13 Jan, 2022

#183 The Procrastination Equation


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“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. ” – Tony Robbins 

Intention and attention. Two things that we need to become who we want to be. What’s really interesting is that we always have the right intentions when we want to change something in our lives but a lot of us fail to go beyond the honeymoon stage of that because we don’t commit our attention to what’s important.

Change is difficult because it entails doing something you haven’t done before. In this episode, listen as I talk about Piers Steel’s Procrastination Equation and how you can overcome the habit of procrastinating.


📌 Human beings, by nature, love instant gratification. We easily get distracted and forget what’s important.

📌 What you are doing when no one else is watching is the true testament to your success.

📌 People are not getting what they want because they are not committed to who they want to be. 

The Equations that you need to know:

✅  Procrastination Equation

✅  Happiness Equation


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Pete Cohen is one of the world’s leading life coaches and keynote speakers. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world have been motivated and inspired by Pete’s presentations. He has professionally impacted the lives of thousands of people worldwide, including business executives, professional athletes, and everyday people.  Pete focuses on the importance of closing the gap in our lives between where we are and where we want to be, both personally and professionally.

It’s then all about coaching you to remove the obstacles that are in your way and helping you install the habits of success.

Pete is the author of 19 published books, several of which have been best-sellers across the world, including Shut the Duck Up, Habit Busting, Life DIY, and Sort Your Life Out. He has also presented his own show on TV called The Coach and was the resident Life Coach on GMTV for 12 years. His new book Inspirators – Leading The Way In Leadership is available for free here –


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Pete Cohen 0:00
Happy beautiful day. It's the Mi365 podcast. Today's episode is called the Procrastination Equation. I'll see you after theme tune.

Pete Cohen 0:47
Happy beautiful day, guys and girls is Pete Cohen here to another my 365 podcast recently we did a podcast on procrastination and I was good going to do another one and I thought No, I'll do that one tomorrow. Could you born again another joke? Because procrastination is something I think every single human being does from the age of probably about two years old upwards will procrastinate will put something off. And I just think it's one of the most fascinating conversations that any human being can ever have. Now, we've been in the business of personal development for a very long time. So I started first off, I suppose in 1989 is when I became a personal trainer and that's a job where you're really role is to help people get fit. And you have to help people work out what they want what they need to do in order for them to get the results that they want. But it didn't take me very long to realize that a people didn't know what they wanted. They knew what they didn't want it or they that doesn't make sense. They knew what they didn't want. And they also knew that in the past they were slim and they wanted to recreate the past and that's not possible as far as we know. We haven't created the Time Machine which allows us to go back in time and relive the past no we are right here in the present. And what I realized 30 years ago I started to realize but it became much more clear it's become clearer and clearer and clearer is that you can have the biggest why in the world but the why is overrated and I feel like I want to take on Simon Sinek and say Simon, I don't agree with you. I think he says only half of the story knowing your Y is important. But you know what most people's y's are I'm not talking about companies like Apple and they know what they're wise and nothing's going to stop them from achieving their y. I'm talking about individuals like you and me solopreneurs entrepreneurs, just everyday people that are just trying to get through in life, trying to do the very, very best that you can but the IP is the biggest obstacle that you have is you really don't know who you need to be. We all start with the y but the Y never lasts. The Y is often pain that gets people to do things or prognosis or diagnosis. This is what Napoleon Hill was talking about all those years ago that 98% of people that are just drifting. They only change when things get so bad that they're kind of forced into a position and even then, when some people have a heart attack, there's some amazing studies which had been done showing that a heart attack for some people was just what they needed to get their heart working properly. Whereas others it was just a call for the realization that no and you always knew that was going to happen. Because the thing which separates us from all other human beings is one word. It's just one word. It's just choice. Ultimately for most of us who are privileged enough to live in a in a world right now. Where you probably know where the next meal is coming from. You probably got a roof over your head or separates all of us his choice. And I'm absolutely fascinated by the choices that human beings make. And I'm also convinced after all these years that the reason people don't get what they want, is they're not committed to who they can be. I must have said this every single day for the last couple of years. Gandhi said, Be the change that you want to be in this world. And if you can't be that change, then get out the way and support the person who can now I think about that every day because I am totally committed to who I'm becoming I know who I'm become. I know that person I built a relationship as Matthew maganda. He said in his acceptance speech in 2014. You know, he was asked, you know who's your hero when he was asked that when he was 15 years old? And he said after think about it and he went away. They saw the guy a few days later and he said, who's your hero? And he goes, I thought about it. It's me in 10 years time. And then he saw the guy 10 years later and the guy said, you know, are you are you your hero? Yeah, and Matthew said Not even close.

