Caught

June Maarten thought it would be fun to start a podcast so he kindly went ahead and made all the arrangements. There was no way back.

July Maarten figured that this would be September Maarten’s problem. He thoroughly enjoyed the holidays.

August Maarten experienced self-doubts and procrastinated. In the meantime, podcast man of the Podcast Library of the Central European University (CEU) asked about the Audacity exercises he was supposed to hand in. Podcast man also couldn’t help but notice that August Maarten still hadn’t delivered those practice interviews June Maarten said he would do.

Why do I always have to be this ambitious dude who wants to do stuff and forces his future self to get out of his comfort zone?

No more than three days before the end of the summer break, I did my first practice interview. It was so bad I didn’t even bother editing it. When I laid out this argument to podcast man in real life in September, he agreed that editing this interview wouldn’t be worth my time.

Apparently, I wasn’t being self-critical when I thought the interview wasn’t good.

I figured there was no point in chewing on that fact.

And on top of that, in a moment of sudden confidence, I asked four faculty professors to be human guinea pigs and also — because why not — approached a non-CEU philosopher to be my very first real guest on the podcast.

Philosophers generally like to hear themselves talk — I’m not an exception to this rule — so this guy replied within 15 minutes. Before any of the practice interviews were confirmed, the non-practice interview had been scheduled.

I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of this situation. The tyranny of my past self was now complete.

Gandhi said that, if he had no sense of humor, he would have committed suicide. Isn’t it funny that I use this kind of leverage technique on myself? It’s like tricking my future self in such a way that he can only reply, “Well played, sir.”

So I did the practice interviews. I spoke too fast, didn’t articulate clearly, would sometimes fall silent because I was nervous (this was awkward). I overprepared, underprepared, almost broke the microphone and even had someone say to me: “Maarten, I’m not answering that question.” (And I was like: Whuuut.)

Over time, my errors became a little bit rarer, I settled on a preparation routine that seemed to work for me, and actually caught myself having fun.

That’s really important, because if the conversation wasn’t enjoyable, it’s not good to listen to either. To perform well, you must have fun. That’s a peculiar situation to find yourself in.

Last Thursday at 3.30 PM, feeling anxious and excited at the same time, I pressed the record button to start my first real interview. I had now officially stepped into the trap.

One hour later, I left the studio. I felt on top of the world.


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