Be the Rational Conscious Director Rather than a Slave to your Impulses

Consciousness is the control one has over their life beyond the primal monkey brain of being a slave to one’s impulses.

Being a slave to one’s impulses can feel good in the moment, similar to an empty dopamine high, but ultimately results in the dissatisfaction of realizing one has actually moved further away from their goals by weakening their willpower and cementing the habit of succumbing to their monkey brain.

Those with untrained brains act in irrational ways because their brains are slaves to their primal impulses and bad habits. A well-trained brain is able to act more rationally, such as in sacrificing in the short term (eg. working hard) in order to obtain a better outcome in the long-term. Or perhaps in making a difficult but necessary decision like ending a bad relationship, or getting over a bad breakup.

Consciousness is not a given, it is a skill or muscle that must be trained like any other muscle in the body. Consciousness is the discipline of doing the right thing and exhibiting willpower. It is working hard and sticking to a commitment even when you don’t feel like it because you know it will result in a better outcome in the future.

In this age of cheap dopamine highs like social media feeds, instant message notifications, Youtube, Reddit comments, Netflix, videogames, porn, etc., it’s never been more difficult to develop consciousness. Focus is harder than it’s ever been, and there’s an epidemic of ADHD, OCD, depression, and anxiety.

Training your brain towards consciousness is not an easy fix, but it starts with cutting out distractions, and exerting willpower. It will be difficult for the untrained unconscious brain to exert this willpower, especially in the beginning. You will be tempted to retreat to the empty dopamine highs of mindlessly surfing Reddit or Youtube instead of getting that work done that you know you need to do.

But once you force yourself to do the right thing, you will have further trained your muscle to do the right thing, and the next time it will be easier. Next thing you know it will become second nature, and you’ll be able to direct your consciousness to achieve anything it desires. Rather than being at the mercy of your primal emotional monkey impulses, you’ll be the captain of your ship, directing life towards whatever goals you wish to achieve, maintaining rationality along the way.

To summarize:

  1. Eliminate distractions. This means eliminating porn, useless social media refreshing, notification addiction, videogames
  2. Force yourself to do the hard thing you know you need to do.

Try not to overthink it. Thinking is often just useless mental loops looping endlessly in one’s brain, wasting cycles like a CPU with an infinite loop. Just do what you need to do, and then do the next thing. Focus on the process and the discipline of sticking to daily output, rather than being overly results-oriented, especially when the results are not entirely in your control such as popularity. Remember that similar to exponential growth, most people overestimate what they can do in the short-term, but underestimate what they can do in the long-term.

Be the conscious rational director rather than a slave to primal monkey impulses.

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