Pete Cohen 4:43
And it might seem some sort of crazy concept to people but we all have a relationship with our past. How much do we keep recreating our past? How much do we keep thinking the way that we thought? We massively overestimate how lost we are in our past and we massively overestimate How come we've come how far we've come from our past. Think about it. How many clothes do you wear? That you don't wear those clothes anymore? How many ways that you serve your hair if you have the luxury of still having hair that you wouldn't have your hair like there how many places you go on holiday that you used to go on holiday that you wouldn't go on holiday now. You are fundamentally different to the person that you were. Maybe you look back and laugh maybe you're embarrassed by the person that you were, but who are you becoming? Seriously Who are you becoming? Have you made that choice? Because once you decide who you become, and you become truly committed to that person, procrastination isn't so much of an issue in your life anymore. Because it's not your why it's your who your who is your why. And I really want people to understand that procrastination is something every single person does. It's it kind of the whole concept came around. Now a few 1000s of years ago when man realized that actually while we can just sit down not doing a thing. You know, when they realize that their lives when constantly in danger. I mean, the word really became popular in the 16th century, the word procrastination means to put forwards. And I discussed this in a recent podcast but I want to say again, because I just think it's so important. Let me tell you what procrastination actually is. I mean what it is to you might be different, but the meaning of it, what it really means it means to put forward to tomorrow. And there's three elements of procrastination. Let me tell you what those three elements are. The first is you making you are you have an intention to do something you have an intention to do something, whatever that intention is. That intention is then matched with a delay a voluntary delay, you are delaying it voluntarily. No one is forcing you to do it. You're making a voluntary delay. And then the third element is you just know you know, you know, that not doing that was not good for you. Not doing it was not a good thing for you, you know that it was something that your life would have been better for from having done it. Now, I'm not talking about perfectionism here. That's a slightly different conversation. I'm talking about putting something off. I'll do it tomorrow. And if we don't wake up to that, that what are we putting off, then most of us are going to end up having a future that we don't want. Now, some people don't want to hear that. And maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I've got it all wrong, but why so many people's health in such a fundamentally bad place? Why does so many people take prescription medication? Why are so many people depressed? Why are so many people in debt? Seriously, why are so many people in debt? Because they don't think about the consequences. Of getting into debt is people don't have a relationship with their future. In some countries around the world. They do. They kind of aware that today is tomorrow. In Korea, actually that's quite common that you don't get into debt because you can't be in debt because your future shows you that you'll be in trouble. You know, I told many of you know, we were involved with some studies years ago where we put them in people in these fMRI machines and we asked people to think of themselves and we saw a part of the brain light up. Then we asked them to think of a stranger we saw a different part of the brain light up then we ask them to think of themselves in the future. Most people when they thought of themselves in the future, the part of the brain that lit up was the stranger we don't identify ourselves and all of this vision boarding school just nonsense. It doesn't work. This law of attraction is nonsense. It's absolute nonsense. Because people fundamentally miss out on something. I think there's two elements to this. In fact, studies have shown that the law of attraction is it can do more harm than good when you just start to think about what you want to attract. This is Heidi. Heidi grant Halverson, who's an amazing research in the field of goal setting and Gabrielle lOTAN. Jen, you know, these these are the two most well known authorities on the on the world of motivation and goal setting and just look at their work and look at what they say again, I just find it's fascinating because it's based on research, that vision boarding when you just think about the thing that you want first off, people aren't often in Division. That's one thing but the other state is in elicits a state of wow, yeah. Ah, oh yeah, that future is going to be so good. It doesn't bring about and necessity to act. It doesn't it doesn't bring that it doesn't bring it right. I need to act.

