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It literally makes zero sense(r/GetMotivated)
Congratulations: you’ve found one of the limits of the English language, but it actually makes perfect sense when you realize that you’re using the same word for two separate concepts.
You’re afraid of failure in that (presumably) you are afraid that you personally will be inadequate (or create something inadequate, which means that you derive your self-worth from the quality of your work. Don’t do that, jackass.), and as such, you postpone the work so that you never have to find out whether or not you are “good enough”. People make mistakes (all of the fucking time), so there’s no reason to value yourself this way.
The “failure” that you are maximizing your chances for is not the same short-term failure, but a much more permanent and related to your aspirations.
“Doing poor work.” vs “Not reaching your goals.”
Disclaimer: I’m probably projecting. Maybe you’re scared shitless of being an Assistant Manager at Best Buy forever. I am, too, but I’m much more overwhelmed by the thought of doing “inferior” work.
EDIT: I’ve been working all day, but stay tuned for an update on this tonight.
EDIT 2: I’m getting some recognition right here, and that’s not quite right. I pretty much just paraphrased the first couple dozen pages of the book The Now Habit by Dr. Neil Fiore. While I won’t say that it will change your life, because only you can do that with work and motivation, it will help you identify why you feel unmotivated and why you procrastinate, and it gives you plenty of practical tools to beat these self-destructive tendencies. I was skeptical at first because after you identify why you procrastinate it becomes an instruction manual instead of a “philosophy of motivation” book, but I was able to use these tools to change my life in a great way.
Personally, I used The Now Habit, habitrpg.com, a webnanny extension for Google, and a few other accountability methods to “fix” my problems, but they ended up working. I still use all of these things, but I find that on days where I do disregard them I am still able to be productive, behaving as I would on any other day. I can NOT recommend a book any more than this one, but again, it won’t change you if you aren’t making an active effort to change yourself. I don’t think that any one resource can change you, instead you change who you are using several of them. I used to think that people who keep their work space full of motivational quotes and posters were somewhat pathetic, but now I realize that these are some of the wisest people there are. They know what keeps them working hard and they surround themselves with it.
EDIT 3: You shouldn’t derive your worth from the quality of your work because it’s impossible to qualify and quantify your work. Is your job the only thing worth considering here? Your hobbies and side projects? What about your ability to inspire? How about how good of a role model you are? If your logic is simply anything that you contribute to society fits into the category of “things that determine your self-worth” then it’s stupid to even think about what you’re “worth” because of the limitless contributions that you make without realizing. A bystander might have watched you throw away some litter today and been inspired to eventually create a method of turning pollution into weather balloon fuel. You only see the tip of the iceberg. If I were putting together a team for a project, I’d much rather have the idiot who will work his hardest than the “unmotivated genius”. Such geniuses are carry nearly no “value” if you’re looking at work as the arbiter of value.
This doesn’t even touch on the fact that there’s no reason to have self-worth. Implying that you are worth X implies that others are worth W and Y. It’s narcissistic to think that you’re better than someone, even if you think that there are way more people that are better than you. In all reality, no one is “worth” more than anyone, and you shouldn’t think that way. This train of thought has no reward and plenty of punishment. If you must value yourself and others, value based on effort applied on quality and improvement, not on the quality itself. “Not being perfect proves that you are perfectly human.”
Sorry if there’s shitty grammar, poorly explained thoughts, or ideas that aren’t fully fleshed-out. It’s been a long day and I’m way too tired, but I really wanted to give a little more to the people who were responding. Mostly, the recommendation of The Now Habit.