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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I. Passion vs Career

How are you supposed to know at the beginning of like what's going to make you happy?

You can't know that. People will tell you, your parents will tell you "do this, study chemistry, go become a lawyer, it will give you a stable job, do this and it will make you happy", but like, how do they know? you don't even know, how are they supposed to know? how is anyone supposed to know?

We got this idea of a "career", and then we got this idea of a "passion".

And we really struggle because we invest time in this career, because it provdes safety: it provides money, it provides a nice place to live. Sort of a nice lifestyle.

And then we have this thing that excites us an is our passion.

And what tens to happen is that a lot of times when we're young and in our 20s, we see this fork in the road: should I choose my career or should I choose my passion?

And we're really stuck because a lot of times at this point we've already invested so much. So we've "wasted 6 years", or "I wasted 6 years of my life studying chemistry". "And if I quit it, then that 6 years becomes a waste".

And then we're kind of like, there's this fork in the road and what we're really trying to do is live a life without regrets.

It's like: which choice can I make that I won't regret?

The big irony here: It's the fear of not making a mistake that actually creates regret in your life.

It's super paradoxical, but we try not to make a mistake, why? because we don't want to live with regrets.

And the irony is that: it's our avoidance of making mistakes that causes us to live with regret.

The first thing that I'd say if you're struggling with this is: why are you asking this now?

The instinctual response would be: well, now I invested 6 years into this, I need to know now, whether I want to commit to chemistry or not.

Well, you could have made that choice at 5 years of study, 4 years of study, 3 years of study. So there's always this sense that we need to make this big commitment now. And that always comes back to the idea that we don't want to live our life with regrets. We don't want to make a mistake.

We have this idea that the way to be succesful is to choose our passion.

And we have this mythologized idea that some people make their passion work and that's what I have to do.

And when I look at this situation - when You Can't Choose Between Your Passion & Career - what I really see is like a fear of regret.

So what drive people crazy is like not knowing what to do.

And then that begs the question: why do you have to know what to do?

"- Well that way I don't make mistakes"
"- Okay, so what's your understanding of how you develop a career, how do you develop your path? like, how does this stuff work? 6 years to figure out you don't like chemistry is not a waste, that's the price of knowledge."

So the question is: "Should I pick chemistry or should I pick music? what is the right choice?". And what is the right choice? it's the one you're not going to regret, it's the one you're going to be happy about. But how on Earth do you know what you're going to be happy with?

Like think about that for a second:

  • Let's say you pick your passion, you pick music, and nothing works out after 2 or 3 years. Then what? then you're going to have a regret.
  • Let's say you pick chemistry, and then in the back of your mind you're like "well, I should have picked music", "I should have", then you're going to have a regret.

Because you don't know, you can't see the future. So if you can't see the future, you can't make the right choice.

So then the question is: how do I choose if I can't make the right choice?

THAT'S WHEN PARADOXICALLY YOU CAN BE FREE
.

Recognize that wasted time is the price of figuring it out.

Like, how are you supposed to know at the beginning of like what's going to make you happy? you can't know that.

People can tell you, your parents can tell you "oh, do this, study chemistry, it will give you a stable job, do this, it will make you happy", but how do they know? like, you don't even know, how are they supposed to know? how is anyone supposed to know?

Figuring out what makes you happy in life is like something you got to figure out.

It requires experimentation.

So how do you choose? The first thing you got to do is recognize that you could be making a mistake.

You can't blame you for not making a mistake.

It's sort of like: If I go to Japan, and someone gives me 2 pieces of food and I have no idea what they are, like, if I try one am I going to like it or not like it? I have no idea, there's no way to know which one I'm going to like, so what should I do? I should just try one.

Like: pick one, you get to eat one.

And you're like: how the heck am I supposed to choose?

There's nothing I can base it on. (Exactly! so you need to gain more experience)

So recognize first of all, that the fear of making a mistake in life is actually what's going to cause you to feel regret.

Because what's going to happen is: you're afraid of making the wrong choice (but you have no information to make the right choice) so you're going to end up picking something, either food 1 or food 2.

And then something it's going to happen and you're like "maybe it's the wrong choice", then your mind is going to be like "oh, I should have picked the other one".

So, from the get go - recognize that you could be making the wrong choice.

PARADOXICALLY, THIS WILL ACTUALLY HELP YOU.

So what I would generally recommend for someone torn between choosing your career or passion, and I think this is generally speaking the safer choice: If you've invested 6 years in chemistry, and you're enjoying your life somewhat right now, I would say follow through with that.

You don't want to throw away that 6 years so easily.

I'm not saying that you don't want to throw it away, I'm saying that you should throw it away intentionally when you're 100% ready to throw it away.

And how do you know when you're 100% ready? When you've done it for a while, and then you really realize "ok, this is not for me, this is not what I want to do", that's when you're ready to throw it away.

So I'll give you an example:

When I talk to people who want to make career changes, what it tends to happen is you have one career, and then in a sense that career becomes so intorelable, that you have no choice but to quit.

And the interesting thing is: when you reach that point, there is no regret.

There is like 0 regret. It's like "okay, I tried this, I really gave it every effort possible".

"And it's really not working for me, I can't stand it anymore, time to let it go".

And they may say "oh, I wasted time" and stuff like that, you talk about that, but at the end of the day: let experience be your guide.

YOU CAN'T PREDICT THE FUTURE, SO WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE A GOOD DECISION IS EXPERIENCE.

So if you are on the crossroads: should I choose my career or should I choose my passion? I'd say take the safe bet for now, choose your career.

As you take the safe bet notice what happens to your passion of music.

Does your unhappiness increase with each passing day? that's a very very important question and data point.

WE TRY TO AVOID UNHAPPINESS, BUT WHAT WE DON'T REALISE IS THAT UNHAPPINESS IS GOING TO BE OUR COMPASS.

When we try to avoid unhappiness we don't have enough data and then we don't know what thing to choose.

The interesting thing is that - it's through the unhappiness that we know what feels right and what feels wrong.

So I'll give you another example:

I once talked to someone who was dating 2 people. Not really dating 2 people, dating 1 person, things fell apart, and he was trying to figure out: should I try to patch things together or not?

They dated someone else who on paper was a lot better for them. And they were like really struggling, so they came to me and they said "well, I've got a problem in my relationship", "well, what's your problem?", "I really don't enjoy being with this person at all".

Like, with that last person, being with them was amazing, but with this person it's just really not, I don't know, there's something wrong with me, do I have like a problem? We talked for a while, and kind of came to the conclusion that the heart and the body knows what it wants. They ended up choosing neither of them.

That's the other key takeaway: there's always a 3rd option.

A lot of time in life we think that choices are binary, but life is not like that, life is open, life is a sandbox game. You don't have to choose either one. There's actually like choice number 3. There's "none of the above", you can select that.

I think the key thing here is that: This person was right on paper for them, but they just weren't feeling it. This person is like: stable, they're not abusive, they treat me with respect, they care about me, they get me nice things for my birthday and stuff like that, they're like attentive and thoughtful. But I'm just not into them, there's no fun and no connection in the relationship.

That was kind of the conclusion that the person came to.

And then they were able to leave the relationship with like 0% regrets. But, if they have left too early, then they would have had a regret, because they would have never known.

But they gave it a fair shot. And then they let their experience, they let their unhappiness, they let their dissatisfaction, guide them.

The key thing to remember is that what makes that decision easy, what makes that decision free of regret, what really guides you, is that experience.

And it's the avoidance of that experience that causes regret.

