Whenever I know I should do something, a voice pops into my head. Not like a crazy person (or maybe exactly like a crazy person, who knows?) but rather like the inner child that psychologists used to tell us we needed to find. No need, he’s right here and he’s an annoying jerk.
My inner child won’t stand for anything less than exciting and if he’s asked to exert even a modest amount of unlovely work, he throws a fit. A tantrum really. It’s annoying to say the least but my inner adult, a recent addition to the family, works overtime to explain the situation to my inner child, trying to get the brat on board. It goes something like this:
“We have to write our book today, time to write!” says the adult.
The inner child screams, “But I don’t wanna! It’s stupid.”
The adult tries to be reasonable, “What’s stupid?”
Sulking now, the inner child says, “Everything.”
“Use your words.”
“It’s just dumb. The book is dumb. I don’t want to write it.”
“What’s dumb about the book?”
“It’s just not fun, it’s too slow, writing everything out. HEY! Let’s come up with a cool idea and start an outline about that! Sounds like fun!”
The adult shakes his head, “That’s what we did with this book and now we have 33 chapters done. We need to finish writing.”
“But it’s taking forever… and it will probably be bad when we’re done.”
“That’s why we fix our first draft in the edit,” the adult says reasonably.
The inner-child is immune to reason. “Uuuughghgh, that sounds boooorrrrring. HEY! Let’s play video games!”
The adult sighs, “We need to finish our book so we can start another book about another interesting topic.” The adult tries to lure the child into obeying but the kid’s not having it. The youth is smarter than that.
“And another book, and another book. What’s the point of it all?”
The adult pauses. He’s had these thoughts before but never came to any satisfactory conclusion. “What do you mean?”
“Is this really what you want to do? I mean, if you can’t do something well at first, why do it? And if it’s not what you’re supposed to be doing, then… you know. And it’s all kind of meaningless when you think about it, is this really helping people?” The child babbles on, hoping his many words will sway the adult.
The adult’s resolve weakens and the child sees an opportunity. “Hey adult, why don’t we just check Facebook and take a break? Or Reddit to check on politics? Or an article on the NBA finals, I know you want to know about that?”
“Or the impact of solar power on our future economy?” The adult says hopefully. He’s lost control of this ride and he knows it.
The child smirks, his smug lips curling in victory, “Sure thing adult Josh, we can do whatever you want.”
“Let’s write a blog post about how hard it is to control you.”
“As long as we don’t finish that book…”
And so it goes every single day. I’m not sure what is worse, knowing it’s happening and not knowing how to stop it or being blissfully frustrated at my lack of progress. I used to be unaware of the conversation between the adult and child in my head, but now it’s painfully obvious.
So, what do you do? How do you stop the child from running the show?
Maybe it’s as simple as stopping the madness and realizing that you don’t actually have different people talking in your head. That “the voices” are all you and you unfortunately have a side that doesn’t care about your best interests down the road. But you also have a side that does care and they are all you, both sides. The trick is to integrate them into one cohesive person. How do you do that?
Maybe I should just stop talking to myself and get to work.