I added a little tiny box to my start-of-day routine. It's been miraculous.
I pick, at the start of the day, what's acceptable to procrastinate on.
From Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman's On Killing [emphasis added] --
When people become angry, or frightened, they stop thinking with their forebrain (the mind of a human being) and start thinking with their midbrain (which is indistinguishable from the mind of an animal). They are literally “scared out of their wits.” The only thing that has any hope of influencing the midbrain is also the only thing that influences a dog: classical and operant conditioning.
That is what is used when training firefighters and airline pilots to react to emergency situations: precise replication of the stimulus that they will face (in a flame house or a flight simulator) and then extensive shaping of the desired response to that stimulus. Stimulus-response, stimulus-response, stimulus-response. In the crisis, when these individuals are scared out of their wits, they react properly and they save lives.
This is done with anyone who will face an emergency situation, from children doing a fire drill in school to pilots in a simulator. We do it because, when people are frightened, it works. We do not tell children what they should do in case of a fire, we condition them; and when they are frightened, they do the right thing.
Got a question from a reader who is ambitious and has had some successes, but feels erratic and like he's taken on too many projects that haven't borne fruit. My reply --
I recommend you take a notebook to a nice cafe with no technology and write down every major success of your life (major being however you define it).
Look for commonalities.
We often make the same mistakes over and over and our only plan is "try harder" -- instead, identify elements/features of when you've thrived...
From Alfred Thayer Mahan's 1890 Influence of Sea Power Upon History --
Mahan is encouraging the study of past types of warfare to predict the development of future types of warfare.
He distinguishes between precedent, which is how things have been done in the past, and principles, which "have their root in the essential nature of things... [and thus] remains a standard to which action must conform to attain success."
Also full of gems --
This whole pdf is full of gems:
Skim if you're in a hurry; just the illustrations and charts have a lot of value in them.
My latest moment of "Try Harder Isn't The Answer" was after my first in-the-gym workout in a couple months. I've been training with bodyweight nearly every day, but today was the first time I got into the gym and got in squat, bench, deadlift.
The workout was rather brutal. I over-did it. (That's not humblebragging, I like, stupidly overdid it. I'll be more sore tomorrow than I need to be. I wasn't paying enough attention and should've started lower.)
Combine this with two new protocols -- multi-purpose clothing that can function for business casual or fitness meant I had on a long-sleeve shirt, long pants, and boots for more heat than normal, and training at a more rapid pace for metabolic development...
...and I get out of the gym nearly about to keel over and throw up.
Well, good enough.
It makes your life infinitely simpler if you don't renegotiate with yourself when it's time to do something.
"Ohhhh, I don't want to go to running, it's raiiiinning out..." --
how many thought cycles does that burn?
Does anything useful ever come out of that conversation with yourself, when you're debating if you'll do the right thing or not?
A short phrase that's useful:
There's a whole host of problems that, if unnoticed, do not hurt.
As soon as you become aware of them, you start to hurt.
Therein lies a problem.
The human mind seems to be pretty bad at going all the way back to root causes.
We focus on the proximate cause of problems.