Reasons for failure to achieve goals

    We all want to be successful, and we hope that we are unique snowflakes. What is somewhere in the depths, a genius is snoozing within us, which only needs to be awakened.

    That is unlikely. And the point is not that genius is not related to success, but that people are successful because they cannot be distracted from what they are doing.

    Self-discipline, perseverance, and so on - that’s all clear, we all read in books like “Geniuses and Outsiders” , “Greats of Our Own Choice” and others, written as if to search for a magic formula. But the truth is that no one and nothing can distract the so-called "geniuses" from work. The “bonus” to such stubbornness is the problem with society, friends and even loved ones, but this is not customary to discuss.

    Tarantino will make films, even if he will not be paid for it. Stephen King will write books even if no one publishes them. Elon Musk will build rockets, even if no one will buy them. Need proof? Read biographies of “geniuses”.

    We at SmartProgress decided to analyze the causes and consequences of this behavior.

    The neurochemistry of mediocrity

    With geniuses, everything is clear, how can we be mere mortals?

    You are probably familiar with the term dopamine. For a long time it was believed that dopamine is a neurotransmitter responsible for the pleasure that a person receives from food, drugs, sex and social contacts. In other words, the pleasure of receiving rewards.

    However, as a result of the study , a new theory emerged - dopamine is responsible for the pleasure not of receiving an award, but of the desire and anticipation of receiving it. In simple terms, dopamine makes us want (quite a strong simplification for the sake of brevity, those who wish can study the report themselves).

    The original report described an experiment in which rats with depressed dopamine production lost interest in food, they had to be fed artificially so they would not starve to death. That is, anticipation and curiosity are directly related to dopamine and a sense of euphoria.

    Rage Against The Machine

    Dopamine naturally helps a person to survive and evolve, stimulating his desire to move, interact. But what nature wasn’t ready for is that with the advent of computers, "informational content" and social networks, this model will cause human inertia. Because the reward is not only food, sex and drugs, but also “everything is new,” including information. Thus, dopamine motivates a person to learn and develop.

    So far, everything is fine - dopamine is produced in the process of obtaining interesting information, so knowledge is obtained, right? No not like this. Because if a person has a choice between useful information and interesting - guess what he will choose? Of course, information can be both useful and interesting, but more on that later.

    Jolts per minute

    On foreign television, there is the term Jolts Per Minute , literally: shocks per minute.

    Previously, the dynamics of American television shows and television films was evaluated in terms of this indicator - how many times per minute there are sharp changes. It can be a change in a musical theme, volume, a new event - anything. Thus, television supports viewers' interest, which is based on dopamine, and its desire to find out what will happen next.

    Need for approval

    From an early age, a direct correlation between approval and security is anchored in the human brain. The baby seeks approval of his actions from the side of the parents, the child from the side of school teachers, friends, or other authorities. Thus, in a person at a subconscious level, dependence on approval is fixed, approval becomes an indispensable condition for comfort and safety.

    However, our dependence on approval is due not only to psychological reasons, but also physiological - every time we get approval or even just attention, especially from strangers, we get the same dopamine injection. I think it’s now clear where the roots of Internet addiction grow from. If before, in order to get someone’s approval, you had to do something, today, it’s not at all necessary. It is enough to pretend and photograph your salad.

    By the way, “geniuses and outsiders” have almost no need for approval.

    I am a unique snowflake

    So, the picture gradually begins to emerge. Successful people are successful because their main drug is what they do. And no dopamine will replace him.

    But we are in the grip of the simplest conditioned reflexes - the stimuli acting on us form clear reflexes, like Pavlov’s dog, which has bored its teeth. Recall your feeling when you see a notification of unread messages, or hear the sound of an incoming message.

    What to do

    First, you need to find your “drug." Unfortunately, or fortunately, this is the only way to turn useful information into interesting information.

    Secondly, you need to regain control. In other words, you need to learn mindfulness in resource management, the main of which are time and emotions.
    How to do it? It is enough for someone to remove extra people from life. This means not only from social networks, but also literally - to stop communicating with those with whom there is nothing in common, except for the distant past.

    If your case is more serious than simple distraction, time tracking can help you . If this does not help, try to master a time management system, for example, Pomodoro. In addition, it will be useful to disable all signals - incoming message counters, alerts, social media applications on the phone, and so on. Do not be a Pavlov dog. But the most important thing, of course, is to keep your goals under control.

    Why is studying at a university more effective for many than self-education? Not because the university gives some kind of magical knowledge, but only because the university controls your time, you can’t forget to go to classes, or don’t go, because you don’t want to. So why should we take self-education and self-development less seriously?

    Third, clearly articulate your goals, lay them out on tasks and set deadlines. For large and large-scale goals, SmartProgress can help, for strategic ones - make a schedule for yourself, ask yourself your homework, set tasks for yourself with clear deadlines.

    If you are not in control of your life, then someone else is doing it.

    SmartProgress - Achieving P.S. Goals

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