It’s 4:00 am and I can’t sleep! I was watching Johnathan Fields new show yesterday, the “Good Life Project” and he had Dan Ariely on as his guest. If you are not familiar with Dan he has written several books about why people do what they do and how to change their behavior. One of my personal favorites is “Predictably Irrational” an absolute MUST read! But as I’m lying in bed unable to sleep I can’t help but wonder “WHY”!
Why is it as human beings we are so irrational and out of control? I’ve actually been wondering this since I was 5 years old. Why on earth do we do the things we do? If you look at the full spectrum of human behavior it spans from monstrous cruelty to angelic compassion and everything in between. I personally have a love hate relationship with humanity.
There are times that I am so inspired and moved by the love, compassion, and kindness of people my heart overflows with enthusiasm and joy to be around others. And then there are those times that I feel so much hate and remorse I don’t know how I can stand another moment of this existence. Fortunately for me the later is far less often and if I simply avoid the news and submerse myself in nature, playing with my dogs, and talking with a loving friend it passes and only serves to inspire me to do the work I do.
Which brings me to the point of my restlessness, why is it like taking medicine for us to take the daily steps we need to take to get what we really want in life? We will do anything to avoid doing what we know will truly make us happy, why do you think that is? Let me give you some examples; losing weight and having more money. Both powerful issues and two areas of our live that for all intents and purposed if we were to get a grip on would completely change the quality of our lives and increase our lifespan yet we struggle with both on extreme levels.
Lets start with weight loss. As a nation, and unfortunately it’s spreading around the world, we are simply FAT! Obesity is the fastest growing epidemic in American and it spans all cultures, socioeconomic groups, and ages. Losing weight is simple. It’s not rocket science. Do more eat less. Eat foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. Example it’s better to eat an orange then it is to drink orange juice and even worse to drink an orange like substance.
Any 5th grader can figure it out. We make it complicated because it makes us feel better about our apparent lack of discipline but I think the truth of the matter is we are actually scared. Besides all the propaganda about the many reasons we are getting fatter and fatter every day I think we are simply afraid of actually having what we say we want. Think about it for a minuet. If you see a pair of shoes you want or some eltronic gadget or something else you decide you must have don’t you make sure you get it? No matter how long it takes you or what you have to do you do it so you can have the object you have “decided” you want. You know I’m right!
How many times have you spent money you didn’t have on something you didn’t need simply because you wanted it. Well why is it then you don’t lose weight or have that million dollars you say you want? Is it because you really don’t want to or you associate more pain with doing what it takes to acquire it then you do pleasure with actually having “it”? “It” being a healthy weight level or having the money you need to life the lifestyle you want or anything else for that matter.
You associate more pain with eating right or not spending money you don’t have then you associate pleasure with having a strong fit body or money in the bank. I think there are two reasons for this; you are afraid you will lose your friends and you are afraid you will fail. If you change the lifestyle you currently have and become more active, change the restaurants your frequent, and the things you do for fun the current people in your life might not want to do these new things and you may lose them as your friends, lovers, or romantic partners. And two what if you try to make the changes and you fail? Then what?
Why do you avoid doing the things you know you need to do to get what you want? Most of us know how to do it, lose weight or save money we’ve done it in the past… but why aren’t you doing it today? What two things can you change in your life today that will move you closer to getting what you want?