hate, perhaps not recognizing that ’the biggest devil is me’ is the root of such confusion. It takes guts to own such a claim but to do so can also mean winning many battles within. Whitney knew that about herself but is that where it ended for her? Just knowing? The biggest lesson we can learn from her life is we can do more than just know it, we can ACT ACCORDINGLY.

Tawana R. Powell

Are we really in an uproar about Beyonce’s Inaugural performance?

What’s really going on? January 21,2013 was Martin Luther King, Jr holiday, also the day of a 2nd Inauguration for President Barack Obama, where Beyonce sang the national anthem of our country. For me, this day clearly said, ‘You can be anything you want to be”. For many others, there became an uproar and criticism about Beyonce lip-syncing her rendition of the national anthem. Really?

It’s very interesting that recent news articles have verified that lip syncing at major events is not a new thing. Articles even list other celebrities who have done the same. Are we now going after the others? No, we’re not. It’s something about Beyonce, and only Beyonce, that causes an uproar when something like this occurs. Why is that? I guess people really do hate to see you at the top. But what are we so afraid of?

What I’ve learned is, even when we choose to compare ourselves to celebrities, the more genuinely happy we are with ourselves, the less need we have to quickly criticize others. The less we have a need to see others fail, make mistakes, or show that they are not perfect. True, it’s very easy to comment about celebrities, criticize them, and laugh when they goof because after all that comes with the celebrity territory which makes it ok, right? Wrong. When you find yourself feeling relieved and even satisfied, or secretly excited, because somebody has shown their imperfection or because they made a mistake, our response has nothing to do with the individual but has so much to do with us. Whether or not you realize the importance of that revelation is perhaps another article, another day, and unfortunately for some, another lifetime. But let’s try anyway, to recognize the importance today.

I’ve also learned that the ability to have a genuine happiness for another individual is much more liberating than the feelings of envy, jealousy, and hatred. Not only are these feelings three of the worst to ever experience, but they lead to so many devastating consequences from violence and death to mental and physical ailments. If you never become wise enough to recognize the connection, shame on you.

When we underestimate the power that our tiny little criticism has about someone, we devalue our own power and keep ourselves at the bottom of the barrel. Yes, have your opinions if you must, but out of respect for yourself, be truthful with yourself about the root from which those opinions come. You will very likely never meet Beyonce or anybody you easily criticize and they will never know about your crab mentality, but even if one of those things actually did transpire, still worse than that is the truth of your choice to live such an unproductive life. I know. I know….But everybody does it? It’s the best part of social networking? No…its an unspeakable waste of the most delicate existence of this world….life. Perhaps we should get a real one and be the Beyonce at what we do, because truthfully, if you can stand to admit to yourself, Beyonce is one of the best at what she does. And even if you don’t think so, it’s still okay to simply be happy for her and others anyway. Keeping negative comments to yourself and simply being happy for others in their success…it’s not as painful as you think. In fact, it’s the one healer of the many ailments of this world.

How long can you go without a negative comment of someone else and instead use that energy to address who you see in the mirror? Now THAT’s where the pain comes in. Something to think about.


Better Learn to Say ‘No’

Anybody who is successful in life can tell you that it comes with a price. It would be nice if we could in fact have it all, be all to everyone, and engage or participate whenever we simply felt like it. The truth is, however, that if we’re ever to see a true sense of progress in our lives, there will be many times that the word ‘no’ will make a world of difference.

When you finally get that one priority in the right place, it becomes clear what you must do to stay on the right path. You realize that decisions you make will not only pertain to progressing in your purpose, but just as important, will also include the ability to say ‘no’. It is never possible to detect all that will come your way as you go through life’s journey, and life is sure to present some things and people who are impossible to ignore. But when determination is at its peak, the ability to say ‘no’ can and will make the difference between those who progress and those who don’t.

And exactly what is it we must learn to say no to? It is the times when you want to spend money you don’t really have. It is the times when you want to indulge in relationships that demean your own self-respect and respect for others. It is the times you choose to please others and appease their desires rather than stand firm on the better decision. Not only do these pits distract you and become a priority but they also become the bread and butter of what you are soon to reap. There may also be friends and/or family who will always be available to matter-of-factly inform you that you need a man/woman, you need to take a trip, you need to hang out and socialize, you need to make time for yourself. Do yourself a favor and not only listen to them, but more importantly, look at their lifestyle. Pay attention to the connection between their own decisions and the outcome of those decisions. Sometimes it’s almost laughable but mostly, your instinct to take notice will actually present the moment where your response hinges on either your ability to stay focused or will hinge on your weakness and inability to say ‘no’.