If you're kind of making money in your job and you're like "I don't know if this is fulfilling enough", "I enjoy this thing, my passion is better"

You make that money for a while, you do your job, you don't enjoy it perfectly, and then you see what happens, can you manage this? is this good for you? can you tolerate it?

Or, what's going to happen is your unhappiness is going to increase, increase, increase, increase. And as your unhappiness increases, then your decision will become clear to you, and then you won't be confused, you won't be faced with this kind of thing.

"So what drive people crazy is like not knowing what to do", what's going to fix the lack of clarity? what is going to help you decide? your experience.

And then you're going to leave without regrets.

You're like "this is absolutely not the right thing for me", "I need to move on".

And then you may think: well, wouldn't it it be better if I left a year ago?

No, because you wouldn't have had the experience.

I don't really think so, because what I tend to see is that when you leave, with that degree of certainity, when you leave with that degree of confidence, it launches you into the new thing without any doubt and with an unbelieveable amount of passion and motivation.

You have so much appreciation for the thing that you choose now.

And if you try to choose now, one year earlier, what you're going to have is doubt and the possibility of regret. Because you'll never know.

Like, you are never going to know if chemistry was good for you. And then you're going to be stuck like "oh, did I make the right choice?", "did I make the wrong choice?".

SO GO TO THE END OF ONE ROAD.

Go all the way to the end of it. Or until you realize "this is not where I want to go".

And then walk back and take the other one.

Practically, what I'd suggest is that if you've invested a heavy amount of time, go for this and see how it works, play the safest option first and go to the end of the road. Maybe you'll like it, maybe not, and then you can move on to the other thing with full confidence. Pick the safest option and walk the full road.

The other thing is, don't worry about regrets, recognize that it's a coin flip.

Whatever you do could be the wrong choice, and that's okay, that's life. That's how you figure out what you want to do.

You can be like "at 28 I became a lawyer but I wasted so much time there, in between being undecided and making career changes, at 22 I could have been a great lawyer, like 6 years ago, and been such a good lawyer today". But that's not how it works.

This is the thing that I want to emphasize, people think that these 6 years are wasted.

Where as in my experience, overwhelming experience, it's not wasted, at all.

You will be amazed at what you learned in those 6 years that would help you with being a lawyer.

So even if you're a lawyer or chemist, doing something that you don't love for 6 years and doing a decent job, the ability to develop work ethics in the absence of motivation and passion is absolutely worth a 6 years investment.

Because when you move to music, whether you succed to music or not, you can't base it on your passion.

You can't base it on your interest, you're not going to be succesful that way. You need that work ethic.

You even need "hey, I'm choosing music after 7 years of being a chemist, I really got to make it work, because I have given up a lot to choose this". That kind of motivation, that kind of passion, that kind of sacrifice, will let you double down and do so much better.

You won't realise the value of what you've been given, until you'll have to make a real sacrifice to get it.

And this is why you can do great in music afterwards.

A lot of people can be streamline professionals, but you'll be like "this is my last chance at life", down to your final respawn, and after this you have to start the game over, like "I ain't giving this up".

That tenacitiy that you get that leads to success, what people don't realise is that comes from walking the road of failure.

It comes from making mistakes, it comes from living a life of like "no regrets, 100% in, walk the road until the end".

Then people are like: How do I find that tenacity and motivation? you make a mistake.

You choose something, you see what makes you unhappy, and then you're like "screw that, I'm done".

So the problem here is that everyone wants that passion but they don't want to pay the price for it. So pay the price, make a mistake, pick. In this sense I'd say pick the safest option, pick chemistry.

Because financial stability is really important.

And I'd kind of say do that route where: you work on your chemistry, you try to work on your music in your free time as a side hussle, you give that a shot, and then 1 of 2 things will become clear.

1. That you're actually doing okay as a musician in your free time as a side hussle. You start to get better, start to get better, start to get better, you really realize "okay, this is what I want to do, let me abbandon chemistry".

2. Or what's going to happen is you're going to realize "okay, I don't have the energy for it, I can't do music and chemistry at the same time". Months go by, you want to work on music, you want to work on music, you want to wrok on music, not happening, not happening, not happening, not happening. And then you get frustrated with it "I have to choose".

So Bill Gates dropped out of Harward College, right? but he went!

He didn't choose not to go. He waited until something was really important to him and worth dropping out.

So if you're trying to decide - should I try to drop out of this or not? I would say wait until something is worth it.

Because then you know, cause the interesting thing is the size of the sacrifice you make, cognitively, boosts your motivation by a comparable amount.

And we've seen this in a lot of interesting places.

When we have really really strong helicopter parents (overlyprotective parents, helicopter because like helicopters, they "hover overhead", overseeing every aspect of their child's life constantly) that live vicarously through their kids, that tenacity of wanting my kid to be No.1 is directly corelated to their perception of what they had to give up.

"I'm going to make sure my child is the best in the universe, because I got pregnant and had to drop out of college".

So in order to make that worth it, that tenacity, with being a helicopter parent, is through the roof. Is that bad for the kid? absolutely. But let's think for a moment where scientifically where that tenacity comes from? where does that motivation come from? it comes from the sacrifice.

So motivation can come from sacrifice, 100%. Your own sacrifice, not someone else's sacrifice imposed on you.

So if you want to find it, you got to pay the price. You have to pay the blood price. Have to. Got to pay that karmic price, call it whatever you want to.

And don't be afraid, mistakes are a part of life, that's how we know what to do.

So here we are, ahead of time, trying to figure everything out, which food should I eat for the rest of my life? That "rest of your life" sounds kind of fatalistic, it's not going to be the rest of your life, but it feels that way.

I've never tried anything, how do I know? If you get to pick one food for the rest of your life, should it be Mexican? should it be Japanese, Indian, American? I don't know how to pick. So try everything.

And there we are thinking "oh my god, I choose to eat Sushi today, I missed out on the Burger", it's like "okay, you can have a Burger tomorrow", but then you're like "I didn't eat Burgers 2 days in a row, I could have eaten Burgers 2 days in a row, I could have had!", "yes, you missed on that enjoyment, that's part of it, you got to pay the price of knowledge, to figure out what you want to do in life".

If you're stuck between 2 things, be prepared to make a mistake, and start with the safest option, walk the full road to the end of it, and then see what it is like.

As you choose 1 thing recognize that overtime, your soul will tell you whether this is the right move or not. And as that discomfort increases, that dissatisfaction increases, you'll know, that's your compass.

And then you'll move forward with a lot of energy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
II. Can people even change? How do you turn over new pages?

Like how do you quit alcohol? people are like "I woke up one day and just knew, enough was enough", it's like RNG? like lootbox kind of thing? where as everyday your mind wakes up, you are hammered and you vomit, you open a lootbox, and in the lootbox there is 1 out of 1000 chance that your mind will be like click "enough is enough". And then you won!

There's actaully a subconscious work that's being done. Much like your computer, I can look at the screen and I can see an image, but there are thousands or millions of calculations going on the processor all the time.

People go to rehab, 2 weeks, they're clean, they leave, they are clean for 1 week, they relapse. "Oh, crap", back to square 1. This happens, they relapse, go back to square 1, back to square 1, back to square 1, except it's not back to square 1.

How do you change a bad habbit? everyone is like "turn over a new page man, I woke up one day and realised enough is enough, I've had enough". The question is: why couldn't you wake up yesterday and realise enough is enough?

Why couldn't I wake up 5 years and realise enough is enough?

