There’s a human tendency to run away from pain, and chase pleasure. In psychology, this is represented as the hedonic treadmill. Think of a carrot at the end of a rope, dangling in front of you, just out of your reach. This tendency holds especially true when the circumstances of one’s life are not ideal. We feel an emotional urgency to jump out of our own life situations and get to where we would rather be. This urgency can lead to denial, where someone mentally escapes their situation by illustrating it in a way it is not. It can come in a mid-life crisis, or lead to a deep depression depending on the duration expected until escape from this reality. However the way the situation comes about, it is often due to another psychological principle called the boiling frog syndrome. Our awareness of a problem tends to turn on and off, until one day we become painfully clear that the situation is unmanageable. It’s the same as a frog in a pot of water. If you turn on the stove to a temperature that’s very hot, then the frog will sense this and struggle it’s way out. If you turn the heat up gradually, the frog will only realize it’s fate just before it is cooked. This applies to many aspects of our lives. We don’t go out to eat and gain a roll of fat on our side, or else we would obviously avoid that. It’s when we believe we can get away with a bad habit that we fool ourselves. Over time, the accumulation of the bad habit will add up, and you will realize the product of your actions. Then we get onto the hedonic treadmill and try to escape our current reality. This is a vicious cycle, because this urgency to escape is the biggest disabler of true change. It turns into an all-out attempt to change, and that change doesn’t stick. The amount of success you have in this life will be based in your habits, or what you repeat often. You want to consciously create empowering habits in your life. You also must rid yourself of disabling habits. One important question you must ask yourself is “where is this taking me?” The consequences in the future are not here yet, and neither is the pain, unless you can predict it ahead of time. If you can be honest with yourself about the type of actions you’re encouraging in your life, and the nature of their direction, then you can begin changing.
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