The Mood Repair Device
K. D. McAdams

Editor’s note: I’m the editor who finds personal development articles for Medium Members, and I like to put each of those articles in the context of the overall topic. You can find the full list of articles here.

The above story is a piece of science fiction, which is a weird thing to be publishing in the personal development section. So let me say a few words about that.

A lot of you have read or heard of the book, Thinking, Fast and Slow. It’s a great book and I reference it all the time. The basic message of the book is that our decisions are primarily guided by two forms of thought. One is fast, effortless and emotional. The other is slow, effortful, but rational.

In those two modes, we wish our decisions were primarily made from the rational mode. But mostly they come from the emotional mode.

A more evocative explanation is to think of your brain as a sleepy rational rider on top of a lumbering, emotional elephant. When your rider is awake, you make smart, rational decisions. When your rider doses off, your emotional elephant veers into the bushes doing whatever you want — often that being something completely irrational.

In personal development, it’s easy to talk to the rider. Sugar is bad. Sleep is good. Exercise is good. Smoking is bad. Prioritizing is good. You probably agree with all of that.

But do your actions reflect that rational agreement? Of course not.

So, an area I’ve been exploring with the articles for Medium Members is whether any of the articles can hit you at a visceral level. I want to try convincing your Elephant and your Rider at the same time

The Sci-Fi piece above is part of a series on Procrastination. The series starts with the world’s leading academic researcher, Tim Pychyl, explaining the science behind beating procrastination. I highlighted more of Tim’s article than any other article I’ve ever read on Medium — it was that interesting.

The procrastination series goes on to cover strategies and tools for beating procrastination. Those are fantastic, practical steps you can take to become a focused, productivity master.

As you read those pieces though — how deeply do you want to stop procrastinating and focus?

I don’t expect for this science fiction piece to do all the work. However, it does flesh out a single procrastination and I hope at least some of you find yourself imagining this future world.