What is going on? you wake up one day and your mind is like "yeah, I had enough" ? "I'm going to start living my life regular now".

The first thing to understand, is that our mind is subconsciouly changing, without our awareness.

We sort of understand this, kind of. You know when you are struggling to understand something and it clicks? That's an example of "I don't understand it, I don't understand it, I don't understand it" and it clicks "oh, now I get it".

But what is the process that is going on? Is it basically RNG? No. There's actually a sub-conscious work that's being done.

Much like your computer, you can look at the screen but there are a thousand or millions of processes in the background, even with the monitor off, there's like stuff going on. So your brain is the same way, your mind is the same way, there's tons of subconscious processing.

There's something that people with addictions really don't understand and it really causes problems. Some people are like "enough is enough, I'm going to be sober", they go to rehab, 2 weeks, they're clean, they leave, they're clean for 1 week, they relapse. Oh, crap, back to square 1. They go drinking for 6 months, come back "I need to get clean", "how long where you sober the last time?", "I was sober for 3 weeks, 2 of those were in rehab so I didn't have access to alcohol, so 1 week is what counts", "okay, let's give it another shot".

Go to rehab, 2 weeks, this time they are sober for 2 months. They relapse. Go drinking for 8 months, come back. So this happens, they relapse, go back to square 1, back to square 1, back to square 1, except it's not back to square 1, your brain is actually learning how to relapse less.

This is the skill.

We think about sobriety or these things with addiction in general as binary. Turn over a new page is binary. You either do it, or you don't. It's like clear progress form like A to B. The page is turned over. It's done. But it's not like that, the mind is fluid, we're going to flip that page back over, and then we're going to flip it again.

So what should you learn? you should learn the skill of flipping the page. Because right now what happens is - I flip the page once, I make progress, I'm sober for 30 days "whooho!", and then I relapse. And then I beat myself up.

Not only did I relapse, now I have to deal with the shame and the self-judgement of "I screwed it up, I had everything and I screwed it up, oh my god, I screwed it up". And then you need to drink even more. Because now there's not only addiction, but now there's the screwed up pscyhology, there is the shame that goes with that, there is the patheticness that goes with that, there is a sense of powerlessness that goes with that.

We pile up all these negative emotions because we turned over that page and it flipped over again and I am to blame. And so it makes it twice as hard.

So understand that turning the page is a skill, is a process, is not binary as in you either do it or you don't. It's you do it, you become better at it, then you relapse, then you do it again, you become better at it, then you relapse, then you do it, you become better at it. And with each new turning of the page you become better at it, your mind learns, it learns a new skill, you make progress, you get better and closer to full sobriety.

So don't have shame and self-judgement because it's part of the process. It's not a failure, it's part of the process.

So first thing you got to understand is that turning over a new page is a process. It's going to flip back over and we're going to learn how to flip it again. It's a subconscious process, it happens slowly, so there's certain things that you can do to accelerate it.

So turning over a new page is not like something that you just do, it's something that happens for a long time and then like it sort of gets done.

All we see is the people who go to gym everyday, we don't see the 4 years it took them to start going to the gym. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger said that his first contact with the gym was going to the gym, and then saying he will never go to the gym again. It wasn't until much later that he started going to the gym and be consistent at it without interruptions.

We don't see that. I mean, sure we see that, but we see it at everyone who is not at the gym. You go to the mall and there are like 1000 people who are struggling to go to the gym. But we don't realize, we don't connect those dots, so it's a subconscious process that happens slowly.

Now, there are certain things that you can do, to accelerate this process, this is the concept of stages of change & motivational interviewing.

There are people that are in 5 fundamental psychological stages.

The first is called pre-contemplative "I'm not thinking about it yet, I'm not thinking about turning over a new page, I don't new to turn over a new page, I don't want to turn over a new page", this is pre-contemplative.

In addiction is also called "denial". This person is in denial, they don't think they have a problem. They are not contemplating a change.

Second stage of change is called contemplative "Now I'm thinking about it, but I'm not ready to make a change". So there are advantages of turning over this new page, but there are also disadvantages, this is where most people trip up.

Because when we get to this sentence "I'm so miserable and I can logically improve my life easily if I could just get myself to do it". What does this person not understand? The downside of getting yourself to do it.

Because they are seeing that logically, I could get all these benefits, but what does it cost you? this is the contemplative stage.

So the contemplative stage is characterized by ambivolence.

Which means internal conflict. And so what happens is people look for solutions, but internally they're not motivated to change. This is why the self-help industry is a thing.

Why do people keep buying self-help books? because self-help books give you solutions that you're not going to engage in. So they work. They prey on the contemplative, because remember, the pre-contemplaive person doesn't have a problem. So he doesn't even need the self-help book. It's the contemplative person who is not motivated to change but wants to change, that will buy the book, that will make things easy for me. That's what you're looking for from a book, to make things easy for you.

Looking to magically remove the cost of changing. To magically remove all the sacrifices you have to give up.

So when you're contemplative you have internal conflict: there is a part of you that wants to change, there is a part of you that doesn't want to change. The problem is, all we see is "oh, my god, imagine how awesome my life would be, logically it would be so much better if I can change, if I can change, if I can change, OMG this would be great, this would be great, this would be great, I can do this, I can do this, I can do this" which doesn't work.

Or you can be like "Oh my god, if I don't do this in 3 months I'm done, oh my god I'm on thin ice right now and I need to do it, oh my god the situation is more risky right now and I really need to do it" which may give you a temporary short boost of ambition because "I don't do this in 3 months I'm done" so it's suddenly a risky situation and you feel motivated because of the urgency, because we don't like to lose things, even if its the temporary loss of decision making possibility "if I don't do that now, I will never be able to do it, so I need to get on myself and do it", this is why sales work because we feel that we lose our permanent decision making ability if we lose the sales so our freedom is cut in half and it boosts our sense of emergency and urgency, giving us motivation, but it's not sustainable. It's the fear of having your freedom limited because we don't like having our freedom limited "If I don't do this now, I will never be able to do it", which can boost you, but can only boost you for a limited amount of time, it's that sense of urgency that boosts you. The "oh my god, now the situation is dangerous, if I don't do it now I'll lose it" can give you a temporary short boost of ambition but it's not sustainable. This is why procrastinators who manage to complete everything in the last few hours manage to do it, it's that sense of emergency that boosts them. Because if they don't do it, they will have their freedom limited.

But in order to fully solve the issue from the bottom-up, instead of focusing on the positive or the sense of emergency or urgency, look of what it costs us to change.

And the truth of the matter is that the cost of changing is higher than the cost of staying the same. That's why we stay the same.

Why do people get and stay addicted to stuff? It's because "As long as I have the alcohol, I don't need to worry about my problems". It's a benefit, a plus, a benefit and plus that you lose once you give up on alcohol.

So like, now you give someone a choice:
A) Drink this, possibly you'll vomit, BUT, for the next 8 hours you won't have to worry about a damn thing in the world. Life is good.

"I don't want to worry about anything for 8 hours, I'll take the bottle", "because I won't vomit everytime".

There is a benefit to it, and people often don't see that. And that is the cost you need to pay when giving up an addiciton. Giving up on that hidden benefit you didn't know you had but were doing it for it.

So we don't think about the cost, we're stuck in this ambivolance. There's a part of us that wants to change, a part of us that doesn't want to change.

SO WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOU'RE AMBIVOLENT? THINK ABOUT THE COST.

Really think about what would happen if I changed.

What would I have to give up if I changed?

