THE LONG TERM BENEFIT CONVERSATION
A VIEW AND A PERSUASION PROCESS
I will be editing and adding to this. If this is of interest to you so I'll finish it sooner.
I won't pretend that I will get you to the point of perfect perspective and balance, but I believe I can contribute, with your help in implementing it, to getting you more than 80% of the way, maybe even 90+%.
And when we attain that level, our lives will be hugely, hugely benefitted, as we'll be operating in a massively higher power in life.
So, I ask your patience, to have enough patience to learn about this. And I ask for your time in implementing this. The costs will be very small compared to the benefits.
This is a super-high payoff activity!
And, knowing human nature, I will attempt to have you obtain some short term and medium term benefits sufficient to keep you in the long term game.
Oh, yes, did I mention that I'm doing this for my own benefit. I believe it will be worthwhile for me to pursue this and refine it to the extent that I produce a greater capability and skill to produce long term benefits that I can enjoy as I go through life.
High health, eliminating the conflict of short term eating needs versus maintaining optimal weight, fixing (not procrastinating) skeletal-musculature dysfunction and any eye health, being rested optimally, having great energy all my awake time...
High productivity, not wasting time on low or no payoff activities or doing counter-productive activities, focusing my efforts on what will create a very high contribution to mankind (i.e. doing what is most meaningful to me), without boredom or distraction that draws me away from living to the highest while always "filling up" with "nutritional" psych energy creators. (By the term "productivity", I am not referring to business or the like, but about effectively "producing" and creating what one wants in life.
IT'S ABOUT BELIEFS
This whole problem lies in the realm of beliefs. Essentially, I will do what I believe (think) is best for me at the time whether it is a belief in my primitive mind or in my higher brain. I will do some things that are counter productive even though with greater perspective, it may be obvious that it is not what is best for me. (Beliefs are simply things we've conjured up so that we could operate well, or more simply, in life, or we took them on from others without questioning them. Basically, they are "if I do this, it will produce this particular result" or a rule on how things are and/or how they operate, which knowledge I can use to better live, such as "this is how the world/people is/are". We believe these are "the truth", but we have a massive number of false beliefs that do us harm.)
So, anyway, I have to deal with "false beliefs" or I'll keep getting undesired or less desirable outcomes - which is "not smart" to continue doing!!! (In fact, it is the opposite of what makes us successful in life! See Living Life As A Life Champion.)
I grew up with lots of fears and musts. And we evolved as humans to create certain explanations of why we do things, which I mostly bought into and was conditioned to believe.
And one thing that caused better survival is to automatically operate from patterns remembered from the past and to bring them up when the subject matter seems to be associated with a current situation. This was especially useful in recognizing threats and saving our rearends - so those patterns got a high priority, with very strong chemical emission to "motivate" us to do whatever it takes. (Learn The Chemicals In The Body -Balancing And Using Them For Functioning Better.)
However, the simple primitive limbic brain did not really "think these things out", as it is quite literal and mechanistic and not capable of logic. But notice that evolution added the next level, which must have increased survival or it wouldn't have happened: The cortex (aka the "higher brain"). The cortex has the ability to rethink patterns (decisions) that the lower brain just recorded without thinking. If we don't do that, we end up keeping on doing some things that are very unproductive and harmful, as suggested above.
So,I'm going to be stuck with the realistic limitation that I cannot do what violates the need to survive. To get around that, in a sense, I must "feed" myself some better information that causes me to "feel good", so that I am driven toward doing that which works. (I am impelled to do what makes me feel good or to do something else than what makes me feel bad.) If I do not think more clearly and deliberately create doing what produces a better results, I will often end up being run by "avoiding feeling bad/discomfort" in life. Notice that "avoidance" behaviors are generally unproductive and are often harmful (even fattening).
I DECLARE LONG TERM VALUE...
The unique ability of humans is that they can create something in the mind that doesn't exist in the world but it "has value" to us and is "real" to us. At the slightest level, we can say: "well, two cookies fifteen minutes from now will give me more satisfaction/pleasure than one cookie right now - so I'll choose to wait for my greater pleasure."
This involves what is called "discounting" the future figuratively and actually.
In money terms, we think that we can get a return on our money of some amount. Let's say that is 6% per year. If I receive money a year from now, it is worth to me now that sum that I get in one year, minus my cost of waiting for a year. If I spend a dollar right now, instead of investing it, I will experience an "opportunity cost" of now making 6% on the money over the next year - I am giving up, losing, not getting 6 cents that I have the opportunity of getting in one year. This means if I get a $1.06 in one year from now, it is worth the same to me as a dollar right now. The $1.06 is discounted (interest is subtracted), taking away some value ($.06), to a current value of $1.00.
However, in economics, we might psychologically value spending the dollar now alot more than getting more money to spend later. (We do not think rationally in economics, despite all the old theories. A psychologist won a Nobel Prize In Economics for proving how we actually behave. To get the general idea, you might want to read The Irrational Investor.)
