I grew up playing chess professionally.

In chess and most other games, you have to make a move. You can’t just pass.

Chess is a very complex game (it may be super hard to find the best move) but it’s mathematically discrete, if you find the best move every time, you’re likely to win and a draw is guaranteed.

Computers find the best moves almost 100% of the time, the human world champion nails around 70% and an amateur club player may get it right 30-50% of the time, depending on the complexity of the position.

This discrete structure can be projected into the continuity of life for the purpose of simplicity. Let’s say you take a meaningful decision every 1 minute on average while you’re in an active mode. What meaningful thing to say or write. What article or social media post to read/not read. What to share. What to explore further.

As your work is probably in active mode (otherwise you’re simply a bot and may lose your job to robots), you have 8+ hours a day of choices, including your non-work ones. Lets say 10 hours = 600 minutes = 600 choices a day.

You probably heard that if you get 1% better every day, this scales up pretty quickly, resulting in a whopping 37 times improvement in a year. However, this inspiring statistic is not the one I have for you. Mine sucks.

Let’s say you have an idea for an improvement in any area. For example, something easy to do that you know will increase productivity slightly, say 1-2%. How much time does it take you to execute it? How about 2 days? Seems good by most standards? After all, we have all delayed similar stuff for months due to… just not doing it?

2 days delay (1200 minutes of choices, 1 a minute) is 1200 bad choices in a row. 1200 bad moves by chess standards.

If you played so bad in any game you would never ever win. You could be playing against monkeys making random moves and they would still beat you hands down. How can we suck so badly in this, WTF was evolution’s idea to get you stuck in life 99% of the time? Meet Inertia.

As the only goal of Evolution (if you can attrubute a “goal” to a mindless process at all) is the pass your genes on, stability is mandatory. Being smart is only an evolutionary advantage if it increases your chances of survival or finding a mate. The rest is governed by the simple principles:

1) Do stuff the way your predecessors did. They survived and procreated. Nothing more is needed than to be stuck to what works.
2) Changes in behavior are already tried in many ways. If they didn’t become the norm (bring an evolutionary advantage), they were a failure.

=>

Change nothing except when a threat or reward is visible.

Threats are immediate dangers (eg. a lion) and signs of future danger (eg. making the tribe upset and risk being kicked out of the cave… outside where the lion is).

Rewards were not just immediate rewards (eg. food and mates) but also the fuzzy feelings of anything that could help us get those and limit the dangers – the emotions of creativity, team work (including empathy!), love.

So from a biology standpoint the primary human motivations for change are any of the following:

  • Fear of danger
  • Fear of loss of connection
  • Empathy and Love, including its intellectual manifestations (curiosity and creativity).

So Fear or Love in different forms, no surprises here. Let’s get the omnipresent Time into the picture.

As living creatures experience mostly the current moment and it’s hard to hardcore complex principles for the future (like “don’t ever change, unless under threat”), evolution just made all current moments follow the same rule.

If it more or less works, don’t change it.
If it more or less works, don’t change it.
If it more or less works, don’t change it.
If it more or less works, don’t change it.
If it more or less works, don’t change it.
If it more or less works, don’t change it.
If it more or less works, don’t change it.
If it more or less works, don’t change it.
If it more or less works, don’t change it.
If it more or less works, don’t change it.

Did I mention not to change it?

This is Inertia, the most constant force in your life. It just wants to keep you in line so you can survive. You’re stuck and it doesn’t feel bad at all. Feeling stuck is even called “The comfort zone” 🙂

However, our environment has changed a lot recently and Evolution hasn’t had time to react. We have new goals in life and they require being adaptive not just when evading danger or chasing food or mates. Inertia is massively in our way, Both in the Game of Life and Game of Self.

How to overcome being stuck in Inertia?

Structure cannot really help here. We need inspiration and motivation to overcome the resistance and make a change. Knowledge of what is good for you is a must have in itself but… it’s not really motivating.

Can Fear help with change? Well… sometimes randomly yes (when fears clash). But using Fear for anything sucks because:

It’s an unpredictable primal emotion. If you ever went horse riding, you know that a horse can run like the wind and then be scared by a colorful bag of potato chips. No sense whatsoever. You may think your fear is more sensible than horse fear but it’s no different. You may risk your life to save another’s and next day to be more afraid to do… public speaking about it. Your fear is just as irrational as the horse’s. It’s often called a lizard brain thing becase fear is as old and stupid as lizards from 250 million years ago.

