The Compact: Overture

While natural disasters wreak havoc around the Pacific rim, it’s only natural that one’s thoughts turn resolutely inward on one’s own trivial problems. Or is that just me?

Inspired by the most recent episode of Radiolab, I realize it’s time to attempt to bring both sides of myself to the bargaining table to try to resolve the ongoing war between Present-Me, who wants to relax and chew gum, and Future-Me, who is feeling totally burned by this and has been begging for months that some work be done, some progress be made.

The trick is I must find a bargain with terms such that Present-Me cannot shirk the agreement without a palpable sense of bad consequences. The problem is that since I am making the bargain with myself I need to believe that said consequences will actually occur should I not honour my commitment. This means I may have to appoint a trustee of sorts to oversee the whole process, and that I must choose consequences that, while very bad, are within the realm of credibility (and the law).

In the podcast linked above Dr Oliver Sacks reveals that in order to stop himself procrastinating over his first book he made a pact with himself that if he had not completed it within ten days he would commit suicide. Apparently this rather extreme approach worked, and his book was completed a day early. Nevertheless he does not recommend others follow his example.

Right off the bat I am ruling out death or serious injury as a consequence for welching on my own compact, although I admit I am still toying with the notion of physical pain. More likely it will be something involving monetary expense or possibly some kind of extremely compromising or embarrassing material being made public.

So this is the announcement that a deal will be made, although I have not quite settled on the terms. I know it sounds dramatic, but then the almost complete lack of progress I’ve made is rather dramatic in its own way too, and I must break through it.

The goal by which the agreement will be measured is along the lines of “submitting a project to the App Store.” and the timescale will be in the order of a few weeks. Nothing too demanding or specific, but more than I’ve done to date. I will post details once I have finalized the conditions.

[Note: In selecting the image for this post I was really hoping to find a picture of The Thinker idly picking his nose]