Certainly how much we value a dollar right now will be different if we are starving right now. The value of that dollar right now is priceless. You couldn't give me a million dollars in a year that would equal the value of eating right now.
SO HOW DO I CONVINCE THE PRIMITIVE MIND MECHANISM TO DO SOMETHING OF GREATER VALUE
At one point in my life, eating Cherry Garcia ice cream (at 1000+ calories) seemed, to my non-thinking lower brains, more valuable to me than my health, my time, and having a lower weight. At the time, I 'knew' it was "stupid", but I did it anyway. In the primitive patterns of the limbic brain, I gave the ice cream more value than the "present value" of those items. Those items seemed to be "far off" in the future, so I valued them little. I discounted them or forgot about them totally.
I DO HAVE A MORE POWERFUL BRAIN I CAN USE
I can "fool" the primitive brain, just as I can program Pavlov's dogs to salivate at the introduction of a substitute trigger (a bell that was rung right before food was provided). I can convince the primitive brain. I can create greater value in my head (to accurately reflect the future value - if I know it and have made it clear enough).
But it seems that people believe, somehow, that the primitive brain is more powerful, which it by a thousand times, is not!
SO, WHAT CONVERSATION COULD I HAVE WITH MYSELF FOR MY BETTER BENEFIT?
Now, what could I say to myself?
I surely have to get the following point across, in non-intellectual terms, as the primitive brain doesn't think in high level ways:
"This future thing is worth alot more than something right now, so I choose the benefit in the future."
I might have to talk with the lower brain much as I would talk to a child: in terms of what it understands, in simple words. (This sounds a bit "woo woo". I'm not actually "talking" to it as if it is a persona, but I am feeding information into the machine, realizing that it is only a machine. Sure,
But the eating of the cookie will disappear from my now, soon, it is passing, actually of zero value to me if I am not starving. OK, a little bit of fleeting pleasure. A penny's worth? Compared to the value of my health of $25 million. Oops, I can try to say that but I must have a sound basis and lots of clarity to be able to believe it.
I have to lower the value of the current item and/or increase the value of getting the future benefits sufficiently if I am to choose the future benefits over the now.
I can discount the present worth by recognizing that pleasure (and pain) is fleeting. it will soon pass. I can acknowledge that there is no effect at all on me if I wait and "be with" my discomfort for 10 minutes (during which time, usually, the discomfort will disappear). Ok, I'll be with this discomfort, it's no big deal, it's disappearing like the trail of a ghost...
I need to create conversations in general about discomfort, the present, but also have specific conversations that combine a number of concepts to have me effectively deal with them, such items as
Discomfort (I can't stand it) so I'll eat something now, even though I am not hungry)
Need for relief of anxiety
I must, absolutely must do this if I want to fully live life. In the past, this has caused me much pain when...I
A REALITY OF CHANGE
Since the old programming is well-reinforced and grooved in, the neurological pattern will not disappear instantly. It must be replaced systematically over time. Somehow people have come to not believe and/or resist this mechanical law/reality. It takes time. There is no miracle short cut - that's just wishful thinking - but those who believe in it choose to not do what works, still living in unrealistic hope... In NLP, they ask you to make the future brighter and bigger and to make the current escape/comfort/distraction darker and smaller. I get the idea, but I have yet to become enthused enough to do it. Therefore, I designed my own, but you may want to use theirs, as the discipline has been around for a long time. (I was exposed to a lot of it in Tony Robbins workshops. See some of the books on NLP or some of Robbins free videos on YouTube: Directory Of Resources Tony Robbins.)
STUDY TIME IN COLLEGE - A MAJOR STRUGGLE
At Occidental, as a freshman, I admired the guy who was number one in grade point average, as he religiously studied from 7 p.m to 10 p.m., avoiding the common dormitory distractions. Somehow I couldn't bring myself to do that, though I had spurts of pretty good productivity.
I remember staggering into 8 am class after not having slept all night, after first starting off the prior evening playing bridge, then as those who knew how went off to bed, we would switch to poker and eventually to playing Hearts.
I gradually dissipated to the point where I wasn't interested at all in school and didn't go back, except for finals, after Christmas - torpedoing my GPA - it was tough later to raise the average with that holding me down.
Since it is likely that you will be in a state of non-optimal resources at times, you must leave a distinct "command" and/or recallable reason/payoff with the primitive mind or the simpler, non-thinking pattern will prevail.
Some vague idea that there is something better that I should be doing or this is stressful, too much effort (lie)
I have a choice of doing that which is actually most beneficial or doing one of the competitors. So, I need to get clear about the competitors that get in the way.
Vague idea I could be doing something fun (or more funner).
Effort is hard.
Doing something for the future is so unpleasurable, because:
I have competing anxieties and I need to do my anxiety routine (which actually is kinda miserable).
Being in a "state of high resourcefulness"
From doing what is of most value, I gain
A sense of confidence in myself...that I will be able to followup and handle the future, do the right thing.
Knowing that doing some harmful activities will harm me or make me miss out on progress that could benefit me.