There’s something that many of us know but tend to deny…we’re lazy. Our minds– like it or not, are wired to take the path of least resistance. For instance, how many times have you intended on going to the gym or out for a run and ended up making excuses for yourself like, ‘it’s too cold outside’ or ‘it’s raining’ or ‘I’m too tired’. Our minds direct us towards doing what’s easy or comfortable instead of what will actually serve us. In fact, a team of researchers at University College London came to this conclusion after conducting a series of experiments that tested the willingness of participants to choose the harder of two tasks. They organized a cloud of dots on a computer screen that moved either left or right. The person playing the game used the levers at their left or right sides to signal which direction the dots were moving in. When the scientists started adding weights to the levers, the participants began to see things differently: If the dots were moving left, but the left-hand lever was harder to pull, they tended to see the dots as moving to the right — which was the easier choice. The same thing happened when the weight was put on the opposite side. In other words, the participants non-consciously shifted their view of reality just so they wouldn’t have to work harder than they had to. The researchers ultimately concluded that our brains appeared to be wired for laziness or comfort and whenever presented with the opportunity we gravitate towards ‘low hanging fruit’.
The First Step Towards Change
The sooner we realize that we have to do the opposite of what we want in order to get better, the sooner we’ll begin to experience success. It’s by doing hard things repeatedly, that we become “harder” ourselves — more resilient, resourceful, and creative. Because the truth is, habituation breeds self-mastery. By practicing habitual exercises that train our brain to do the things that we don’t enjoy–but will serve us, allows us to build self-discipline. If you don’t like waking up early, then it means you need to wake up 1-2 hours earlier than you normally do. If you hate the cold, then it’s all the more reason to go for a run when it’s cold outside. Instead of brushing your teeth with your right hand, start using your left. Small changes allow us to form new neural pathways inside our brains that in turn help us to create new personal realities for ourselves. The fact of the matter is that in order to be successful, we have to do the hard things. The things that no one else wants to do. The things that frustrate and scare us. These are the things that make the difference between living a life of mediocrity versus a life of success.