Lacking the ability to say ‘no’ on a constant basis will always keep you from progressing and succeeding. A weakness not to be ignored, there’s no way around the fact that it must be addressed. The need to please or impress, the need to fit and be a part of, the impulsive need to belong, the need to be better than others, and the fear of missing out, are all defects in and hindrances to a productive way of thinking. Also, it is in your immediate circles where a lot of your weaknesses will unfold, especially with friends. If you are not wise enough to realize that your journey is most likely not to resemble that of a friend’s journey, you will continue to fall into the trap of always doing things alike or even together, failing to recognize and appreciate individuality and the gifts there of.

Those who succeed can show you a list of all the things and people they’ve had to say ‘no’ to. Those who continue to struggle don’t say ‘no’ to much. It all falls under the expectation of self-discipline and there’s no such place known as strength in your life where self-discipline doesn’t dwell. Your ability to say ‘no’ at the right time, to the right people will always determine the make-up of your priority list. Your priorities almost never hear ‘no’ because priorities are that and who you cater to the most. If you have a hard time understanding why you can never say ‘no’ to something or someone, the reason is simply because there lies your priority. If you don’t like the priority, change it. Rearrange if you must, but such will never really happen if you never find strength and wisdom to simply say ‘no’. Friends don’t need to understand. You need to understand what your priorities are, friends just simply need to know. Be determined to stay on your path and be honest enough with yourself to know when to say ‘no’. Your ability to do so will make the difference.



Do You Learn the Lesson or Manipulate the Lesson?

It is always refreshing when life is in flow with the greatest life lessons. When there’s no need to make excuses because you are indeed doing what’s right, you praise the lesson and allow it to shine in your life. But when the lesson is in conflict with what you choose to do or how you choose to live, your instinct may be, instead of learning the lesson, to manipulate the lesson, so that you find comfort in your decisions.

Over the course of even the last few years, we have gravitated more and more towards some of the greatest life lessons in order to find peace, make peace, and honor our truth. We’ve learned that the goal is to be satisfied with the way we choose to live. Most importantly, we’ve worked towards the bottom line of peace or the appearance of peace in our own hearts. Some of those lessons we now choose to live by are ‘to only focus on the positive’, ‘to wait on God’, ‘to know that it’s our season’, and the greatest one of all, ‘to do what makes us happy, do you’.

To only focus on the positive seems like the perfect world to live in and we should try to do just that. But in order to focus on one thing, you must at least be aware of the opposite of that which you choose to focus on. And to be aware means you cannot completely disregard the opposite. Yes, focus on the positive, but not in a way that causes you to believe the negative doesn’t exist. Be aware of the negative so that it doesn’t sneak up and blind side you. Become keenly familiar with both so that you can know the importance of where your focus should lie.

It also seems that we have mastered the task of ‘waiting on God’ and there’s nothing better we want to hear than it’s our season! Waiting on God is a very wise thing to do but we must understand that this is the one time where waiting is an action verb. Unfortunately, more times than not, waiting has actually become the perfect excuse to use when we know our part has not been done, and yet we still believe it’s our season. It is better to understand that this act of waiting is found in the midst of the work, right in the midst of taking step after step, while working without becoming weary, and listening to hear from God that you’ve reached the right one, the right time, and most important, His expectations. But never should this form of waiting mean to sit by and do nothing, while having the audacity to believe ‘it’s your season’.

And the one that top’s them all, do you and do what makes you happy. Sure, that is what we all should do. But before you do, know that the challenge is not in doing just that, but it is in having clarity about that which does make you happy. Know why such fulfillment encompasses your soul if indeed it does. Does it align with what God wants for you? Sometimes we can confuse true happiness with the determination to prove happiness and such determination can become the mere reason with exist. Happiness is more beneficial when you incorporate respect for others while deciding to do what makes you happy, not just simply doing what makes you happy with total disregard for doing right by others. As part of the human race, it is much more beneficial to all when we are determined to respect one another, even those we don’t know, when deciding to ‘do me’. To live a life knowing it is never only about ‘me’ offers a much greater chance to learn the lesson and make better decisions instead of manipulating the lesson to find comfort in what we do.

