Walk through the plant of desires

    Where do desires come from and where do desires disappear?

    Sometimes it is difficult to force yourself to do something necessary: ​​to do the dishes, do exercises, work to work ... There are many articles on the Internet with recipes for overcoming reluctance, and new ones are added every day. I see the same problem in many articles.

    Take, for example, a tree - why does it not bloom? Either there was no rain for a long time, or the shade from other trees blocked the light, or salt got into the soil, or harmful insects started, or the tree is too young, or winter has come, or this painted tree - you can think of many very different reasons. From the reason depends on the choice of action that will help to see the flowering tree.

    Take, for example, not a tree, but a tank - why does it not start? Either the driver is poorly trained, or the mechanic joked, or the saboteur leaked the fuel, or there was not enough money for repairs, or the general ordered the teams to wait, or the tank sank, or had not left the assembly line - the reasons may be very different. From the reason depends on the choice of action that will help start the tank.

    Closer to the topic - why is it sometimes difficult to make yourself work? We look in the Internet, and we immediately get solutions - we need to close social networks, break the task into small steps and praise ourselves.

    Or even easier - there is no problem, your will is weak, you are looking for excuses, just do it.

    Let complicate.

    Simple solutions

    Why are there so many retellings of popular ways on the Internet to overcome reluctance and so few articles that systematically consider possible causes of reluctance?

    Surely, there are some reasons for not wanting to understand the reasons for not wanting (yes, there is a recursion).

    For example, there are too many possible reasons for reluctance; they are difficult to remember and hard to choose. It's easier to try popular solutions right away.

    Not everyone has a head - this is the main tool for work. And not everyone has the desire to carefully study the tools used in the work.

    There are a lot of household chores and work tasks, and I’m too busy learning psychology. Simply wait for a decision from scientists. Just give a pill.

    Already invented a lot of “magic pills” to overcome reluctance.

    For example, prioritization (postponing less important) and decomposition (division into steps) of tasks. Time management techniques (respect for time), starting with cutting time into tomatoes (short overcoming) and ending with delegation (this is not your task). Eating an elephant piece by piece (not being afraid of small), starting with a frog (jumping over the unpleasant), ending with GTD (bringing to completion) ...

    Dozens of other “tablets” can be added to the list of examples and find dozens of articles or even entire books for each one.

    Someone once popular methods can help, yes. If it didn’t help, you can always search and find other options: use aikido, close gestalt, fight perfectionism, make plans, formulate questions, find a favorite activity ...

    Success, resources, energy, stress, happiness - a wave of popularity brings to the bank the terms new and old, bright, blurred and stained.

    Motivation, meaning the process of motivation, turned into an assessment, a consequence, a tool and even a goal. Do you have the motivation to search for motivation?

    Articles on the fight against procrastination (postponement of important cases) offer ready-made recipes, but are often limited to the treatment of symptoms. Since procrastination is itself a symptom, it is already suggested to treat the symptoms of the symptoms.

    A popular approach sounds like this - try ways that have helped others. Choose a tool by total popularity, not by task.

    The methods have long been possible to drown. And numerous failures lead to the defeatist conclusion “burn out naturally” and the search for workarounds.

    I did a search on Habré for the word “procrastination” with sorting by rating; in the first ten most community-approved articles I received the following list of tips:

    • Traps programming - mentioned perfectionism (accept, think, try), laziness and workaholism (accept, meet, weigh), postponing for later (think, do not fear, do not postpone).
    • Demotivation - Humble yourself, just do it, find your favorite thing.
    • The simple answer is make the work fascinating.
    • To return the activity - I tried different things, it did not help, open up for life.
    • Creative individuals have just an internal conflict, find hobbies and interesting tasks.
    • Hack efficiency - the Internet has made lazy, concentrate attention.
    • Fight - start with interesting trivia to enter the stream.
    • Neuroses - procrastination is one of the consequences of the loss of meaning, comprehend.
    • Начать жить — найди любимое дело.
    • Беседа со студентами — планирую, занимаюсь любимым делом.
    • Заставить себя работать — причина в задачах или убеждениях, измени отношение.

    One article mentioned that it would be nice to find the cause, but it is difficult. Another article cites a dozen reasons, but those that relate not so much to reason as to external factors.

    If you properly search, you can certainly find articles and books with detailed consideration of at least the main reasons for not wanting to work, but for some reason they don’t fall into the top search queries for tags that are relevant to the topic. Even in the article “ Why write on Habr ” you can find a more detailed consideration of the reasons for reluctance than in the articles “How I Overcame” or “What Do the Managers Like?”