This is where your mind will tell you "there's nothing, you are not giving anything up, there is no cost, there's no point, you're not getting anything from doing alcohol", of course you're getting something from doing alcohol. You would not be doing this unless you got something from it.

And the more idiotic it seems, the stronger the reinforcement is.

So we look at something like drugs addiction. Drug addiction ruins lives on a colossal scale: I'm going to get divorced, my kids are going to hate me, I'm going to burn through my life savings, I'm going to lose my job, I'm going to get HIV, I'm going to get other diseases, my teeths will fall off, I'm going to become homeless, I'm going to be assaulted, so why am I doing this? there is a benefit!

What do they have to give up if they changed?
relaxation, a lot of relaxation. Why do they need relaxation? becuase their life is a mess and they need relaxation to ignore and forget the fact that their life is a mess. They don't want to deal with the demons they have in the basement, because they don't feel good when doing that.

Actually working towards improving your life doesn't feel good, it's a costly and tiring process. And they've already made a huge mess of their lives, so they already feel like they are playing with a handicap. Not to mention, they aren't even sure if they can make it right.

So when you're faced with that dielma of: experiencing negative emotions and steadily working towards actaully improving your life when you're playing with a handicap because of the mess you made in your basement and are not even sure if you can make it right in the first place, so all your efforts could be for nothing. Versus, relaxation, a lot of relaxation, to ignore and forget the fact that their life is a mess and not deal with the demons they have in the basement, because they don't feel good when doing that.

Are they willing to give up on the relaxation and accept the possibility that they are going to have to be playing with a handicap because they've made more mess in their lives than most people and have a lot of to fix and even then accept the uncertainity that there is the possibility of failure so all you're trying to do may not succeed even if you try? because that's quite the cost to take it.

Superficially, it may seen like the cost is a little relaxation in order to get yourself to work for yourself and the improvement of your future, it seems like one small decision with one clear good choice. But if the cost is so small, just having to give up on a little relaxation, why don't you do it? There is more beneath the surface, there is more beneath the iceberg, and the better you understand that iceberg, the better you get.

It's all about understanding the mechanism. If you can understand the mechanism, you can beat it.

So what people need to understand is: the more you throw your life away, think about how much the drug has to give you, think about how much that addiction has to give you in return.

In order to pay that price of losing your home, the benefit has to be greater than that. Remember we don't make trades that are bad for us. We don't make trades unless they are good for us, as human beings. So the addiction has to give you something greater in return.

So if you're stuck you really need to think about: what do I get out of being here?

And you may say "I get nothing, I'm miserable", no, you get something.

Because here is what happens: when you try to change you start paying that cost and that's why you don't follow through with the change.

Because you start paying that cost and you're like "oh, hell no!".

Because your conscious mind doesn't know the cost, or the benefit you get by not doing that, but your subconscious mind knows it. That's why you don't do it, that's why you don't feel like it despite wanting to do it, that's why it seems so easy and so logical and so much the right choice and so much in the right decision to do, but you still won't do it, in spite of that.

So, what you have to do is bring the cost or the benefit you get by not doing that to the conscious mind by doing that. Gaining a reality-check. Because when you actually do it, you start o realize the cost, you start to experience the cost, you start to actually see what it's like. That thing your subconscious mind was so afraid of, you will become aware of it now. And then, you will have a decision to make: is it worth it or not? is this worth it for the benefits or not? Maybe the addiciton of alcohol doesn't always give you something greater in return, but you percevive it as greater so you go for it.

You got to clear out all the blank spots.

When you're not doing it, it's hard to imagine the cost. Your mind will go like "it's nothing, it costs nothing, it's just that I'm lazy and I can't do it", no, you're not lazy, you're not not doing it because you're lazy, it's just that there is something there that is stopping you from doing it. A cost. A cost that you are not aware of. So you have to do it for a while, see what the cost is, and then ask yourself: am I willing to pay this cost for this benefit? is this worth it? What do I have to give up? What am I to gain from this?

Like going to the gym. What do you have to give up for that? Well, you will have to give up staying up until late, waking up later, eating unhealthy food and wasting your days doing video games. In other words, the cost is going to be that you're going to have to be a little more disciplined. Are you willing to pay that cost?

Again, you are not going to fully realize the cost until you start actually doing it and paying the price of that cost, until you start actually experiecing that cost
.

Then you can see what the cost really is like, and whether it's really worth it or not. Maybe it's not really a bad cost, maybe just your mind perceived it as a bad cost and it wasn't.

Maybe this sedentary lifestyle doesn't always give you something greater in return and the cost you're going to have to pay isn't that great, you can take it, you can give up easily on that staying up until late, waking up later, eating unhealthy food and wasting your days doing video games for those long-term benefits, but you don't percevive as such so you don't go for it. You perceive the cost as greater so you don't go for it. This is why you'll need a reality-check. This is why you need to start doing it and paying that cost so you can realize what that cost is.

MAYBE THE SACRIFICE ISN'T THAT GREAT BUT YOUR MIND PERCEIVES IT AS SUCH.

Maybe you're like "it wasn't that bad". Or maybe not, and the cost was greater than the benefits, and then you still have to ask yourself: am I willing to pay that price? is this cost worth it?

Your subconscious mind knows the cost, that's why you are not doing it, but your conscious mind doesn't know the cost, and that's why you have no idea why you don't want to do it. That is why it seems logical and easy to do it, it seems like the right step, you just can't seem to get yourself to do it for some reason. You just need to do it for a little to actually realize that cost. And then decide for yourself if you are willing to pay that cost or not.

Bring it to the conscious mind and realize if the cost is worth it or not, that's how you train yourself in the skill of flipping the page. And as you flip the page, you become better and better at flipping the page because your brain trains itself to flip the page, your RPG character invests experience points in the skill of flipping the page, you learn how to flip the page and you become better, you become better at it.

This is the reason why it is always the hardest at the beginning. In any skill, including flipping the page, the beginning is always the hardest because you don't know what to do, you have 0 experience, you have 0 damage, you suck. But as you gain experience and skill points in that area, by doing it, by practice, it starts to become easier and easier. It starts to become more second nature.

It's like fighting a level 50 boss when you're level 1 versus level 10. Sure you still die at level 10, but you clearly did put up much more of a fight at level 10 than level 1. You survived longer and dealt more damage, because you have more experience and skill points.

True, you still die, you lost the game and now you flipped that page back, but now you got far more experience and are level 15 and with better stats and experience points in flipping the page, now you're going to last even longer against the Level 50 boss. Try to make the most out of your raid boss experience and you'll get even more skill points.

Sure, in most RPG games you don't get any XP if you don't beat the boss, but that's not how it works in real life, you get XP even if you lose to the boss. And the progression level is more like in Skyrim than in World of Warcraft, you gain more experience by actually doing it, you improve your one-handed swordman skill by doing one-handed swordman skill stuff rather than by investing points into one-handed swordman skill after you level up.

Wouldn't it be better if you were fighting a level 10 boss? sure, but the addiction and not going to the gym is your level 50 boss. There's no point farming mobs you can already beat. Just like in video games, you don't get much XP by that, and you stand still as a character. I suppose you can partionalize your goals to fight a much lesser boss, "I won't drink wine or wiskey, only beer" so you face a level 30 boss now, but it's equally possible and easy to fight that level 50 boss. There you get far more XP than against the level 30 boss. Whatever works best for you, the goal is to bring that cost to the conscious level.

That's what your mind says, so you have to honor that part, of the cost you have to pay. Because you don't want to pay that cost unless you know what it is.