So Fear cannot (and should not!) be cultivated and can only be harnessed very occasionally by chance. Inertia is driven by fears, if you manage to make fears turn on themselves you’re a master… fearmaster. But again, that’s rare and you’re in dangerous territory with the fears.

So we’re left with Love (anti-fear) and Chaos (anti-structure).

The natural enemies of Inertia are… Love and Chaos

From now on we’ll be referring to the potential result of the positive change as the “good stuff“.


You deserve to defeat Intertia and get the good stuff

Love is an internal thing, a Game of Self force. It starts with loving yourself in a healthy way. In The Game of Self you have no one else around but you. So better love what you have or things get a shaky foundation.

Self-love is key because it makes you feel you deserve the best for yourself. Fighting for a change that you don’t feel you deserve is a half-ass fight with zero motivation that very rarely succeeds.

There are a few things to ask yourself to find whether you deserve good stuff.

(Not to mix with what stuff is good for you. You deserve icecream, even though it’s not good for you. In the sense that you deserve the freedom to eat icecream if you want to) 🙂

First there are questions about morality:

  1. Will someone suffer if you get the good stuff? (depending on the situation but can be a deal-breaker if yes)
  2. Is the good stuff an essential human right? (freedom, healthy food, fast internet). This escalates the priority and urgency.
  3. If you get the good stuff, will you share some of it?

Those are legit but subjective. Even the famous Golden Rule of Morality has… hm… versions and opinions. Personally I think that it’s inevitable that you hurt some people’s feelings sometimes but it’s unacceptable to phisically hurt them unless the sutiation is extreme. Trying to never hurt anyone’s feelings is a slippery slope to becoming a People pleaser. Whether it’s worth doing it for your own gain is dependent on the other questions about essentialness and sharing.

Let’s leave the morality to the professional philosophers and ask “the merit question”:

Do you deserve the good stuff with what you have done do far (eg. did you work hard enough, were you 100% moral in the past, etc).

  1. Yes
  2. Yes
  3. Yes

Did I say you deserve it? 🙂

The merit question does not exist. There is no scale to measure against. If something is good for you and moral by itself, why on earth would you think or feel you don’t deserve it? If it’s sharable, share it with ones in need (almost everything is). But to just not take it because of the fictional “merit scale” in your head is a waste for you and the world. There is no merit scale. The world is mostly random anyway. Some people work hard and get nothing, others get good stuff because of genes, place of birth or pure luck. Fairness is a human concept the universe simply does not support.

And merit by itself is not part of morality! It cannot be part of anything, because it doesn’t exist… except in our own heads. 

How did the merit question come to be in the first place? Unlike other problems it does not seem to be biology/evolution. Image a cheetah chasing a gazelle full speed and suddenly having second thoughts like:

  • Do I deserve to catch it and eat, did I run hard enough this year?
  • I divided this kill 3 days ago unfairly between my 6 little cheetahs. I’m a terrible father, I don’t deserve the gazelle.

Does this seem ridiculous or… ring a bell?

The merit question is not nature, it’s nurture. And while it’s pure fantasy, unfortunately it’s a self-defeating one to have.

It starts with the upbringing of kids, the obsolete education system and bullshit clichés like

  • Work hard and you’ll be rewarded
  • The labor market is fair
  • Free lunches don’t exist
  • Save money, build stability from a young age

All of this puts invisible chains around many of us that sadly make us miss the amazing random opportunities of life…  I was introduced to Bitcoin when it was trading at $26 and to Ethereum before it was a currency. By well-meaning friends who I trusted. And Inertia took care that I don’t do anything about it 😀

We often think everything should be earned by hard work and/or time invested… says who?

Take the chance if moral, share the benefits if any. This is all you need to follow 🙂 If you get the good stuff, you deserve it. If you don’t, you at least tried!

If you want the world to be more fair (which it needs), just share most or all of the good stuff. And you’re a hero.

Inertia usually wins… But you can still fight to win some of the time 🙂 It will be much easier if you believe you fight the good fight.

Change can only happen if you feel you deserve it – for the benefit of you and others. And you need Self-love for this feeling to come from.


How to stop being stuck and let the change happen?

 

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