The heading for this blog is the title of a book by Primo Levi, published in 1982. An Auschwitz survivor, he is probably best known for The Periodic Table (1975) and for his account of the time he endured in Auschwitz published in 1947 titled 'If this is a Man'.
I have been aware of him for many years now. I have a soft spot for inspirational quotes and 'If now now, when?" comes to me at times when I find myself hesitating, procrastinating or feeling stuck. I find it helpful as a way to provoke movement, make a change etc. These sayings are useful as a self-help strategy - but even more useful is to understand the root of the procrastination or 'stuckness'.
As a Transactional Analyst, I know there are several concepts to help me help myself, or a trainee or supervisee.
Drivers/Working Styles: those with Be Perfect put off doing something until they think they can do it perfectly. By which time, the opportunity might be missed or long gone. Try Hards continue to try hard, because committing to action means they will not be 'trying hard' anymore. Please People worry that the action they are thinking about taking might not please people .... and that is a problem for them. Be Strongs do not have problems - they think - they get on with the task but are baffled by people and the fuss they make and do not always understand what others might need from them. Hurry Ups do not stay in the moment long enough to really know what matters to them - they busy themselves with tasks and in that process ignore the quiet voice inside saying "pay attention, this situation is important for you".
Rackets - a closed loop intrapsychic system where we keep ourselves stuck in a thought prison of our own making.
Contaminations - faulty beliefs about ourselves, others or the world in general which affect our behaviour ("They will not promote me, there is no point in going for that promotion").
Life Positions - I am not good enough to make that change, seize that opportunity, make that decision ...... What if you knew you were good enough.....?
Injunctions - received as an infant from the Child ego state of your Mum and/or Dad: don't be important, don't succeed etc. Injunctions as early conditioning lurk away beneath the surface and colour our decisions, make us miss opportunities.
Awareness is the key which helps us unlock energy for action, helps us to be free of harmful aspects of our script and helps us to recognise our personal power.
I finish with another favourite quote, this time a Chinese proverb -
"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now"
What are you waiting for?