Because turning over the new page isn't the problem, the problem is keeping the new page that way, not flipping it back, not slipping back into patterns.

So instead of people being like "oh, how do I go to the gym?", you've been to the gym hopefully once before. The question is: why did you stop?

What happened within you that caused you to stop? You stopped because you had to pay that price now. And you didn't liked it.

So after the contemplative phase, comes the planning phase. This is where people are like "okay, I really do want to change", people want to jump to one solution, where as in the planning phase we have to really think through our actions. What is the best way to change? what gives us the greatest chance for success?

SHOULD I GO TO THE GYM? SHOULD I DO CROSSFIT? SHOULD I ORDER WEIGHTS AT HOME? SHOULD I DO BODY WEIGHT EXERCISES? SHOULD I DO FITNESS STUFF ON YOUTUBE? WHAT WORKS FOR ME?


So you have to really think about whole stituation, what will set you up for success the best.

Then you give it a shot, then you go to the action phase.

The 4th cognitive stage, the action phase. If you set up your planning properly you'll make your action more likely to succed.

And then you enter maintainance & relapse which is the 5th phase.

SO YOU EITHER YOU'RE GOOD THEN. OR YOU SCREW UP AND YOU KIND OF GO BACK TO ONE OF THE EARLIER STAGES.

Like "eh, it's not for me", you're back to pre-contemplative. Or like "man, I really don't want to do that anymore, there is a part of me that wants to be healthy, but there is a part of me that doesn't", you're back to contemplative stage.

I think it's our lack of awareness of our internal conflict, which is why it feels like there is an iceberg underneath the surface when we try to change.

Because we're not aware of that iceberg, it's there, when you bring it to the surface. Through awareness.

And awareness of the cost is the first thing.

So if you're stuck, and you want to turn over a new page, the main question that you need to ask yourself is: what is the price of turning over the new page? what is it going to cost me? what do I have to give up on? can I do it? can I pay that price? am I willing to do it? Is all about awareness of the cost. The goal is to become more aware of the cost, because the more aware of the cost you are, the more willing you are to do it.

There is also the possibility of realizing "it's not as bad as it looks" or "it's not as bad as it seems". Being a difference between the actual cost of paying that price and the cost of paying that price in your mind. Being much greater in your mind than it is in reality. This is the case sometimes, in certain things, where you get to say, "oh, it wasn't that bad".

Maybe it's not really a bad cost, maybe just your mind perceived it as a bad cost and it wasn't. Maybe this current lifestyle of yours doesn't always give you something greater in return and the cost you're going to have to pay isn't that great. Like if you're playing video games, what are you going to have to give up for improving your life? a little entertainment.

But even in the events where it was that bad, you still have to ask yourself: am I willing to pay that price? is this cost worth it?

First and foremost you need to actually do it, to get a reality-check of the actual cost. Not the cost in your head, which can be greater or smaller than the actual cost. Either way, you're better off knowing the price than not knowing the price. Because then you can make your decisions objectively, much more realistically. And the best way to know that price is to actually do it for a while and see what that price is.

Realize what that cost is and start paying that cost. See what it's like, you're better of either way. Either, it's easy, and if the cost is so small, just having to give up on a little relaxation, why don't you do it? or it's hard, but at this point you have already evaulated your cost and can make a much more objective decision in terms of whether or not you are actually willing to do it. You know you're going to have to stop eating pizza and sleep at 12 PM at most if you want to go to the gym, you know you're going to need to have those 8 hours of sleep, this cost can be either hard or easy for you, you don't know, but the fact that you tried it already makes it a bit easier than it previously was, because you're building that flipping the page skill.

Maybe the addiciton of alcohol doesn't always give you something greater in return, but you percevive it as greater so you go for it. Maybe you're like "what the heck? why the heck did I even start drinking? this doesn't make any sense, because this, right now, is good". Or maybe you're like "I need more alcohol, give me more alcohol, I need more alcohol to make me forget, because if life is so crap right now, and everything is so shitty and my only shutting off solution is doing alcohol because I can't deal with reality, I have too many skeletons in my closet or demons in my basement that I need to deal with and I can't, too many dirty laundry", it needs to give you something in return, alcohol needs to give you something in return, the same is true for gambling or other types of drugs. It's an escape from reality. And if you want to get over it, you need to pay that cost of being in reality.

DO NOT LET QUESTIONS UNANSWERED, EXPLORE YOUR MIND. THINK OF ALL THE POSSIBILITIES AND THE QUESTIONS. DO NOT LET BLANK SPOTS. YOU GOT TO CLEAR OUT ALL THE BLANK SPOTS.

And your mind will jump to one answer, and you'll think "oh, that's not sufficient, that's easy price to pay", but then when you try to actually do it, you'll notice all kinds of other prices. Costs that you didn't realize.

And it's going to be small stuff too, like going to the gym means waking up at 7 AM, "holy crap", "I didn't even think about that", "I don't want to wake up at 7", "I'm not willing to wake up at 7".

Waking up at 7 AM means trying to go to bed at 10 PM which doesn't work because I can't sleep and I'm tossing and turning all night, because I'm used to stay up until late and sleep in the morning. And I could try spamming coffe in me in the morning and going outside without trying to go to sleep, so I can at least go to sleep at a more reasonable hour like 3 PM and then I'll wake up like 12 PM, which means I'll be awake and ready at 7 PM when I have to go to the gym. And then I can fix my sleep further to something like 6 PM or 8 PM, 9 PM to get a normal sleep schedule.

"But I'm not falling asleep anyway, let me just hop back in the computer, let me watch something", "it takes me 4 hours to fall asleep, screw that!", "and I'm tierd the next day, screw that too!".

So then your mind is thinking: why would I want to toss and turn for 4 hours to not go to the gym next morning because I'm too tierd? Because that's how you develop the habbit of going to the gym. You won't go to the gym today, but you will go to the gym the next day because you will develop the habbit.

SO YOU NEED TO STREAMLINE YOURSELF, EVEN IF IT DOESN'T WORK RIGHT NOW.

That's the cost. Yeah, you got to do that again. "But I'm not even going to the gym, why would I have to pay the price of tossing and turning for 4 hours when I'm not even going to the gym?", because if you do that enough times maybe one day you'll go to the gym. "Pfft, screw that". And that's the cost. And that's why we don't change.

Why is it important to act like you're going to the gym even if you're not going to the gym? because even if you pay the cost and you don't go to the gym, you streamline yourself.

That is the cost of developing the habbit of going to the gym, constantly doing it, even if it doesn't work the first time. Even if it didn't work today, it will eventually work tomorrow because you will develop the habbit.

It's different from addiction where the cost is the pleasure, the relaxation or the lack of worries that you don't get, the escape from reality, but in principle it's similar because the cost is doing something you don't want to do so you can actually do that thing you want to do.

The cost is discipline in the case of gym, to streamline yourself, the cost is looking for ways to fix your sleep schedule and doing it, you have to pay the cost of trying to fall asleep and getting disciplined if you want to go to the gym the next day. And even if you fail, you have to pay that cost again. That's how you get disciplined with the gym, by paying the cost again and again until you make it. You have to wake up at 7 AM and be consistent in this if you want to go to the gym, and no more sleep schedule dereglation.

