Helplessness. It’s a word that can be used to describe even the best of our minds, at times. But, through a lot of trial and error, I’ve found that something can help us overcome helplessness: discipline. When I’m unhappy with my life, I now know that it’s because my brain is essentially helpless, trying to control the wild animal inside of me. This is a short post on gaining back control.
As much as we don’t want to admit it, we’re animals. We live our lives in cycles – making promises to ourselves and then breaking them, again and again, to no avail. Dieting and binging, sobering up and then drinking. We trap ourselves in ricocheting stories that repeat themselves over and over again.
The real power comes from stopping the story. The problem here isn’t you – it’s your approach. When you try to force the story to end, you stack the cards against yourself. You literally build up resistance, and it’s all for naught. Don’t try to be strong here – this isn’t the battle you want to fight.
Luckily, you can trick yourself.
It’s much easier to go from 20 cigarettes a day to 18 than it is to go from 20 to 0. Break your bad habits by doing them less, not never. Don’t ban any activity – just do it a bit less. Forced changes rarely stick. Life is a long game, so choose the method that will make you feel the best a year from now, not a week from now. If you rush, you’ll lose control. Instead, just make a small push to get yourself back on track.
Moderation is the only way to achieve self-mastery. Once you understand it, you can transform your entire life and become the type of person you want to be. In other words, “keep smoking cigarettes to stop smoking cigarettes”.