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How do I get over my bad habit of procrastinating? 如何摆脱拖延症

How do I get over my bad habit of procrastinating? 如何摆脱拖延症
QUESTION:How do I get over my bad habit of procrastinating?
ANSWER:I'll answer your question, but first I need to explain all of human civilisation in 2 minutes with the aid of a cartoon snake.
Humans like to think we're a clever lot. Yet those magnificent, mighty brains that allow us to split the atom and touch the moon are the same stupid brains that can't start an assignment until the day before it's due.
We evolved from primitive creatures, but we never quite shed ourselves of their legacy. You know the clever, rational part of your brain you think of as your human consciousness? Let's call him Albert. He lives in your brain alongside an impulsive baby reptile called Rex:
You know how you can't help but notice if a stranger is tongue-wettingly gorgeous? That's Rex, and no matter how hard you try, you can never turn him off. He's your instinct, your impulse, your love and your fear.
We like to think of Albert as "our true self" - the conscious part of our brain. He's the talking, reasoning part. When we decide to go to the gym or write that term paper, Albert made that decision. But Albert is old, easily exhausted, and switches off all the time.
Your brain is locked in a battle of wills between a sleepy professor and an impulsive reptile with unlimited energy. You may as well hand Rex the steering wheel.
Rex does listen to Albert. Like a child, he will do a lot of what he's told, as long as he doesn't disagree too much. But if Rex desperately yearns to crash on the sofa to watch Survivor and eat Cheetos, that's what you're going to do.
The incredible ascension of mankind that surrounds us is largely possible because we've developed systems to nurture the Rex's in our brains, to subdue, soothe and subvert them.
Much of this system we call "civilisation". Widely available food and shelter take care of a lot. So does a system of law, and justice. Mandatory education. Entertainment. Monogamy. All of it calms Rex down for long enough for Albert to do something useful - like discover penicillin, or invent Cheetos.
Now let's look at your procrastination.
You're making a decision with your conscious mind and wondering why you're not carrying it out. The truth is your daily decision maker - Rex - is not nearly so mature.
Imagine you had to constantly convince a young child to do what you wanted. For simple actions, asserting your authority might be enough. "It's time for dinner". But if that child doesn't want to do something, it won't listen. You need to cajole it:
Forget logic. Once you've decided to do something, logic and rationale won't help you. Your inner reptile can be placated, scared and excited. But it doesn't speak with language and cannot be reasoned with.
Comfort matters. If you're hungry, tired or depressed your baby reptile will rebel. Fail to take care of yourself, and he'll wail and scream and refuse to do a damn thing you say. _That's what he's for. _Eat, sleep and make time for fun.
Nurture discipline. Build a routine of positive and negative reinforcement. If you want a child to eat their vegetables, don't give them dessert first. Reward yourself for successes, and set up assured punishments for your failure. Classic examples include committing to a public goal, or working in a team - social pressure can influence Rex.
Incite emotion. Your reptile brain responds to emotion. That is its language. So get yourself pumped, or terrified. Motivational talks, movies and articles can work, for a while. I use dramatic music (one of my favourite playlists is called Music to conquer worlds by). Picture the bliss associated with getting something done, or the horrors of failing. Make your imagination vivid enough that it shakes you. We use similar tricks on children for a reason: "brush your teeth or they'll fall out".
    **Force a start. **The most important thing you can do is start. Much of Rex's instincts are to avoid change, and once you begin something those instincts start to tip into your favour. With enough time, you can even convince Rex to_ love_ doing the things he hated. There's a reason we force kids to go to school or to try piano lessons.
Bias your environment. Rex is short sighted and not terribly bright. If he sees a Facebook icon, he'll want it. It's like showing a child the start of a cool TV program immediately before bedtime. Design your environment to be free from such distractions: sign out of instant messenger, turn off notifications, turn off email. Have separate places for work and fun, and ideally separate computers (or at least accounts).
Once you know what to look for, you'll start to recognise the patterns and control them.
There's an impulsive baby reptile in your brain, and unfortunately he has the steering wheel. If you can be a good parent to him he'll mostly do what you say, and serve you well. Just remember who's in charge.
Q:怎样才能摆脱我的拖延症这个坏习惯呢?
