The Most Dangerous Word in the English Language

It’s the most dangerous word in the English language.

If you’re broke… tired… or stressed out, blame this word.

If you’re depressed, psychologists tell us to take a deep look at this selfish word we all mutter each day.

It’s the cause of pain, loss and anxiety… and yet few folks care enough to do anything about it.

For proof of its power, let’s explore pivotal research that’s now more than 20 years old.

Two psychologists set out to determine the effects of procrastination on college kids.

The students were rated on their tendency to push important tasks into the future. Then the docs measured their grades, stress and overall health.

At first, it was good news for the procrastinators.

They were happier and healthier.

It made sense. They weren’t doing today what they could do tomorrow. They had more free time and were enjoying life.

But when tomorrow came, they had twice as much work to do. Very quickly, the researchers noted stress levels began to rise and grades fell.

By the end of the semester, the folks who were scored as high procrastinators were miserable, unhealthy and had the worst grades.

It’s all because of that dirty, eight-letter word.

What is it?

We’ll Tell You Tomorrow

We already mentioned it.

You likely read it above and never gave it a second look. Like most folks, you’ve likely never pondered the dangers of this word.

But read closely and you’ll see that as soon as those college kids muttered it… things went downhill.

As soon as they said “tomorrow,” their lives got worse.

It’s the most dangerous word in the English language.

If you don’t believe me, look at the studies.

The folks who measure such things say that doing tomorrow what should be done today leads to missed doctor’s appointments, a lack of retirement savings, failed relationships and, of course, low-quality work.

And, according to the folks at Bishop’s University in Quebec, procrastination can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, headaches, digestive issues and even insomnia.

It’s dangerous stuff… and it’s all because we trick ourselves into believing we can simply do it all tomorrow.

But like the sign at the bar that always promises free beer tomorrow… the magic day never seems to come.

Is It Your Fault?

Nobody knows for sure why some folks procrastinate more than others.

Some research points toward simple things like laziness or a lack of self-control.

Others, though, get much deeper. They say chronic chore pushers have a tendency toward self-defeat – that they fear failure and therefore fail to try.

In an essay published by the Journal of Research in Personality, the authors argued that procrastinators work to undermine their own efforts.

“The chronic procrastinator, the person who does this as a lifestyle, would rather have other people think that they lack effort than lack ability,” the researchers concluded. “It’s a maladaptive lifestyle.”

But we say the cause doesn’t matter all that much.

The cure for “tomorrow” is the same.

We won’t say something so silly as telling you to just put your head down and get the job done.

That’d be like telling the chronically depressed to just “cheer up.”

No, to overcome a problem of this magnitude and import, we need a knife that can cut a bit deeper.

We’ve found two ways to best tackle the problem.

They’re simple mind tricks that are scientifically proven to work.

Beat It Today

The first one comes from a couple of researchers who focused tightly on the psychological side of “tomorrow.”

They found that it’s all about time… More specifically, it’s about how we keep time.

For example, somebody retiring in five years might think they’ve got plenty of time to get on track. But somebody who needs to get their financial health in order in 60 months had better hurry. And, more powerful, somebody who has only 1,825 days to get the job done needs to put a rush on it.

It’s all the same amount of time, but the research proves that using smaller units of time forces our brains to think differently.

In a test of 162 folks, the participants who were given the smallest units ended up finishing their task an average of 30 days sooner than folks given the largest units.

In another study, folks planned to save for retirement four times sooner when they were told how many days (14,600 days) rather than how many years (40 years) until it was time to clock out for the last time.

It’s crazy. But it works.

The other trick is a bit fluffier, but it makes sense.

When most of us procrastinate, we hold ourselves accountable. We get angry, negative and feel guilty. But going back to the root of the problem – which is often self-doubt or the fear of failing – simply furthers the cycle.

Don’t do it.

Instead, a couple of Carleton University docs tell us to forgive ourselves.

They surveyed 119 students who were gearing up for midterm exams. They found that of all the folks who had put off studying for their previous exam, it was the students who had forgiven themselves for the mistake who started studying first.

There’s no doubt the trouble that comes with putting things off until tomorrow is a self-inflicted wound.

If you find yourself saying that dangerous word often, try the two tricks above.

Just be sure to do it today.

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