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I would like to introduce our next speaker of the night:
Vik Nithy.
He is a young man who has already founded
three companies at the age of twenty.
Sorry, I was about to say twenty companies at the age of three.
And this is after being diagnosed
post-HAC with a number of conditions.
So he's a truly inspiring young enterpreneur
and he is going to tell you why we procrastinate.
Thank you.
I finished high school about two years ago.
And although I did fairly well,
I didn't do nearly as well as I could have done
if I didn't suffer from a chronic
debilitating addiction to procrastination.
I would put off studying until the night before
every assignment and every exam wherever possible.
Is anyone else guilty of cramming?
Yeah. So you probably know how it feels
to maybe take a five-minute Facebook break
before you start working and then
realize that three hours have gone past,
or promise yourself that you'll start working tomorrow
every day for a week. Tomorrow, tomorrow.
It's not just studying that we procrastinate on,
we procrastinate on things like doing chores,
we procrastinate on thinking about our future,
and we procrastinate on saving money and getting fit.
I think procrastination is a really serious problem,
because it's about not being able to bring ourselves
to do the things that we know we want to do.
So tonight I'm going to talk to you about
the reasons why we procrastinate
and then hopefully give you some tips on how to overcome it
if you can get around to doing that.
So, procrastination is not a disease.
It's more about the decisions that you make,
the decision not to do what you need to do now
but to do it later instead.
It's really like you're having an argument in your head, isn't it?
One part of you wants to work
another part of your brain wants to play Angry Birds.
And for some reason you always manage to convince yourself,
"Oh it's okay, I can do whatever I need to do tomorrow,
I don't need to do it now."
So as a psychology student
I have the opportunity to find out what exactly is going on
inside our brains when we procrastinate.
And I found that there actually is an argument in our heads
between the limbic system and the prefrontal cortex.
So, this is the prefrontal cortex.
This is the part of our brain that tells us:
"You should be working Vik, you have a 40% assignment due tomorrow."
This is a higher level part of your brain;
the other part of your brain involved in procrastination
is the limbic system.
So this is a more primitive part of your brain
that wants to watch another episode of Gossip Girl
before you start studying.
So why is that the limbic system
always seems to win the argument?
The answer lies in this deceptively cute part of the brain
called the amygdala.
The amygdala is a part of your brain
that controls fear and anxiety
and the fight or flight response to threatening stimulus.
So for example, if you are in a jungle
and you see a wild lion in the distance,
what do you do?
I have no idea, I've never seen a wild lion
but I have seen a teacher approach me
when I haven't done my homework.
And I think the response in the amygdala is quite similar:
The first thing you do is freeze;
your palms get sweaty, your heart starts beating fast
and your prefrontal cortex, the decision maker shuts down.
Because if you see a wild lion in the jungle,
you don't want a voice in your head to remind you
that you have an essay to write,
you have to focus on what's going on in the world around you
and responding to physiological needs.
So, when we procrastinate,
we experience a mild anxiety response
to a threatening stimulus which just happens to be
an assignment that you may have to complete.
So, what is it that we're afraid of?
What is it that we are afraid of? Well, meet your monkey mind!
This is the part of your brain,
the voice in your head that reacts to the threatening stimulus of an essay.
You may be afraid of an overwhelming --
You might find that the task is overwhelming
and you don't know where to start.
You might -- if it's an unpleasant task,
you might dread the displeasure of doing the task,
and if it's a more complex task with a --
when your performance is being measured
then you may have a fear of actual failure.
So perfectionists use procrastination
as a self-handicapping tool to avoid
personal failure.
So for example, if you have an assignment due on Friday,
and it's Monday today, you can finish the assignment tomorrow.
But if you don't do well,
then what does it say about your capacity to do well in the exams.
Whereas if you start on Thursday night and cram
then if you fail, it's just because you're lazy and you crammed.
You're not stupid, you're perfectly normal.
Now, your prefrontal cortex,
it knows that this is a stupid decision.
You know that failure is a positive learning experience
and that it's better to be safe than sorry.
But remember that your amygdala is about subconscious reactions.
So how can we overcome procrastination
if we have a monkey in our brains making decisions on our behalf?
The answer is something called "metacognition":
Thinking about thinking.
So we have to acknowledge that
we aren't gonna be the ones making the decision
to study tomorrow.
We're gonna have this spontaneous lazy monkey
making decisions on our behalf
because we're too scared to do it ourselves.
And there is a few things that we have to plan
in order to overcome this:
We have to plan goals.
So plan exactly what you need to do,
split it up into parts, and we find that
the task is a lot less overwhelming for all in a monkey.
Plan time. So figure out exactly
what you're gonna get done in what time frame
and remember guys,
this is not something you need to do everytime you need to study,
this is just something that you need to get into the habit of doing automatically
when you realize that you need to get something done.
Plan resources.
So if you spend ten minutes before you start working
to get everything you need in the table in front of you,
you can't go ahead and later convince yourself that
you need to use Google
or you need to go on Facebook to get something
because everything you need is in front of you.
Plan the process. So research has shown that
if you visualize the process of doing something,
the task becomes easier to do.
If you close your eyes and think about what you need to do,
then, you brain is tricked into thinking that you've done it before
and it becomes so much easier to get things done.
Plan for distractions: so you know that you monkey mind
is gonna wanna check Facebook every five minutes.
You have to make a commitment to stay focused
and not get distracted.
And lastly plan for failure.
So, say you're doing a maths problem
and you come to a question that you can't do:
this is usually the time
when people decide to take a five-minute break!
I know that the saying "Don't give up!" is cliché
but I think that when it comes to roadblocks
when we are trying to do something
it's especially relevant,
and it's not just while we are studying, it's in every part of life.
If we procrastinate when we come to a roadblock,
then I don't think we're ever gonna get around to
solving the problem.
You have to learn to grind your teeth and get through it.
Oh dear!
So, this quote said:
"Don't wait. The time will never be just right."
and it's by Napoleon Hill.
So I think, as students, the number one reason why we tend to procrastinate
is because we don't think the conditions are perfect for proactivity.
We wait until the weekend to write an essay,
we wait until we're in the "zone" to be creative,
we wait until we have money to give to charity...
I think that if we get into the habit of planning,
thinking about thinking and getting things done quickly
then the world becomes our oyster
and our future will become a lot more prosperous.
Thank you.
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【TEDx】Why we procrastinate by Vik Nithy @ [email protected]

79489 Folder Collection
阿多賓 published on February 12, 2014    陳嫚霓 translated
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