“How do I keep my New Years Resolutions,” you are probably wondering. If I said it’s not your fault that you can’t keep your News Years Resolutions, would you think I was going soft? “Of course it’s your fault if you fail,” you might exclaim. “People who can’t keep their New Years Resolutions are weak. They don’t have any will power!” Maybe so, maybe not.
What if you’ve been setting the wrong goals?
Can you make room for the possibility that you have been setting the wrong goals? Can you imagine that you’ve been brainwashed into believing you want something that you don’t actually want? Maybe you set goals about the “right things” rather than the things you actually want.
We all know, for example, to set goals about money. We all want more money! We do! We know this because everyone wants more money.
Is that really true for you? (If it is, that’s cool. No one at D&P is judging you.) It’s not particularly true for me.
An AmWay rep comes up to you. He pulls out a matchbox car – a Ferrari. “Don’t you want this,” he asks.
I don’t actually. Material possessions don’t motivate me. Although I need to earn a certain amount of money, if you handed me a check for one million dollars there is nothing I’d go out and buy.
I personally am motivated by time freedom. When a friend called me on Wednesday and said he got a free hotel in the Virgin Islands, I booked a Friday flight. On Saturday I was in the Caribbean.
Being able to leave whenever I feel like is what motivates me. Not having to check in with a boss is what motivates me.
Enough about me. What motivates you?
“How do you know you want what you want?”
The human brain, depending on which theory you ascribe to or what neuroscientist you talk to, is roughly developed into two functions – the lower functions and higher functions. You have a conscious and an unconscious mind.
The “lower functions” are handled by the reptilian (or lizard) brain. The higher functions like self-control are handled by your neocortex. If you’re some snooty academic or beta male, you focus on the neocortex. If you’re like me, you look at the lizard brain:
“The reptilian complex was responsible for species-typical instinctual behaviors involved in aggression, dominance, territoriality, and ritual displays.”
That lizard brain is what makes you respond to fear with aggression and what makes you jealous. It’s what makes you horny. The lizard brain is what makes you want to commit the seven deadly sins – wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. The neocortex is what helps you resist the temptations.
Free from my slave masters like teachers, doctors, priests, and politicians, I embrace my lizard brain. I listen to it. I talk back to it.
If you talk to your lizard brain long enough, the lizard brain will talk back.
How can we put that lizard brain to use?
Most of your goals are based on what society wants for you. You want to get a college degree because mommy and daddy told you that was the right thing. You want to stop sinning because a priest told you you’d go to hell.
In other words, you don’t want what you think you want.
Your lizard brain tells you what you actually want.
“We begin by coveting what we see every day. Don’t you feel eyes moving over your body, Clarice? And don’t your eyes seek out the things you want?” – Dr. Hannibal Lecter
When I used to be a wage slave and the Boss Man walked in, do you know what I coveted? It wasn’t his trophy wife, car, house, or well put together kids. It wasn’t his membership in the Kiwanis Club. It wasn’t his friendship with local politicians.
I wanted his freedom.
The Boss Man could come and go as he pleased. He didn’t need to ask permission to take time off. He wasn’t accountable to people the way we stooges and underlings were.
My lizard brain was speaking to me, if only I would listen to it. It was telling me to feel the sin of jealously. It told me, you are jealous of him. Listen to me. You want what he wants.
I thus structured my life around time freedom. This means giving up money, as time freedom and a Ferrari are often mutually inconsistent.
When I watched Cinemax After Dark as a teen and saw a hot girl riding a man, I thought, “That’s what I want.” I wanted to look up and see a hot girl riding me.
When I grew up, I stopped judging myself. “Why do you want to have sex with beautiful women? Why not settle for a nice girl?” I listened to the lizard.
What is your lizard brain telling you?
When you see a muscular man, do you think, “What a douche bag. Women don’t even like men who are too big.” That is your lizard brain telling you that you are jealous. It is telling you that you want to be muscular.
Instead of judging your lizard brain and denying it, start paying attention to the “base” voices in your head.
Then you will know what you really want.
Once you find out what you really want, you can set New Years Resolutions that you are actually motivated to keep.
Post a Comment Telling Me What You Really Want.
Don’t lie to yourself. Don’t lie to me.
Danger & Play is a community of men who are tired of being lied to.
Tell us what you really want. Post a comment and let’s find a way to make it happen.