Why don't we do what we know we should?

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Before delving into the reasons behind why we do what we do, it is important to highlight the underlying question of why we fail to prioritize and follow through with the tasks we know we should do.

Have you ever pondered why, when engaged in a task that requires our utmost concentration and focus, we often find ourselves getting distracted, prolonging completion time, or becoming absorbed in unrelated activities, ultimately neglecting important responsibilities?

Have you ever questioned why you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through your social media feeds instead of focusing on meaningful tasks?

Have you ever wondered why it is so difficult to let go of a relationship that you know is destined for failure?

Have you ever contemplated why it is such a challenge to overcome addictions to substances like cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs?

The fundamental and paramount question here lies in why we struggle to prioritize and act upon the tasks and actions that are essential for our personal growth, development, and overall well-being.

While we currently reside in the technological age, not long ago our ancestors existed in a simpler time, their primary concern being basic survival. Despite the drastic changes that have transpired in recent decades, our minds still retain remnants of our distant past.

With that being said, the following explanation should shed some light on the matter:

In the past, humanity's primary focus revolved around three essential activities: eating, sleeping, and seeking enjoyment. When prompted by hunger, individuals would embark on a mission to procure sustenance; once they succeeded in finding food, their minds would remember the location, triggering a pattern of behavior characterized by repeated actions:

TRIGGER > BEHAVIOR > PLEASURE > REPEAT

The trigger occurred when hunger set in, leading to the behavior of seeking food, which in turn resulted in the pleasure of satiety. This cycle of trigger, behavior, pleasure, and repeat proved effective in fulfilling their basic survival needs.

As civilizations progressed, the human mind continued applying this same formula of trigger, behavior, pleasure, and repeat to other aspects of life.

The reason we struggle to let go of detrimental habits, despite being aware of their detrimental effects, lies in the pleasure derived from engaging in activities such as browsing social media, consuming caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol.

The trigger arises when we encounter these indulgences or they cross our minds, prompting corresponding behaviors that bring pleasure. Our brains, simply seeking pleasure without discerning its beneficial or detrimental nature, become accustomed to repeating this cycle indefinitely. It is then up to our conscious minds to intervene and assert control.

Now, how can we address this conundrum?

First and foremost, we must acknowledge that our habits shape who we are. We possess the power as conscious beings to prevent our subconscious minds (the brain) from taking control of our lives.

Each time we encounter the trigger of a negative habit (let's say the compulsion to incessantly check our Facebook accounts), we must consciously resist engaging in the usual behavior (picking up our mobile devices and mindlessly scrolling). This resistance, at first, may prove challenging, but it is crucial to establish a new habit pattern, asserting our conscious desires over the subconscious mind's impulses. The satisfaction and triumph experienced when successfully overcoming these urges will serve as both reward and incentive.

Persistence is key, as it takes time to rewire our subconscious minds to understand and align with our conscious desires. Embracing this process will lead to a profound realization: we are in control of our destinies, masters of our own souls.

All constructive feedback is warmly welcomed!

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