We often think that if we do something, than something must happen as a result. “I do A action, and B result happens as a consequence of doing A.” But the trap is that we presuppose the result. And when the result reappears, we keep presupposing. This kind of thinking sets us up for disappointment.
If I meditate for 20 minutes everyday, I’ll feel more grounded.
If I write for 20 minutes everyday, I’ll be a better writer.
If I jog for 20 minutes everyday, I’ll be healthier.
Alright, then why did you stop jogging and writing and meditating?
It seems so obvious on paper why it is that we should stick to good habits. How come we let ourselves off the hook? Because our emotional conditions are so quick to change. One day we wake up motivated. But the next day we snuggle under the covers and sleep in till noon. We shove kale and spinach down our throat on Tuesday. On Wednesday we’re eating tiramisu for breakfast.
We eat tiramisu not because we think it’s good that our internal organs compile tiramisu chemicals like lines of code. We eat tiramisu because it’s satisfies us. We eat tiramisu and rocky road and feel more and more satisfied….until we feel ashamed of ourselves.
And then we take another bite of tiramisu anyways.
Conditions are extremely powerful. The emotional valence of conditions reinforces our behavior, not causes and effects. Eating feels good. Working out feels good. Sex feels good. Massive biceps and six pack abs and orgasms happen as results, yes – results of how we feel. Only robots cause and effect.