Living a life of conviction without fear rather than a life of comfort without conviction makes it possible to learn rather than manipulate life’s lessons. It leads to a much greater and rewarding life. Always take the time to question, ‘What do I need to do better?’ and you’ll find that there’s even pleasure in learning more so than manipulating.



Getting Stuck In The Meantime of Life

There’s meantime and then there’s purpose.

The majority of activities that take place in our lives are likely to unfold in the ‘meantime’ moments of life. When you set goals, you’ll find there are days and periods when you have time to relax, do something fun, or even sleep. These are meantime moments. Even the 9 to 5 job you go to everyday, although it may have been the same one for years, could be the meantime of your life. Meantime moments are meant to be temporary, some to be endured longer than others, but it is always important to recognize what is ‘meantime’ in your life and what is purpose.

For many, it is a good thing to live a life with an expected routine that includes family, children, and a steady job. A daily routine has kept many of us in control of time management, chores, daily goals, and has even helped some refrain from making bad decisions. But even for the one who has perfected the daily routine, it is important to not get stuck in doing just that. There is always something more for us all to strive for, something that serves the purpose of helping others and making a difference for the better. Yes, your meantime moments will include opportunities to be a blessing to others, whether it be through a kind word, finances, or favors. But these moments are only stepping stones to the greater purpose of your life. Don’t get stuck in believing that this is as far as it goes.

The danger of meantime moments in our lives is the comfort zone therein. It’s always easy to settle in a routine, especially when everything is flowing with ease, no problems, loved ones in good health, and bills are being paid. Thank God for times like these but notice, these blessings are only about ‘us’ so even still, there is a higher calling on your life than just living with all being well with you and yours. Also, in meantime moments, there can be boredom, idleness, and unhealthy thinking, especially in the routine of life. And when we have these experiences but not careful with them, meantime moments can become what we are and who we are, driving everything we do.

So, although we have no choice in having meantime moments, it’s important to make the best of them. It’s important to make the best of the routine in our lives so we don’t get lost and forget to keep striving. It is not meant for any of us to simply live ‘meantime’ lives. But the only way to stay in control of the monotony of living is to set goals, discover purpose, and reach. Yes, CIAA is upon us and for most, this is a meantime moment to have fun. So lets do that. Let’s be safe and enjoy the moment. But when it’s over, let’s get back to the business of purpose.

Tawana R. Powell

Growth Sometimes Calls for Drastic Changes

It all depends on how determined you are to experience growth and see change take place in your life. It all depends on your ability to reevaluate every part of your life and compare the differences between time periods. Taking the initiative to reevaluate every area of your life will sometimes demand making drastic changes when growth has come to a halt.

Sometimes it takes a moment to even realize you’ve gotten off course with your desire to grow, but once you realize the depth of distraction that has taken place, a change must be made. Sometimes the change may be small, sometimes drastic. Your determination to grow will determine which needs to take place. The challenge with one’s desire to grow will always be confronted with the question, ‘how bad do you want it?’. You will constantly have confrontation with the distractions of people and things that take your mind too far away from your safety net too long.

When the time comes to make a change, what might seem drastic to someone else may not seem drastic to you. No matter what level of change needs to take place, you get the most benefit from changes when you apply less time explaining to others the changes you need to make. Your ability to grow will need little to no opinions from others on the changes that need to take place. Only you know best what and who distracts you. Only you know best what changes need to be made. When making changes, the most concern should be directed towards what will be lost and what will be gained. Your goal is to get refocused. Decide what changes need to be made that can get you there.

It is mostly when you’ve allowed yourself to get too far away from a place of focus that you are likely to have a need for the more drastic changes. When it’s been too long since you’ve seen the gym, you may need to completely revamp your weekly schedule. When you’ve spent an excessive amount of time on the couch or across the bed, you may need to make a conscious decision everyday to stay away from both, at least during the day. When you’ve been too preoccupied with the overload of information via social scenes or social networking, you may need to get away or close it down, at least temporarily.

These changes may seem extremely drastic to some, but in order to experience any real growth in your life, the person in the mirror deserves your direct attention to the things that occupy your mind. You cannot allow the mind to stray too far too long because your journey doesn’t typically include directions for those unexpected places that your mind decides to visit. Get a grip every moment you can. Make the necessary changes, even drastic ones. The sooner the better. Although these moments may come around often, there’s not a more profound moment in your journey than the ones that help you realize it’s time to refocus. For it is at the peak of these moments that you will decide to either throw in the towel or make some changes, even drastic changes. Know when to say when.



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