A monkey and a monster

Today: inspiration to make your story concrete.

From Tim Urban.

You may know him from his philosophical blog Wait But Why.

One of Urban’s most famous articles (and his TED Talk) is about procrastination. To explain that kind of behavior, he introduces three characters in our brain.

He draws the first, the rational decision maker, as a stick figure behind a big steering wheel. This character is mature, it thinks about what is reasonable for the long term.

Urban’s second character is the instant gratification monkey. It lives in the moment and wants to play. Watch YouTube videos about deep sea creatures and Justin Bieber’s mother.

Even when there’s important work to be done.

Until a deadline approaches, for example for a thesis.

Then a third character makes its appearance: the panic monster. A huge red creature that screams ‘aaaaaahhhhh’.

The panic monster fears the negative consequences of procrastination. Like failing a thesis.

When the panic monster appears, the instant gratification monkey flees into a tree. And then the rational decision maker can finally concentrate on working.

I read Urban’s story about procrastination years ago, but still I remember exactly. Especially because he makes abstract processes concrete with funny characters.

Therefore: inspiration.