You know you are doing that for a good cause, subconsciosuly, but consciously, you don't want to pay the price. What do I need to do to achieve this goal? that's the cost. What do I need to give up on? that's the cost. In the case of gym is giving up on sleep schedule dereglation and having to wake up at 7 AM each day and be consistent. In the case of addiction you need to give up on the pleasure, the relaxation or the lack of worries that you get by avoiding reality. But that's how you get disciplined and train your mind, by paying the cost again and again until you make it. You play your role, pay the cost, and streamline your mind. You don't necessarily play your role, you learn, and become better at it.

Remember Arnold Schwarzenegger's case with the gym? He first went to the gym and left. Then went to the gym and left. It was only later that he went to the gym and became consistent at going to the gym, because he trained himself to go to the gym, he flipped that page fully but it wasn't before flipping back and fourth numerous times. Because remember, that flipping the page is a skill, is a process, is not binary as in you either do it or you don't.

Instead of focuing on the positive or the sense of emergency or urgency, look of what it costs us to change, to understand and internalize how does this work.

So how do you turn over a new page? Try to think a little bit about where you are on the spectrum. Is it really a problem? do you think is a problem? are you conflicted? and even after the conflict, have you really thought through the best way to turn over the new page?

Because once again we are thinking, turning over the new page is binary, how do we turn over the new page? no, there are 1000 ways to turn it over. Right? you can turn it over this way, you can turn it over that way, and they all make a difference for your likelyhood of success.

And then there's the action: you really have to plan it out. What am I going to do? when am I going to do it? where am I going to do it?

And then there's the action and then there's feedback over the action: it may not work, it may work, it may work partially. Ok, like, how do we want to change that a little bit?

"Everything is so hard", you're damn right it is.

BUT ONLY AT THE BEGINING.

The realization that everything is so hard, is a consequence of awareness.

Because our whole lives we try to forget, we try to forget our basement. And once we step into our basement, which we've been throwing crap into for a long time, it becomes clear there is a lot of mess in there and it looks overwhelming.

THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT IT ONLY FEELS SO HARD AT THE VERY BEGINNING.

The only reason it is so hard it's because we've left it and neglected it for a decade. That's why there's so much stuff to do.

If you feel like it feels hard, you're on the right path. You can even let it discourage you, but don't let it stop you from acting, do something. Tiny step, tiny step, tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny step.

Keep taking steps. Because then what will do is will start to get easier and then you are off to the races. Then life becomes easy. And I kid you not, life can absolutely be easy. Life can be joyous, life can be easy, life can be successful, all of these things are possible if you can commit yourself to actually do it and get a reality-check of the actual cost, to become aware of the cost and work on that. And the great irony is that it turns out to be a lot easier than most people think.

Just like most things in life, once you get into it it turns out to be easier than you expected. Isn't it always a bit scary? Not always, the beginnings? sure. The beginning is always scary, when you're ignorant is always scary, when there is an unknown it's always scary. But once you know, once you have experience, once you have confidence, is there a danger? sure, but is it scary? no longer.

Because you have faith in yourself. Then, even the negative outcomes stop being scary. "But there are tragedies that are too devastating no?", they've been devastating thus far, they don't need to be going forward.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
III. How to think long term and really look into the future

Procrastination, or postponing, is about not being able to bring ourselves to do the things that we know we want to do. Procrastination, or postponing, is not a disease or about genetics. It's more about the decisions that you make, the decision not to do what you need to do now, but to do it later instead.

Procrastination, or postponing, is really like you're having an argument in your head, isn't it? One part wants to work, another part of your brain wants to go watch a movie. And for some reason, you always manage to convince yourself "oh, it's okay, I'll do it tomorrow, I don't need to do it now". For a week.

So what exactly is going on inside our brain when we procrastinate? Well, there actually is an argument in our heads. Between the limbic system (animal/monkey part of our brain) and the prefrontal cortex (superior/human part of our brain).

The prefrontal cortex is the part of our brain that tells us: "You should work, Joe, you have a 20% assignment due tomorrow", "and you cannot do it in an hour" or "and you cannot do it in a week". This is a higher level part of your brain.

The prefrontal cortex is also the part of our brain that tells us: "even if you can do it in the last minute, you would be much better doing it now while you are relaxed and take your time to think about what is best to add into the assignment", "you would make a much better quality assignment and without worries if you do it now and take your time relaxed than if you do it later and are in a hurry and have a sense of emergency, that sense of urgency may help boost your motivation to do it but will not do miracles for the quality of your project or your mental being while working at it rushed, stressed. Rather than trying to make the best project possible you will be thanful that you even managed to finish the project and pass with a C, if you even manage to finish it".

The other part of your brain involved in postponing is the limbic system, this is a more primitive part of your brain that wants to watch another episode of Doctor Who before you start studying.

The limbic system doesn't care about what you have stored in for the future, the limbic system doesn't care if you want to become an astronaut, programmer, doctor or whatever. The limbic system just wants to have fun. That's all it sees, all the limbic system sees is the present, it doesn't care about the future. We share the limbic system with the mamals like cats, dogs, monkeys, bats, etc. Where as the prefrontal cortex is unique to humans and is our ability to plan for the future. Something which the animals can't unless it comes from natural instinct.

So why is it that the limbic system always seem to win the argument? stress.

Because when we are stressed we react with the fight or flight reaction. The fight or flight reaction is the part within our brain, within our limbic system that knows only how to do 2 things: fight or flight
. It is an automatic response that mamals including humans have adopted for threatening situations. When you are threatened and in danger, you don't want to think about the future, you don't want to think about what will you do in 2 weeks for now or that school project you didn't finish.

When you are threatened and in danger you want to be fully in the present, fully in the here and now, and make the decision whether you want to fight the danger or flight the danger. It's a great tool for our survival. Because if you were in the jungle and a tiger started roaring at you, what will you do in 2 weeks for now is the last thing you want to think about because if you don't want to deal with the danger of the tiger right now you won't have 2 weeks from now to live. You want to deal with the tiger, fight or flight, and only then you'll see what you'll do next.

It's a great survival mechanism that ensures we are in the present moment when it matters, when there is an immediate danger or threat to us. It snaps us out of our thinking and puts us in the present moment, in the action.

And the organ within the limbic system responsable for this flight or fight response is called the amygdala. The amygdala is the part of your brain that controls fear, anxiety and the fight or flight response to threatening stimulus.

So for example, if you are in the jungle and you see a wild lion in the distance, what do you do? but what if you see a teacher approaching you when you haven't done your homework? What is the response in amygdala? The first thing you do is freeze, your palms get sweaty, your heart starts beating fast and your prefrontal cortex the decision maker shuts down.

Because if you see a wild lion in the jungle, and are in a stressful situation, you don't want a voice in your head to remind you that you have an essay to write. You have to focus on what is going on in the world around you and responding to physiological needs, for your own survival. That's what the amygdala wants to help you to do, to survive.

But do you see the issue? Whether it's a wild lion in the distance or a teacher approaching you when you haven't done your homework it's all the same to the amygdala. Threat is threat. Danger is danger. Regardless of the nature of the threat or danger. It doesn't make the difference.

This fight or flight is a great response when you have a lion chasing you, the best, but at the same time it's a terrible response when you have a teacher approaching you when you haven't done your homework, one of the worst in fact. Or when you have a form of stress that arises from any stressful situation within the modern world. Do you have problems with the bank and are full of debt and don't know how to get rid of this situation? fight or flight. Do you had an argument with someone and now feel stressed over that broken relationship? fight or flight. Because the amgydala can't tell the difference. It's all the same to you, whether you are chased by the lion or the credit card, for the amgydala it's all the same. Stress is stress, and it requires the same fight or flight response.

What is the problem with that? The problem is that when the amgydala activates we try to find short-term solutions to long-term problems.

