Using Momentum & Mindfulness to Work Harder
THERE’S A BATTLE within all of us. I try to detach for a moment, and recognize the duality — the two distinctive wants that battle for majority attention:
- The want of difficulty, and of seeking betterment for ourselves. Doing the right thing for the long-term, no matter how much hard work is needed.
- The want of ease, and taking the path of least resistance. Doing the easiest thing no matter how detrimental it might be long-term.
Biologically speaking, human beings have evolved to favor ease over difficulty. Though, our prefrontal cortex — the most complex and cognitive part of our brain — has the ability to want more than just what’s easiest, and tries to combat our more primal and sluggish behavior.
Often times, this is a battle we lose, and a vicious circle is created. When there’s a feeling of guilt after wasting the day away, which only demoralizes and causes further laziness.
In my opinion, the most effective way to defeat laziness within one’s self is by utilizing two different tools: momentum and mindfulness.
I believe there is good reason why ‘morning rituals’ are so largely talked about in the field of self-improvement. (1, 2, 3) When you start the day on a good note, it’s far easier to continue it. An object in motion stays in motion.
But a good day is only a good day — there needs to be a larger picture. That’s where the idea of not breaking the chain comes in. The idea that you must commit to doing something daily without allowing yourself to slip.
The more consecutive days you have going for you, the more momentum you build. The more you’re willing to fight to make sure you don’t break the chain and keep your streak going. But what happens if you fail?
When we find ourselves in the middle of a bad day, it’s easy to similarly continue on with it and dismiss trying to salvage anything good out of it. It’s easy to find excuses or lament after failure.
The best way to move on from this and redeem yourself is to realize that you’re the only one pinning yourself downward — the world does not care.
You’re under no obligation to be the same person you were five minutes ago. — Alan Watts
Do not try to hold onto your shortcomings and regrets, take the lessons you learn from these things then dismiss the rest of the negativity. It helps nobody, particuarly yourself.
It can be rather difficult to understand — let alone control — your emotions if you’ve let them run astray for too long. The stoic act of distancing yourself from the emotional, impulsive part of your mind is one that needs to be practiced.
CONCLUSION: If you want to use your time more effectively, and not waste it, work with improving what you’re already doing right, while also working on not being too hard on yourself. Hold onto the good, and let go of the bad.