Pete Cohen 9:45
And that nothing happens without action. Nothing happens with that process. And what we're about to embark upon, and I'm asking anyone if you want to get involved because we're going to change the world. We're going to help so many people go beyond the honeymoon period of starting something we're going to help people to stop procrastinating and become procrastinate actions aters procrastinators to procrastinate accelerators that we become someone who has a bias towards action, we build more people that absolutely know the processes, the daily methods of operation that have to be done. Because if you want the law of attraction to work, then yeah, of course, visualize where you want to go but bring it back to today. It's called mental contrasting, mental contrasting as you start to build what is known as identity capital, that you absolutely identify with the person that you need to be and you start investing in that person every single day. You know, years ago, we had a weight loss program was sold to a medical insurance company for 2.4 million in 2003. That program was specifically around behavioral change, you know, so when it comes to behavioral change, it's an area that I'm pretty, pretty well known for and also been rewarded for it and also helped so many people have success and you know what, I've only just got better I'm only getting better because I'm starting to understand more and more and more as what does it take for a human being to excel to boldly go to a place that they've not gone before? No, this is not an episode of Star Trek. This is the real world. Who are you committed to becoming? Because you know, the 30 day program that we created which is free, we've had 7000 People probably close to doing it. We've got a 3.5% 3.5% success rate of people that finish. Now, is that our problem? Or is that the person who's doing its problem? Maybe we could do something better, but ultimately, we can't change people's lives. We can't the only person that can change someone's life really, of course less of their having a an operation to a kidney transplant or something. At the end of the day. Most of us have the incredible potential to do great things and I think deep down we just know it's the knowing we know that we procrastinate and we know deep down that if we did this and we're eating away ourselves because we're good at it. We're good at giving ourselves a hard time we're good at thinking we're not good enough. And every time most people procrastinate, they're giving themselves an excuse. An excuse to continue a relationship with themselves where they feel that they're not good enough. Now, of course I'm not talking for everybody. I don't know everybody. And if people have had a traumatic life, and there's trauma that has been recorded in their nervous system them, you know, they probably need some help. They probably need to talk it through they probably need some therapy. You know, that's great. But some people are having therapy all their life, realizing that, you know, the past is over. And if you can get to the point in your present where you can look back in your past and say, You know what, I'm pleased that that happened for me, not to me. That's not for everybody necessarily. I don't know everybody, but I've spent my life looking at everyday people and going Hmm, what does it actually take for you to achieve whatever it is that you want to achieve? And this is what I'm asking every single one of you to do if we're looking for an equation, an equation, the procrastination equation, I've been calling it the motivation equation and it's not the motivation equation. It's actually the procrastination equation that was designed by piers steel, who is has been awarded the equivalent to the Nobel Prize in psychology for the procrastination equation, but this is what I'm going to ask you, for any of you that are part of what we do. Right. And thank you if you are because we've just got started. This is what I want to know, what do you actually want to achieve in 2022? What is it you know, there's three areas that most people are interested in advancing and one of those areas is their health. You know, where would you like to be in your with your health in a year's time? 365 days or maybe just a few more days? Because we're nearly at Christmas? You know, what do you want to treat with your health? You know, what do you want to achieve with your relationships, the people that matter most to you? What do you want to achieve with your with your wealth in your business, you know, what goals do you have? You know, why goals important? Well, goals are everything we are what the Greeks called teleological. If I took you to a football game, and you were watching and then you realize there were no goals. How long would you watch for even if you hated football? You think what's the point of this? What's the point of life? What's the meaning of life? Well, I'd say it's the meaning that you give it. What meaning are you giving it? What's the purpose? of your life? I don't know. It's actually none of my business is your business. I think the purpose of your life is up to you. I remember someone saying to me not long ago, you are the purpose of your life. But what do you want to do with it? I think so much suffering around the world is just because we know that we're not growing, not contributing. Tony Robbins talks about this.