If you are in a situation where you are being chased by a lion, it works, and your response will be fighting the lion or running from there. If you are in a situation where you have to give money but don't have money, it doesn't work, and your response to that stress will be doing the closest thing possible that will cause you to have fun: drinking beer, gambling, or any kind of self-destructive behavior just for the sake of having fun on the moment. This is a terrible response. Your function and your connection to the future and long-term thinking is just shut down by the limbic system who just wants to have fun in stresful situations.

The more stressed you are, the more likely to behave dumb you are, the more likely to behave short-term and not think about the long-term you are. The more stressed you are, the more likely to behave based on what gives you pleasure in the moment and not think about the future you are.

This is not entierly your fault, it's how our brains function. Because that's what the amgydala sees, the present, here and now, what happens here and now, it doesn't care about the future. If you feel great here and now, great, if you don't feel great here and now, bad. And that needs to be fixed, immediately. It needs to be fixed with a short-term solution, not with a long term solution that would be good for you.

And you feel bad here and now because you have a source of stress in your life, whether it is problems with the bank, being full of debt, not knowing how to fix a relationship, or whatever. Any kind of modern world problem will do. Clearly it isn't being a lion or dog chasing you because then the amygdala's response would be a good response and appropiate for the situation. And then the amygdala kicks with its desire to make everything work on the short-term. And, it doesn't care whether you want to save money or work on yourself, it just wants to have fun. And, oh boy, look at that drink or that gambling, how much fun you can have right there to solve your stress.

And that's what it does, it makes you want to go there and lose all your money or drink yourself to death into a bottle. Because you feel bad, and it wants to fix that feeling bad part of your problem and psyche. With an equally bad solution, one that has short-term gratification, it makes you feel good on the short term, but doesn't think of the consequences on the long term. Because there will be consequences on the long term. And that is how it got you trapped.

But, there is a solution to this, long term thinking. Focus on long term thinking. Think and plan about your future. Because the prefrontal cortex can override the amgydala, if you would just let him.

How is drinking yourself to death when you have financial problems and can't pay your rent similar to deciding whether you want to fight or flight when a tiger comes to get you? because remember, the spawn from the same process. They are similar in the sense that both require short term thinking in the here and now. Short-term thinking isn't always bad, or inherently bad, it's more about the when and where than being inherently bad. There is a time and a place for it, and a time and a place not for it.

Because remember, if you're being chased by a lion short-term thinking is going to be your greatest friend. You don't have time to contemplate whether you want to throw a rock at the lion or hit him with a stick. Before you decide the lion already ate you. No, you want to be in the here and now, you want to have immediate reactions, you want to be fully there in the fight. Now, imagine how this behavior translates to being in a bar after having a bad day with a lot of drinking and gambling opportunities around you. It translates as such: "you want to be here and now, with immediate reactions", what does that mean? go drink, go gamble. Don't think about it, you don't have time to think about it, because remember, the tiger is right there, behind you. It's the same reaction to the same stimuli. an excietement of the amygdala over the fact that you have a source stress in your life, a fight or flight response.

MRI brain scans show no difference in the activity of the brain when confronted with a stressful situation regardless of the type of the stressful situation. Whether you have to do a speech that you're totally unprepared for, just lost the your wallet or dogs are chasing you, the reaction of the brain is the same - switch to short term thinking mode, because that should solve the problem. And the more stressed you are, the stronger the desire to switch to short term thinking mode gets.

This is why we drink, smoke or gamble when we have a problem. We try to find short-term solutions, to long-term problems that don't require short-term solutions.

Drinking, smoking or gambling is our mind's way of thinking of ways to solve the situation, using short-term thinking. Basically: "me feel bad, me drink, smoke, gamble, me no longer feel bad, problem solved, crysis averted".

But the problem is not solved. It's clear as day that this is a temporary solution and as soon as you're done drinking, smoking, gambling, the cause of your strees will still be there because you didn't actually solve it. And you're going to need a lot more temporary fixing as in drinking, smoking, gambling, to fix that. And so the cyrcle repeats. You're making bad decisions and are doing worse and worse and worse. Because it's on the short term thinking mode your mind only has 2 paramateres: seek pleasure, avoid pain.

You are doing exactly what your amgydala says you should so in any type of stressful situation - shut off all the long-term thinking and only focus on the short term to protect yourself. Which long-term leads to bad decisions.

You are not doing what in fact you should be doing, which is a long term thinking and long term planning, for the betterment of yourself. The doing things early thing. The doing the things that would cause your stress to dissapear by treating its cause thing, rather than by engaging in drinking, smoking or gambling or any other form of distraction that does not solve the issue but only makes it worse. These are the kinds of solutions that today's stressful situations that are not life-threatening require.

That's all your mind sees when stressed, not solving the source of the stress but: seek pleasure, avoid pain. Responding to all stresssful situations with immediate fight or flight mode, that shuts down all the future thinking. And the drinking, in your mind, is the solution, not a solution, not a temporary solution, it's the solution.

Because you don't see further than that, you're not thinking about your future self and what is good for you. Because all your mind sees is the short term benefits it gains from that drinking or gambling. All your mind sees is the seek pleasure to avoid the crysis.

You are in front of a pub or a casino? there you have a decision: follow your mind or follow your logic. Follow your mind is: fight or flight, don't think about the long term. Don't think about what will you do in the future, what drawbacks you will have by actually playing the casino, and what you need to do in the future.

Or what drawbacks you will have by not doing the things that are required to solve your current problems early, when you still have time and can do it methodically: doing that assingment early so you have all the time in the world to do whatever you want afterwards and so you can do the assingment better and more calmly, not drinking alcohol or gambling so you add another problem on top of your already existing problem, fixing a relationship so the cause of the stress is gone.

Simply thinking: what is my problem, my real problem? how do I fix it? like a robot in a way, but sometimes robots make better decisions than humans, because they don't have that amygdala telling them to fight or flight when all they should do is everything but fight or flight.

That's how your mind opperates, because it's stressed, because it's stressed and the amygdala activates. This is why you are only drinking, smoking or gambling when you're feeling bad. Nobody becomes a heavy drinker out of too much joy in his life.

But you must resist that temptation, and take steps to become a better version of yourself by resisting that temptation and doing what needs to be done to solve the actual causes of stress in your life that makes your life so low right now, that's how you bring joy in your life.

While following your logic is doing what you know in the long term will be beneficiary for you, which is not playing at the casino and seeking ways to cure or fix the cause of the stress that causes you to be miserable in the first place. Which often translates to doing things early and doing the things you don't want to do, don't feel like doing, but you know are good for you. The things you know you want to do, but can't bring yourself to do it. The things that are very useful for the modern world where often the optimal play is to play the long term game: to do your assignment early at school so you won't have stress later and have time to make it right, to eat healthy and not spend money as they come.

Look at Arnold Schwarzenegger for example, do you think he got that fit by always going for instant gratification or by playing the long game even if there were no immediate results. Playing the long term game works. Because that's how the world of today is designed, with long term thinking and planning, not with immediate benefits.

If you want to gamble because you're stressed, don't. If you want to drink because you're stressed, don't. It's the amgygdala talking you into it, not your prefrontal cortex.

It's like the Marshmallow experiment, where you can eat 1 Marshmallow now, or wait 15 minutes and not do anything and eat 3 marshmallows later, or work yourself on the things you need to work yourself on and eat 5 marshmallows later, what do you want? 1, 3 or 5? The 3 and 5 requires long-term thinking.

