Hafsat Saliu Written by Hafsat Saliu · 2 min read >

According to a video titled “ Inside the life of a master procrastinator” by Tim Urban, the human brain is such that there is a rational decision maker that has the reasoning power to make rational decisions and be productive  but in this same brain lies the instant gratification monkey who  lives entirely in the moment doing something fun and easy. It has no memory of the past and no idea of what ‘future’ means. Because the rational decision maker understands what is at stake, he tries to take the wheel and be productive by doing things that are hard and less pleasant for the future good but the monkey sneaks in and takes over the wheel telling the rational decision maker that there is still plenty of time to be productive as the deadline is still far away. This continues until when a deadline is close by, then a third friend, the “panic monster” wakes up and frightens the monkey so the decision maker can take charge. At this point the deadline has drawn in and then suddenly, we know how to start the work we complained about not knowing how to start before and end up rushing through it and not giving it our best that we could have given if the instant gratification monkey hadn’t distracted us.

This may seem to be not so bad as the work still gets done by the procrastinator, thanks to the panic monster. The major problem is the monkey won’t leave the wheel unless the panic monster shows up, but the panic monster shows up only when a deadline is looming. So in cases where there are no deadlines, where you want to start up something, chase your dreams or bring an idea to life, the panic monster never shows up and if the procrastinator will only have the rational decision maker take the wheel only when there’s a deadline, this will mean the procrastination will not be contained and one will not be able to achieve that dream or start up that something or ever work hard to bring that idea to life.

As an animal you can have the instant gratification monkey be in control all your life and always do things that are easy and fun and that will be just fine, but, man is a higher animal, and unlike other animals, man has the reasoning power of the intellect and the will to be attracted to good. 

Intelligent control of one’s life will mean that one has to intentionally ensure that one understands what is good and what truly makes them happy, the happiness that is not just an instant gratification but the one that brings about man’s fulfilment.

This is not to say that one should not do things they find to be pleasant, easy and fun. In fact, this can be earned after one has done the right thing by being productive and not at the expense of hard work. 

Our will is attracted to both extrinsic and intrinsic goods and most of the extrinsic goods like money come with deadlines or danger of public embarrassment. For example, if you procrastinate and refuse to go to work, there’s the danger of not earning and the panic monster may come to your rescue but with intrinsic goods, you have to be in intelligent control of your life to take the right actions at the right time even though this actions are not easy and fun to attain fulfilment from such goods.

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