Are you an incubator?

Are you an incubator?

Are you an incubator? No, I’m not referring to the warming contraption used for eggs. I’m talking about your brain, your method of tackling projects. There is an interesting theorys-l1000 (that I wholeheartedly subscribe to) claiming that some people previously labeled as procrastinators are actually incubators.

Because there are so many shared characteristics, the line between the two can be difficult to distinguish. There are basically four types of people when presented a project: eager beavers, sloths, procrastinators, and incubators.

Eager beaver: This type of person tends to be studious and punctual. They start on assignments as soon as they are given them. Their work is usually well done and on time. They want to have the work out of the way so it is not hanging over them while they try to enjoy leisure activities. Two examples would be Hermione of Harry Potter and Rory Gilmore from Gilmore Girls. Putting a project off, even for other necessary things is a source of stress for these doers.ya-hermione-expelled

Sloth: These are the lazy ones, the ones who have no intention of doing anything that could take away from fun things. Garfield and Ferris Bueller are prime examples of this. Garfield sees a mouse in the house again, and he says he’ll catch it…just after this nap. No one believes that Garfield ever had any intention to actually get the mouse after the nap. ferris2-300x150Ferris Bueller’s famous day off has been a source of laughter and inspiration for many a teen. However, we see that his excuse of cutting school because of how beautiful a day it was is just one in an extensive line of excuses. In fact, the whole reason why the principal is hunting him is because of how much school Bueller has already missed.

Procrastinator: Unlike their sloth brethren, procrastinators fully intend to meet the8547c50b440a0e54232310352d32776b deadline. But they “postpone one task in favour of another or others which are perceived as being wasier or more pleasurable but which are typically less important or urgent,” explains Neel Burton, an M.D. of psychology. Though they may get the work done on time, it will usually not be their best work and will cause them high levels of stress and dissatisfaction. Opposite her daughter Rory, Lorelai Gilmore procrastinates anything she views as unpleasant. She always means to get around to it, but never does which tends to result in extra drama that contributes to the unpleasantness.

Incubator: Incubators are impossible to differentiate from procrastinators at first glance because they share the same behaviours. They both put off getting the work done until the deadline is closing in on them. They choose to fill that time with socializing, reading, watching TV, or even doing household chores. The differences lies in the ability to perform under pressure and the “back burner mentality” (Biwas-Diener). Once the task has been received, the incubator begins to subconsciously work. However, they need that deadline in order to put pen to paper. Even if they tried to work on it earlier, it would be like pulling teeth…ugly teeth, because there has not been the time for the thoughts to simmer like an incubator requires. According to Robert Biwes-Diener, the professor who came up with the theory, they will finish the work on time and it will usually be of a “superior quality.” Sherlock Holmes and the Doctor represent this way of thinking. There may be a few moments of, “I’m making this up as I go,” but once they fully form the plan it is brilliant.doctor-who-matt-smith

 

Biwas-Diener, R.  http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/worklife/02/16/o.procrastinator.or.incubator/
Burton, N.  https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hide-and-seek/201505/whats-the-difference-between-procrastination-and-laziness
Advertisements

Do We Deserve to Be Happy? Nope.

*Quick note: The purpose of this blog is not only to focus on writing, but to transform lives through writing and sharing. I know this will certainly step on toes and if it does, get some better shoes, but keep your ears open.*

I’m not really sure what other cultures believe about happiness, but American culture certainly believes that it is a right. Because of three little words – pursuit of happiness – we cling to the idea that we have a right to be happy all the time. Unhappy with your job? Quit. Unhappy with your spouse? Divorce. Unhappy with your government? Elect people who promise an easier life. Did someone say something that made you unhappy? Run to social media, and heck, even the news to cry about how hateful and unfair it is that someone should dare have a differing opinion!

Here’s the thing though. We don’t deserve happiness. It is not a right. Being happy in life isn’t a given. We are never told we have the “right to be happy”. In the United States we do have the “right to pursue happiness”, but it never says it’s going to happen. More than that, how can I say that I deserve happiness, even at the cost of what God has called me to? Because I’m a good person? Hardly. Sure, I’m nice. I like helping people. But I’m not good. Jesus said, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” (Luke 18:19) [Small digression here: This isn’t Jesus saying that He isn’t good, or isn’t God. This is Him stating something all the hearers knew: only God is good. This is Jesus saying that they are recognizing that He is God with their words.] Does that mean we should only be stern and morose, moping around saying “Woe is me!”? Absolutely not! There is joy in this life! There will be thousands of happy moments. These moments are part of life, however,  undeserved. Sadness, happiness, and rain come to wicked and righteous alike.

As Christians we are called to something much more important than pursuing our own happiness: love. We are called to love others. Not with the superficial “I’ll say hi on Sunday mornings” kind, but with the sacrificial love that Christ showed us. Paul David Tripp highlights in his book, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands, that “relationships are not primarily for our fulfillment. On the contrary, relationships between sinners are messy, difficult, labor-intensive, and demanding, but in that, they are designed to result in God’s glory and our good as he is worshiped and our hearts are changed.” Loving people is not on a case by case basis, it is a conscious choice to make loving people a lifestyle.

This lifestyle does not lead to the road of “prosperity.” It is the road of obedience and blessing. This road is rocky and narrow, full of hardship and tears. But Psalm 126:5 tells us that those who sow tears will reap songs of joy. A life worth living is hard work. To have a full life, we must fill it with meaningful relationships, not staying focused on ourselves. Pursuing our own happiness means sacrificing others – the exact opposite of what we are called to do! On the last day of your life, what will it matter what job/house/car/clothes you had? It’s all staying here. And once you are gone, will people remember you as a bulldozer, someone willing to do anything to stay happy no matter the cost to others? Or will people remember someone who loved well?

 

The Thing About Humans

Humans are silly, fickle creatures. They are never quite content with what they have. Unlike their jollier cousins, the Hobbits, they are obsessed with being busy. Heaven forbid they actually enjoy free time. And I do mean free time. Time that is unpaid and unscheduled.

Some two hundred years ago, humans worked from sunrise to sunset. They worked hard, and enjoyed the fruit of those labors. But they were tired. And so some humans called “scientists” or “inventors” began thinking of ways to make life easier. Over the years they made machines to help with plowing, printing, cooking, cleaning, traveling, and even communicating. One could look back on these marvelous inventions and assume that humans now had oodles of free time. Well, you know what they say about assuming things…

Sadly, just the opposite was true. They were busier than ever! Now that machines could do much of the work humans used to do, people were now “free” to work more, clean more, organize more…you get the idea.

Even food–a simple, essential pleasure for the Hobbits–became a chore and a curse. Eat too much and be condemned for the weighty aftermath; eat too little and be accused of superiority or mental disease. Then there was even a time when people were culture-pressured to purchase, or grow, only special produce, cook it in a way that still rendered health benefits, and looked like a baby rabbit. Others gave up completely and let other prepare “food” for them because they were too busy to do it themselves.

Surely, you say, they must have been content with finances since they worked so hard for it. Au contraire, my good friend! As each one’s wages grew, the needs also swelled, usually far beyond the wage earned. And so many–too many–became dependent upon their leaders to support their lifestyles. Of course, many of the leaders lined their own pockets as leaders are wont to do.

What became of these sad, sad creatures? The majority continued in this way of self-destruction, while others returned to the ways of their ancestors. They abandoned the cities and once again worked the land. They studied the habits of the Hobbits in an effort to really enjoy life, rather than blazing through it. They are content…at least for now.