The 1 is instant gratification and today and may be even harmful to you. Because it creates that bad cycle of self-destructive behavior described in the drinking, smoking and gambling seciton. There's more satisfaction and happines to be had from long term thinking and planning, and doing, but only if you are patient enough, and refuse to give in the temptations of the moneky brain, the amgydala, whose natural response to stress is to give you that 1 marshmallow because it's right now, it's in the moment, despite being a bad decision for you long term and not benefiting you with anything. Where are the 3 or 5 marshmallows that require long-term thinking could really change your life.

In that moment of fight or flight in front of the casino, your mind is telling you "don't think about the long-term", that's exactly what you need to do - think about the long term. Think about the long term consequences of your actions. And take steps to become what you actually want to become. You need to resist that temptation and actually work on the issues that cause your life to be so low in the first place, to solve the cause of that stress in the first place.

Whenever you procrastinate or postphone things, it feels good so you must be doing something great. Because remember, your brain doesn't tell whether the streesful situation is from having financial problems or from being chased by a tiger. It's all the same to it. One requires long-term thinking, the other requires short-term thinking, but it's all the same with the unadapted to the modern world brain.

So adapt your brain to the modern world and start going for long-term solutions to long-term problems, at the cost of instant gratification in the present and other form of distractions that does not solve the issue but only makes it worse.

When we are chased by a tiger, climbing in a tree or poking the tiger in the eye gives you pleasure, being bitten gives you pain, so it's an optimal response to that stresful situation. When we are in a plane crash, putting the oxygen mask gives you pleasure, so it's an optimal response to that stresful situation. But, when we have financial problems, something that requires long-term thinking to solve, and are not in an immediate dangerous situation, shutting down all your long-term thinking and doing the first thing that feels great to you, is no longer the optimal solution. It's a short-term solution to a long-term problem, and one that sabotages you. It's not good for you, but you don't care because you don't think long term due to the amygdala being activated.

When you have financial problems or any form of long-term stress, you should think long term, but your brain doesn't, it doesn't think begond that, it doesn't think: is this good for me? what benefits do I have from drinking when I'm already in a bad spot? what are the consequences of doing this bad thing now? or what are the benefits of doing this good thing now? No, it only thinks that it feels good right now so it must be the solution. It doesn't think about the future, because it doesn't need to, it doesn't have to, despite being the optimal play in life and the one that will bring you most benefits, most satisfaction and most happiness.

The problem is that we no longer live in the jungle where all stressful situation is life-threatening situation, and where being in the here and now is always the optimal response to a stressful situations.

The bug is that that here and now is not always the optimal response to a stressful situation.

But our brain didn't adapt this way, it still thinks that the here and now is always the optimal response to a stressful situation.

This is why we have the drinking, smoking and gambling problems and not doing anything about the actual problem problems. This is why we procrastinate, despite being bad for us, this is why we postphone the things that we know we want to do. Because they are a long-term solution to a stresful but not immediate dangerous type of situation, and our brain as in limbic system is always looking for short term solutions to these types of problems.

Because our primitive brains are not adapated to the modern world, but to the jungle days. And in the jungle days, there was no such thing as stresful but not immediate dangerous situations. You didn't have stresful situations of having to pay taxes or having to be in 2 places at one by 6. You had stressful life-threatening situation, not stressful long-term thinking required situations. You had situations a tiger in front of you or someone pointing a spear at you. Situations where shutting down all the future thoughts and only think of the present, was the right decision and the way to go, because it's a dangerous situation and if you die it doesn't matter what you thought you wanted to eat tomorrow.

So the 2 paramateres of seek pleasure and avoid pain did wonders when we lived in the jungle and our only worry was being eaten by a lion, it helped us survive this far, without it, we wouldn't be alive. But it no longer helps us survive and do wonders when our problems require long term thinking like: doing that assingment early so you have all the time in the world to do whatever you want afterwards and so you can do the assingment better and more calmly, not drinking alcohol or gambling so you add another problem on top of your already existing problem, fixing a relationship so the cause of the stress is gone. Because that's exactly what the amygdala tries to inhibit wrongly thinking that it will help us survive, but it's the other way around now.

That's where the rational mind comes into play, our superior brain, the ones we build cities with, it has us covered, buy the amygdala is stronger because it's a stronger impulse. And the more stressed you are, the stronger the desire to switch to short term thinking mode gets. It's trying to protect us, but it's doing it wrong, so the prefrontal cortex must override it by realisation.

It's that feel of "I'm going to do this now because it's going to benefit me later". To think of the long term benefits for your actions now. That's the motivation for your prefrontal cortex and it should be your motivation too. That's why your prefrontal cortex has that argument with the limbic system in the head whenever you are trying to do something bad, because he knows those things are bad and is trying to stop you, and you too know those things are bad because he is your prefrontal cortex, not someone else's, you just have to listen to him. Because the limbic system has more power because of the amygdala, but ultimately, you are the one making the decision.

Even if you don't find motivation in it right now, ideally you should just by realising this but if you don't, just do it, and later you will find the motivation in it and realise it's not as bad as it seems, 9/10 cases it's not as bad as it seems and you also develop muscle memory, which in turn it will help you make it easier the next time. In a way, you should think of your prefrontal cortex as your conscience, because in a way he is, he is the part that makes us humans, and separate us from animals, he is the part that allowed the humans to plan for long-term thinking, build cities, and do what animals can't do. Animals can only act on instinct, humans have a choice, you can do the right choice on the long term even if you don't see the benefits right now, and your choice is the conscience of the prefrontal cortex. Getting that feel of "why I need to do this". As previously explained in the marshmallow case and Arnold Schwarzenegger example. So listen to your conscience, listen to your prefrontal cortex.

Why you need to do this? Because in modern world:
  • Often the optimal play is to play the long term game.
  • The optimal play is to do your assignment early at school so you won't have stress later and have time to make it right.
  • The optimal play is to eat healthy and not spend money as they come.
Look at Arnold Schwarzenegger for example, do you think he got that fit by always going for instant gratification or by playing the long game even if there were no immediate results?

In life, the optimal play is to play the long term game. To do your school or work assignments early, etc.

So when stressed, use your prefrontal cortex and plan for the future. It will help you make much better decisions. Modern problems require modern solutions.
 

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Your questions are awesome @Dezir! I will try to respond to this one when I can and in smaller chunks.
 

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I. Passion vs Career

How are you supposed to know at the beginning of like what's going to make you happy?

You can't know that. People will tell you, your parents will tell you "do this, study chemistry, go become a lawyer, it will give you a stable job, do this and it will make you happy", but like, how do they know? you don't even know, how are they supposed to know? how is anyone supposed to know?
The BETTER and BETTER a parent gets, usually, the more and more time they spend (and it can be lessened if they give more and more quality time as time), with their kids, training them on the only thing in life that matters, wisdom.

Although it is reasonable for a person to ponder as you did implying that the universe or at least the experience of youth is ... 'unfair'; in point of fact there is little else quite so fair as 'having your time in the sun, starting with youth'. All cycles can SEEM to have a start and an end, but is that REALLY true or delusional?

It is delusional because all cycles are circles and have no beginning and no end. Unity IS NOT finally a delusion.

This means that really, the youth is in touch with eternal truth from the start and must come to accept this more fully, properly, by the end. One could say that is a sign of the end of the ends, when the young are born with old souls and only a scant bit of wisdom yet remains to be earned.

Thus ends installment 1 (ha ha - you'll have to wait for the next cycle)
 
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