Logic can be your greatest ally or your worst enemy, and either side is dependent on the state of your mind. if your mind is your ally, then your logic will make the perfect lieutenant. If your mind is your enemy, then your logic will be the seduction that leads to your downfall.
When you decide to form good habits, you come up against something inside, something that wants to stop you, to push against you. This something is called resistance. The concept comes from Steven Pressfield’s “The War of Art” where he speaks of resistance as the enemy of writers and creatives. However, this concept applies to anything.
When it comes to forming good habit when combating your own logic, it will say things like, “Well, you don’t have to get rid of it completely, just mitigate it. Or, better yet, put aside some cash specifically for the expense. That way, you have money for your vice and you get to form that good habit you want to.”
Sounds about right, right? Sounds like a good idea, at least in theory, right? Well, it’s not. I’ll explain.
Whenever you encounter something that gives you a high dopamine release, it automatically links to the deeper willpower inside you. You have two will-powers, logical and animal. The animal willpower is what allows you to play video games for ten hours straight without pissing, eating, or jacking off. The logical willpower is what allows you to do that homework before the deadline.
The key difference: logical willpower is finite and runs out faster, the animal willpower is inexhaustible and will go as long as your body and mind goes. This is the willpower linked to survival and evolution, this is the willpower of the beast inside us all.
The key to making your logic your ally rather than your enemy is to link your animal willpower to something worthwhile (writing a novel, composing a piece of music, learning how to code, etc.) The thing about this is, you have to sacrifice what gives you that instant dopamine release for what doesn’t.
You have to switch from instant gratification to delayed gratification. You have to switch from short-term to long-term. And, the best way to do this is to make the things that give you high dopamine release (sugar, porn, fast food, etc) so difficult to get that your brain gives up on getting it altogether, and to make things that give you a low dopamine release (writing, coding, playing piano, etc.) the easy thing to obtain.
In short, create an environment where you have no choice but to do what’s best for you at all times. This will help you form good habits without expending massive willpower (which is why people go hard one day and quit the next)
Understand: the switch from instant to delayed gratification is a long and slow process, you cannot make drastic leaps otherwise you will have to expend massive willpower just to get started and you will be pitted against your logic and your mind which will still be addicted to the vice. You will always lose that battle because the mind has the animal willpower on its side while you only have the logical, if that.
Moral of the story: beware your own logic when trying to form good habits. The process from instant to delayed gratifications is slow and long. Start small and build, the key is consistency not quantity of work produced.
Alright, that’s my spiel. Til next week. . .