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This week we're discussing how being more resilient actually gives you greater control over your life and your impulses. (As a side note, I'm currently working on a resilience guide that I will be releasing for free in the near future!)
As a brief disclaimer: many links for items, books, etc. are done through affiliate links, which means I may get paid a small pittance of money for anything you purchase using these links.
Resilience = Control
Our impulses have long been thought of as a byproduct of pleasure and pain. It can be said that the desire to pursue pleasure and avoid pain influences all human action. At our core, we are animals after all.
If we were to let these animalistic instincts run wild, society would devolve into chaos. Our higher-level thinking, and ultimately our impulse control, is what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. Through discipline we can cultivate a resistance to baseless pleasure-seeking.
Think of discipline like a bank account; the more often you must rely on it, the lower your balance becomes. We only have so many funds available each day, and the more you must "will yourself" to resist your urges, the less discipline you will have for other endeavors.
One way to preserve discipline for when we need it is to reduce the effect that our impulses have on us. If our impulses come from a desire to avoid pain then we can, in theory, train ourselves to withstand them. By becoming more comfortable with discomfort, we reduce the grip that our impulses have on us.
Training resilience gives us more control over our life, over our distractions, and over our actions. Becoming more mentally tough, becoming more comfortable with pain and discomfort, allows us to resist our animalistic urges. The less sway these urges have on us, the more we can focus our habits and discipline on what matters. Failure to train resilience makes it incredibly difficult to surmount meaningful challenges.
In this sense, life is like a video game. We start at level 1, unable to resist the distractions of life. Our discipline is low, and we are untrained. By choosing to embrace discomfort, by choosing to do hard things, we slowly level up. As our level increases, our discipline increases. We gain the ability to develop meaningful habits and choose where to focus our energy. Leveling up gives us more control over our life.
There are many ways to train this resilience. Doing hard workouts is a great one (and "hard" is a completely relative term depending on the individual). Waking up early, or taking cold showers work well also. Essentially, any time where you are confronted with the easy way and the hard way, choosing the hard way will make you better. It isn't necessary all the time, but surmounting small challenges daily prepares you for the large challenges when they come. And if anything is certain in life, those challenges will come.
The most interesting things I've encountered this week:
What I'm reading: Indistractable by Nir Eyal
The concept above comes, in large part, from this book by Eyal. He states that distraction is a form of pain aversion, and our desire to seek comfort leads to distractions in many forms. Willpower alone is not enough to overcome these distractions, and we must train ourselves to be more resilient.
What I'm listening to: "Using Deliberate Cold Exposure for Health and Performance" on Huberman Lab
I've discussed before how cold therapy is a great way to build resilience and tolerance for discomfort. This podcast episode also delves into some of the health benefits that are being realized as cold therapy is more largely studied; definitely worth a listen.
A great tweet by Simon Sinek
Quote(s) of the week:
"...it makes sense that the only way to handle distraction is by learning to handle discomfort." - Nir Eyal in Indistractable
That will do it for this week!
If you haven't downloaded your free copy yet, I've distilled all my tips and tricks for learning and retaining information here: Trainedwright Learning Guide.pdf
Lastly, as always, if you found any value in this week's newsletter, please share it with just one person who might like it!
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