How to Trick Your Brain into Getting Shit Done
Have you ever noticed that your vision for yourself never comes true? Maybe you see yourself making 150k per year and living in Oregon. You work remote every day and during the evenings you go on hikes, just because you can. No longer do you mold your day around other people, but they to you.
Everyone has some sort of vision for themselves, usually positive. Having a vision however, does not cause things to happen. Visions, planning, and day dreaming about our future are all great tools and are very useful to get the things you want. The problem is a lot of people stop there, but why?
Path of Least Resistance
Our bodies are amazing vessels. They are able to adapt to so many different environments extremely quickly and pretty efficiently. The problem starts once you dig down past the surface to the brain.
While your body is able to adapt well, your brain is wired to avoid danger using fear. So if you see danger that is not imminent you simply avoid it. This use to mean if you see a bear, lion, wolf, etc that you do you best to avoid it in order to survive. So it looks like this:
- You are walking and see a bear.
- Your brain says “shit, that’s a bear we should be afraid so we avoid it”.
- Senses sharpen, you focus on the bear, and avoid it.
Now our bodies continue to use an outdated mechanism to try avoiding bears, which have now become other things in life we fear. We no longer have to be afraid of dying from wild animals for the most part (in the US anyway), but we do worry about things we fear socially and emotionally. The bear has become changing jobs, starting a business, demanding a raise, and the list goes on. So we follow the path of least resistance hoping that our vision one day comes true without us taking action and facing our fears.
Facing Your Fears
While fear can be a good tool to use in many situations, humans are terrible at really understanding risk, calculating, and acting. Even with this blog it was extremely difficult for me to start sharing it with people so that they can see my thoughts and ideas because I was afraid of what they would think. Then I sat down to really think about what the risks were of taking action and sharing.
- People do not like it or form a negative view of me.
- I receive criticism.
After looking at the risks I am able to determine the impact of the risks.
- If people do not like the blog or for a negative view of me, nothing happens.
- If I receive criticism I have the opportunity to improve my writing.
Now that we have defined the risks and impact I am able to determine if I can tolerate the risk. To do this I just ask myself, do I really care if people view me negatively or criticize me? My thoughts are, if I am creating something and not just sitting around watching TV I honestly do not care what people think. I can control myself and my writing, but I have no control over what other people think or believe, so I just focus on what I can control.
Break Down The Process
After you are able to decide you can face the risks all you need to do is understand clearly what you want. Using the blog as an example again, I want to create a blog to give everyone else the chance to see my thoughts, ideas, and things I have learned.
So what do I need to do that? What is my overall goal? What are some small steps I can take toward accomplishing my overall goal?
Goal: Create a blog and write weekly for at least 1 year
- Buy a domain name.
- Start a WordPress site.
- Structure the website.
- Create a blog outline.
After you break the steps down to small actionable tasks things start to get interesting. Once you get started with step 1 you will find that it is much easier to actually continue and complete step 2 and maybe even 3. This might sound silly at first, but have you ever tried doing just 1 push-up? Maybe working out for just 10 minutes? Heck, even watching just 1 episode of a show on Netflix? Its pretty difficult.
Once we actually start doing something, we tend to think “well, I am already here, might as well keep going”. Then 1 push-up becomes 10, working out for 10 minutes turns into 30 minutes, 1 episode of a show on Netflix becomes a marathon.
The point is, set your goals to be small things that can easily be accomplished, then if you complete them you can feel accomplished and stop. Chances are though, you will do more because you actually start.
Last we will just spend a second talking about why starting is the MOST important thing you can do after define your goals and break down processes.
After you start something it is very hard to stop in the middle and if you do you will suffer, but that is a good thing. Let me give an example.
Try to pick something that you get at least a little enjoyment out of and leave it 50% complete. Maybe if you like puzzles you would take out a puzzle and leave that puzzle 50% complete on a table in your house. When you do this 1 of 2 things will happen.
- You will just finish the puzzle because you cannot stand the idea of leaving it incomplete.
- The incomplete puzzle will haunt your mind forever until you complete it or put it away. Then if you chose to put it away rather than complete it, the puzzle still might haunt you.
The same principle will remain true whenever you set a goal and start taking action. When I have leisure time I often think about my blog and what I might be able to write about. It can sometimes become annoying when you want to relax or have leisure time, but your brain just keeps coming back to your goal. However, I have decided that the price I pay is very small relative to the regret I would have if I never started at all.
Now that you know how to trick your brain into getting shit done, learn how to fuel it here!
I hope you enjoyed this post, please share your thoughts and comments below.