T: Hey, Gabriel, are you free this Friday after school, let’s go and watch ‘Captain Marvel “. I have been waiting for this movie for a long time.
G: No, thanks for your invitation, but I am sorry that I have to start working on my Chinese reading report. The deadline is coming.
T: Oh, I see. But wasn’t the homework sent to us nearly a month ago? You probably got a lot of time to do this.
G: Yes, it was. I did have a plan for my homework once I got them. However, you know, I am a procrastinator.
T: Procrastinator? I have heard of this word before. Does it mean that someone who always delays things?
G: Exactly, I planned to start writing some parts for my Chinese reading report per week. However, I thought that I had so much time so I watched Youtube, playing computer games or other stuff that is not related to my homework for many days. Therefore …….
T: Therefore you have delayed your homework plan and now have to deal with the whole piece of homework just before the deadline, right?
G: Yes, the problem of delaying has bothered me for a long time. But I just always get distracted and procrastinate all the stuff. I don’t know what to do.
T: Oh, I have just watched a Tedtalk speech about those procrastinators like you, this may help you.
G: Oh, really? I would really like to hear about it.
T: Ok, this is about the mind of a procrastinator, imagine that there is a wheel, a rational decision maker and a monkey in your brain. The rational decision maker makes orders that control us to make rational decisions, most of them are about dealing with our duties and responsibilities.
G: It sounds right as that guy is described as rational. So how about the monkey? Does it represent entertainment? As there is a stereotype that monkey only aims at playing, living in joy anytime.
T: You are right. The monkey is called instant-gratification monkey. Once it gets control on the wheel, it will only make decisions that involve entertainment. This can explain that you delay doing your homework, dong other stuff that is not related to it. The wheel inside your brain is controlled by the monkey.
G: Sounds interesting. But I did deal with my homework just before the deadline. Does it mean that the monkey is tired? Can you explain this to me, based on what you heard from the speaker of that Tedtalk?
T: The monkey isn’t tired, it’s just that the monkey meets the guardian of the rational decision maker, called the panic monster. In fact, this being is the only thing that the monkey is scared about. This guardian is usually dormant, which means not active, but when there’s a serious consequence about to happen, the guardian suddenly wakes up and helps the rational decision maker to take back control while the monkey hides away.
G: Oh I see, so whenever a deadline is close by, the panic monster helps the rational decision maker to take back the wheel, causing me to finally start doing my homework. That’s pretty interesting. But sometimes it seems that the panic monster doesn’t wake up when duty calls.
T: That’s because there are two different kinds of procrastination, there is one with deadlines, and the one without them.
G: Oh I get it, since there’s no deadline, the panic monster doesn’t wake up because there’s no reason for him to wake up. I guess one example is pursuing dream career. No one will ever set deadline for you.
T: That’s correct. Also, if you think about it, life is short as we’ve already spent one-sixth of our lifespan. Don’t procrastinate if there’re no deadlines, because the panic monster won’t help us achieve dreams, we have to do that by ourselves, chasing away the mischievous monkey.