A:我会回答你的问题,但是我想先花2分钟通过一条卡通小蛇来谈谈整个人类的文明开化。
人类一向认为自己非常聪明。的确,我们宏伟又强大的大脑让我们分裂了原子,还登上了月球。然而,我们的大脑又是愚拙的,它使得我们在截止日前才开始一项任务。
我们从原始生物进化而来,但我们从未能完全摒除原始遗性。你知道你的大脑中有聪明且理性的一部分,对吧?你称之为人类意识,我们就将这部分叫做爱因斯坦。爱因斯坦就住在你的大脑里,于此同时,你的大脑里还住着一只蛇宝宝名叫雷克斯。
雷克斯进化了几百万年,毋庸置疑,它足配以在大脑中占有一席之地,他的本能直觉指引你,刺激你,一直到今天。恐惧。爱。性。雷克斯的思想是原始的,没有言语的。
我们通常将爱因斯坦称之为“真我”——大脑中有意识的部分。他是会发言的,理性的一部分。当我们决定去体育馆或是写一篇期末论文时,是爱因斯坦做的决定。雷克斯是会听从爱因斯坦的,就像个孩子,只要它愿意,要它做什么,它就会做什么。但是如果雷克斯情愿躺在沙发上看《幸存者》吃奇多,那这就是你将要干的事。
我们人类获得惊人的进化是极有可能的,因为我们有成熟的体制,可以滋养雷克斯大脑,进而抑制、安抚,甚至颠覆这部分。
宏观来说,这种体制我们称之为文明开化。充足的食物和住所至关重要。司法制度也重要。义务教育。娱乐。一夫一妻制。所有这些可以让雷克斯安分很长一段时间,而这段时间足够爱因斯坦去做一些有用的事——发现青霉素,发明奇多。
现在我们来看下你的拖延症。
你有意识地做出一个决定,但你疑惑于为什么不能够执行。
真相就是你真正的决策者——雷克斯——还不够成熟。
想象一下,你在不断说服一个小孩去做你想做的事。对于一些简单的行动,不断强调你的权威可能是足够了,比如:该吃饭了!但如果这孩子不想干,他不会听话的。你需要去哄骗他:
抛开逻辑
一旦你决定做什么,逻辑和基本原理帮不了你。住在你体内的蛇宝宝会和解,会害怕,会兴奋,但它不会说话,也不会讲道理。
舒适很重要
如果你饿了,累了,沮丧了,你的蛇宝宝就会反对你。没有照顾好你自己,它就会恸哭,尖叫,甚至拒绝按你说的行事。它就是为此而存在的。所以,要吃饱,睡好,抽时享乐。
培养纪律机制
建立一套奖惩执行常规,如果你想要一个小孩吃蔬菜,就不要先给他甜点。成功就奖励自己,失败则适用既定的类别惩罚。比如为共同的目标奋斗,在团队里工作——社会压力可以影响雷克斯。
煽动情感
雷克斯会响应情感。这就是它的“语言”。所以,让自己兴奋吧,让自己恐惧吧。激励的演讲、电影和文章都是可以起到一会儿的效果。我采用的是戏剧音乐(我最喜欢的播放列表之一就叫做“征服世界的音乐”)。想象完成某件事的喜悦,或者失败带来的恐惧。让你的想象足够生动,生动到足以撼动你。其实,我们常因为同样的原理用类似的招数骗过小孩子:“要刷牙,不然牙齿掉光光!”。
驱动开始
你能做的最重要的事就是开始。雷克斯的本能大多是拒绝改变的。但一旦你开始某件事,这种本能就会开始支持你。花费足够的时间,你甚至可以说服雷克斯爱上做他“讨厌”的事。我们驱使孩子去上学或学钢琴也是同样的。
挑剔环境
雷克斯目光短浅,而且不聪明。如果它看到了Facebook的图标,它就会想玩。这就像在就寝时间让孩子看到了一个很棒的电视节目开始了。设计你的环境,一个免于分散注意力的环境:退出即时通讯,关闭提醒功能,关掉邮箱。拥有独立的工作区和享乐区,更理想的就是拥有独立的电脑(或至少独立的账户)。
一旦你知道根源在哪,你就会开始发现这些模式进而控制它们。
有一条任性的蛇宝宝住在你的大脑里,很不幸,它拥有方向盘。如果你能做一个好父亲或是好母亲,他就会几乎全按照你说的去做,让你舒舒服服的。你只要记住谁才是真正的主宰者。


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