Note: the blue italics indicate the teacher, in black others participants.

Wait and see versus procrastination

What is the difference between “wait and see” and procrastination?

For me procrastination is to push to the back burner (for personal comfort or a personality leak) that which needs to be done right now, when “wait and see” would be not to rush things or provoke something, but to instead watch for a legitimate or appropriate opportunity to act.

What I can say is that in life there are so many things to do that to not procrastinate and do them now or as soon as possible is what needs to be done, is I think the best strategy. If you do not want to be quickly overwhelmed, and to stay fluid and open to what life proposes, then “wait and see”, seems to me more like a marginal strategy and it applies only to specific cases (with the danger of passivity to consider).

I would add that, for me, procrastination takes active effort, creating active tension, etc. on my part. Whereas “wait and see” is from a place of relaxation or effortless effort, observing for the moment to act.

There may be several ways to “see” the “wait and see” while there is only one way to procrastinate. For example, I waited to see what your question inspired in me, while I had the possibility to answer you immediately. It was not at all to postpone my answer because your question will embarrass or even piss me off or that it did not interest me, but instead of taking the time needed to respond to you in the way that means more to what it inspires in me.
If your question had embarrassed me or pissed me off or had not interested me and if I had procrastinated or I rushed the answer to get rid of it as quickly as possible or I could “wait and see” for others to respond for example, or possibly wait for a reminder from someone to answer. Anyway, in both cases (rush or “wait and see”), procrastination was the failure to really wrestle with myself concerning your question, and what it could have generated in me and therefore I did not welcome the necessary suffering that would have accompanied it. So basically 2 causes to “wait and see” in this precise example: consciously with a clearly defined goal, or procrastinating. The only reason to procrastinate: the avoidance of the necessary suffering.

It seems to me there is in itself a duty to recognize the heavy but toxic smell of procrastination. It requires sincerity and vigilance. Personally, I begin to truly feel the subtle tension (and the small voice that invites it to leave it like it is) that accompanies the escape or the rejection. I still have a way to go, but it becomes clearer and clearer. In contrast the “wait and see” imposes itself in a rather OBVIOUS manner, (lack of additional information, for example… in this case I am acting to try to find it, or I am waiting for it to reach me, if I do not have the possibility to act.) Staying in divided attention, ideally permanently, lets me see increasingly this kind of mechanism in the moment. Finally I always come back to the sincerity with myself, because at some level I know (I can know) when I “collaborate”, when I allow the identity to act. And this is where the duty, the existential decision, to no longer accept/allow that, comes in.

I recognize a similar mechanism in myself. “Wait and see” appears to induce an external factor you need to provoke without falling into impatience, or passivity, “Wait and see” would be for me a neutral position with an opportunistic perspective. Procrastination is a regressive position (bias) with a crappy outcome.

“Wait and see”: it may be something that I either want to do or would prefer not to have to do, however my inner position nevertheless remains “neutral” and is characterized by acceptance, patience and vigilance in recognizing the right opportunity to act.
Procrastination: it is something I want to avoid to do (the whole thing or maybe just the dis-comfort associated with starting up and get going.) There is resistance and avoidance of opportunities by means of self-distraction.

The physical sensation makes the difference between “wait and see” and procrastination. For the first, and it happens very often, I need to wait to integrate, leave space, and allow the way to go about to present itself to me. For example, tonight, to respond to my brothers who had asked me to increase my monthly payments to the support of my mother, I waited for the time needed so that the right words come. It’s as if I wore the task to do, before it goes out. For the simple, functional things I trigger the momentum more immediately.
Procrastination, as we have often said is accompanied by tension because we just refuse to allow the space for the thing to be done, and we close it to the thing, for repulse it.

If it’s something I should do and I try to convince myself to “wait and see” I might get a knot in my stomach. If it’s something I should “wait and see” about and I try to get it done right away my mind goes to all the variables that are involved. Maybe you can say “wait and see” is a good strategy to eliminate some variables. I think ultimately if you have the time to “wait and see” then you will eventually reach a point when 1) the best course of action has presented itself or 2) you have no more time. If/when you reach either of those points and you don’t take care of what needs to be done, it will become procrastination.