Pete Cohen 14:44
In his TED Talk, one of the most watched TED talks in history about the six human needs saying the higher needs our growth and contribution. Where do you want to grow? Where do you want to contribute? Whose life do you want to impact? Surely if you want to impact anyone else's life, it starts with you. It could be you. What do you want to do with what you have? Because this is it? Okay. I'm asking you if you've got any goals, any goals and what's fascinating about our community to people that we work with? Many of them have worked out that the three the three areas of your health, your relationships, your wealth and your work. You have to they have to be imbalanced, because if they're not imbalance, then you're probably going to have a problem one day. And the one that seems to be out of balance for most people, especially entrepreneurs is health. You know, I think we're just kind of, but it again, it really just depends on your own reality. That we live in a world that 99.9% of the food that is sold to us is is crap. It's full of crap. It's full of food, which is making us malnourished. The food that we eat comes from an earth that is totally overworked that is deficient every single person should be supplementing their diet but it's just whether people want to do something like that. Whether they want to take responsibility that every time you put sugar in your body. Especially artificial. You know you don't need it. You just you're kidding yourself. But again, it's your decision. It's your life. It's not anyone else's life. I'd love to know where do you want to be in a year's time and I'm sorry if this is coming across in a little, you know, I'm being a bit firm. But I deep down I care because I just know that everyone starts things with great intentions most of the time. There's actually a word in ancient Indian sand script. It means hero in the beginning. So people would start things only after a few whenever the honeymoon period would wait, what would go and then you know, fighting season. You know, that's what I'm interested in. I'm interested in when things get difficult. News back but tonight, don't call it a comeback. No, it's time to knock it out. Right. It's fun to knock things out of the park. And I'm gonna break it down for you because basically when you decide what you want, which is great, you've obviously then got to do something else. You've got to look at what are the processes What is it you got to start doing and what have you got to stop doing? What I want to help everyone do as best as I can to work out what actually what specifically do you need to start doing every day? And what do you need to stop doing every single day plus one minus one every single day to bring about new habits. You know, I wrote a book in 2003 called habit busting. You know, that was what 17 years ago 18 years ago, my thinking has changed so much on that because I continue to learn and continue to research and I can tell you it all comes down to habits habit suicide. How honestly habit suicide is when you start something and then you stop it. You stop it for two days, three days. It's almost like you're starting all over again. It's so fascinating.

Pete Cohen 18:02
It's so fascinating. You see the law of attraction, it forget it forget the law of attraction is mental contrasting mental contrasting is where it's at mental contrasting is Yeah. Know the outcome of where you want to go. But make the goal of what you're doing. The process. Make the the success formula, the process, that every single time you do something that maybe you don't feel like doing because your brain resists effort most of the time because it thinks what's the point like exercise. What's the point of exercising? Well, for a part of us there's no point unless you are in serious danger, or you're very hungry. So to break it down and to realize the biggest issue with procrastination is impulsivity. So let's look at the equation. This is piers Steele's procrastination equation. The procrastination equation is E times V that's on the top over i times d. Look, I'm not a big fan of maths, but then I did become internationally recognized. Also in 2003. That was a big year for Pete Cohen 2003. When we designed the Happiness Equation, if you Google Pete Cohen happiness, you'll see I come up there which is ridiculous because I don't even have maths as a as a GCSE or as an AU level. If you're in England, you know what I'm talking about. But that's not really the point. The point. The point is that you shouldn't take me seriously when I'm talking about equations, but this is not my equation. This is piers Steele, who won the Nobel Prize equivalent in psychology. So the E is the expectation. If you expect an outcome if you expect a great outcome by doing something, too often people get so overwhelmed by the size of their goal. If they don't break it down to today. If they don't break it down to the the next step, then then they don't expect a great outcome coming from that. And they don't drive that expectation up, and they don't and then the V is the value that they don't expect that they expect value from doing what it is that they need to do. They value like if I do this every day, if I exercise exercise every day, if I meditate every single day, that I expect that it will make me have a better relationship with myself. If my if I if I exercise every day, I expect that I'll feel good after doing it. But I also expect that over time, I will be healthier and have more energy. Do I value that? Absolutely. If you don't turn the expectation and the value up, you're going to have a big problem. What is the biggest problem in the world today? What is it? I'd say it was there's only one big problem and that's impulsivity. Our tendency to want instant gratification. Human beings just love it. They love to feel good right now. Right in the moment. We live in a time where there's a lot of addiction, addiction to social media, addiction to food, addiction to alcohol drugs, to do something that makes us feel good in the moment and that's the world that we live in and it's just about to get a whole lot more intense with the metaverse with people going to be escaping into a world where I mean I'm sure there's going to be some good things coming out of it. But boy, is there going to be even more distraction. Let me just reiterate something what is procrastinating procrastinating is you have an intention to do something, whatever that intention is. Right? You then voluntarily delay it know what oh, I'll do that later. And then thirdly, you know, you just know that that's something that you really could have done that would have made a bigger difference to your life. So let me reiterate a couple of things. The E is the expectation right? The procrastination equation equals expectation times value if you want to be more motivated and be less prone to procrastinate, you have to expect that what you do every single day is going to take you to somewhere you want to go you're going to get the result that you want. If you don't fall in love with the process. This is why what we're going to do, we are going to do we are going to create make it easier for people to get on a streak of things because there's nothing like getting on a streak. There's nothing you've heard that expression an object in motion stays in motion. Let's get you in motion. Let's help you to recognize where you are where you want to go. And then help you bridge the gap between the two by getting on streaks and helping you see the investment we did this with my weight loss program. Years ago I encouraged people to get a jar and every time they exercise for more than 15 minutes to put a five pence P and put it in a jar so they could start to see evidence.

