Written by Brenna Norris
We all have major tasks that need to be completed, but somehow we always find ways to put them off–sometimes to the point of causing a tidal wave of stress.
There are countless YouTube videos and blog posts that swear by a certain process for beating procrastination. Yet in the past, I found that no amount of bullet journaling or visualization techniques would actually get me to finish the work if it was something that involved even mild discomfort (such as reviewing the events that led to the American Indian War).
So, one day, as I was trying to will myself to complete a project, I came up with the phrase “be a brave chicken.” To me, a brave chicken is still allowed to be a little, well, chicken, but it still has to don its helmet and shield and enter battle (even if that battle is calling the pizza place so I can have a lazy Wednesday dinner).
While I know phrases like “just do it” or “keep calm and carry on” have been around for ages, these don’t necessarily acknowledge one thing: that we all have those tasks that might seem simple to an outsider but might actually feel like scaling a mountain.
Once I started saying “be a brave chicken” to myself as I reviewed my daily to do list, I noticed that the stress of my less-exciting tasks started to diminish. I still wasn’t a fan of posting my garage sale items on Craigslist. But imagining a tiny chicken’s battle cry as I logged into my account allowed me a small laugh and helped me get my posts out onto the site that I had literally spent months avoiding.
Since then, I’ve also encouraged my more shy friends and students to try reciting this magic phrase when they need to reach out to a contact, teacher, or someone their parents want them to connect with, which can be downright daunting.
A few have told me it actually did help. What’s more, the brave chicken line gave them the chance to acknowledge whatever real or perceived fear they had about the task. They were then able to complete the task even though it still caused them anxiety. They didn’t have to “put on a brave face;” they just had to channel their inner chicken and stick it in a suit of armor.
I encourage anyone navigating difficult tasks–large or small–to call on this type of courage.