Pete Cohen 23:02
Evidence. We need evidence we need to get into the groove as Madonna said, We need to get into the groove, right? Because if you don't get into the groove, what groove will you get into now you'll get into the groove of going somewhere that you don't want to go again. might be wrong here but this is something I've just been so fascinated fascinated with human beings and what we do with what we have, where are we going and I'd love to know I'd love to know from you. I'd love to know who What group do you want to get into. Come on so What group do you want to get into?

Pete Cohen 24:03
I think we all know we've never lived in a time in a hole of history where we have more opportunities to do things we've never lived in a time where there's been more possible. There's just more opportunities for us to do something amazing with what we have, but there's never been a time in history where there's been so many temptations. Look in the Lord's Prayer. It says lead us not into temptation. The story of Adam and Eve you know what did they do? Don't eat fruit from the forbidden tree. What did they do? How many times today? Do you think you're going to be tempted to move away from where you are? How many times today do you think you're gonna be tempted to eat something or look at something you don't need to look at it and I want to help you I want to be the person our business my 365 We want to help you go from where you are to where you want to be. We can't do it for you but we will definitely help and support you. Because there's nothing greater than becoming is that there's nothing greater than becoming more than you are today. What is greater than that? Please tell me because I would absolutely love to know. I would love to know there's no one in the world more than probably myself that would love to know more than I would about who you want to become and what is the groove? What is the groove that you want to get into? When no one else can see that's what success is what you're doing when no one else is watching.

Pete Cohen 25:33
So I'm gonna ask you this 2022 What's the groove that you want to get into? You know, I'm not saying it's going to be easy that the challenge is to learn how to think greater than we feel. The challenge is to wake up and realize that one of the most valuable things that we own is our intention, our intention and our attention. Where do you want to put your attention because where you put your attention, everything is going to expand. It's time to realize there's a part of your brain that's looking out for stuff. It's called the reticular activating system. What do you want to be looking out for? I'll be looking out for yes the future then the person that you want to be and being committed to that person. But really looking out for the wins the daily win the daily operation, living in a world where we're not designed to live in this world. Those of you that have seen the film Wallah, you see how it all ends up. That's where the world is going. A whole lot of people that are going to put on a pair of glasses and disappear into a world where we've lost them. And then some people will eventually think that is the real world. Now again, I'm sure great things will come out of the metaverse but I prefer to live in this world right now. This is where it's out for me. What about you so if you're committed, I'd love to know from you. I would love to know from you. What do you want to achieve in 2022? Take some time to think about it right? Take some time to think about it. Right. What do you want to achieve in 2022? Okay. And then when you think about what you want to achieve in 2022 Then I'd like you to think about what are the things that you think you know what I have to start doing that and if you don't know, that's fine, we'll help you with that. You know, what is it you'd have to start doing and what is it you'd have to stop doing? It's not a complicated question. That's what we would love to know. So what is the procrastination equation? The progressing equation is procrastination, or the motivation equation. It's up to you. If you want to procrastinate. Then you've got items D you could if you want to procrastinate more impulse given to impulsivity, more, delay things more. If you want to be more motivated, then turn up the expectation times value expect the result of what you want. If you do something over time. Don't plant the seeds and go grow now. You know, it doesn't work like that. Right? It doesn't work like that. value, what you're doing learn to surround yourself with like minded people. That's what, that's what we do in our community of people that work that much closer with me. It's all about how can we help and support each other? Let's go big or let's go home. What do you reckon? I'm ready, if you're ready. So I want to thank you for listening to the podcast. What was your biggest takeaway and please take some time to think about this. Take some time to really think about what do you want to do next year, however big that is or small, it doesn't matter. And then bring it back to today and go okay, mental contrasting. What are the obstacles I would need to overcome what would be my biggest challenges but for the moment, just think about what would I actually have to do every day? If you don't know? That's okay. If you do know, then write it down. Because you're either find a way or make away What would I have to start what what I have to stop? Because next year, we're going extremely big bigger than we've ever gone before. And I'm excited to be on that epic quest with you. Thank you for listening to the podcast much love to you and we'll see you next time.


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