    All the articles mentioned are good - they do not cover the whole range of possibilities, but they work through the details. I am not talking about these articles, but about the lack of others.

    To better understand the strangeness of the situation, submit a query “it’s hard for me to walk” and a dozen articles with answers: accept, try, find a favorite place for walking, plan a route, start from the park ... Someone once had such tips helped restore ease of walking, therefore articles will be approved by many readers. But not everyone will help, the request will not disappear, so articles with simple tips will appear again and again.

    I understand that psychology is one of the most liberal arts, but it also does not hurt a little engineering approach.

    If the repair of an organism, a computer or a car begins with a diagnosis, then why is the problem of unwillingness to work solved unsystematically? I do not know, but I can assume, for example, that the phenomenon is associated with the inertia of thinking (or recursion of unwillingness).

    The human psyche is more complex than any tree, car or computer. There are no universal recipes that can solve any problem in a complex structure.

    If desire disappears, then one may wonder - what and how desires produce, where and how desires come, where do they go?

    If you climb over the fence of ignorance, you can find the territory in which there is a large plant that produces desires.

    If you walk around the plant, you can see the old shops built before the industrial revolution, and the new shop, in whose basement there is a supercomputer. One head of the workshop recently came from the institute and no longer knows how to search through paper documents, while the other head of the workshop still prefers to write orders manually, with cuneiform writing. Accounting, secretaries, security guards, warehouses, fences, PR department, shop windows - every person has a full-fledged factory or factory for producing desires.

    Why did the plant cut production? Either modernization is in full swing, or a hole in the fence, or subcontractors are on strike, or demand has fallen because of competitors, or bosses are joining each other, or a routine inspection from the ministry, or an accident at a power station, or a typo in statistics - different, very different reasons are possible .

    I suggest to go on a tour of the plant of desires. As a result, familiarity with the production of popular issues and solutions will form pieces into a mosaic, a picture of which contains the causes, effects and possibilities.

    Something from the reading (especially the notes in brackets) will surely seem controversial, different people have different pictures, and that’s good.

    The purpose of the walk is to get acquainted with the possibilities, without getting lost in particulars. Therefore, the list does not contain detailed stories about the history and features of the work of individual mechanisms, and the list leaves only the relevant question “why I don’t want to work”.

    Short list:


    Interaction with the outside world begins with sensations or feelings, through which the mind receives information about the situation in reality.

    From the time of Aristotle, it was believed that there were only five senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch.

    Later noticed that the taste is closely related to the sense of smell. And that touch not only notes the facts of contact, but also assesses the force of pressure on the skin, takes into account muscular efforts, notes temperature fluctuations and warns of injuries.

    Four more can be confidently added to the five senses: thermoception (heat and cold), equibrioception (balance), nociception (pain), proprioception (body position). The famous “sixth sense”, implying intuition, can already be renamed to the tenth, at least.

    There are many receptors in the body, the signals from which do not reach the level of consciousness. For example, millions of digestive receptors do not fall into the number of conscious ones - a useful optimization, which allows not to drown in the signals.

    The perceived sensation is the sum of the signals of some receptors. Moreover, repeated signals are ignored, at the level of consciousness only significant changes are noticed. The mechanisms for eliminating repeats are both at the intracellular level and above - in the mechanisms of recognition and processing of images.

    Feelings can be trained, deceived and weary.

    The simplest way to get an unwillingness to work is to tire the senses, to load channels of input with an excess of constantly changing information.

    Yes, you can work in an autotrailer with noisy children, sitting on a reeling stool, with a pencil in a paper notebook lying on your knee (Stephen King started like that). You can work effectively in any adverse situation, if for something very important and not for long.

    Methods to reduce fatigue - ergonomics of the workplace, repairing posture, gait, sleep, breathing and nutrition.


    Sensations are not only receptor signals, but also a recognition mechanism that works with a database of known images. As well as the mechanisms of predictions, cross-checks and additions with several levels of caching.

    The mind operates with objects, images or abstractions. Each object corresponds to a set of properties and capabilities, as well as a name or a picture. For example, an abstract “house” - how can it be, how can it be changed and applied?

    The images are interconnected by common features and capabilities. For example, images of a stone cave, a cardboard box, a luxurious mansion, some smells or other sensations, faces and names, the name of a city, hopes, and many other things are somehow connected with the “home” image.

    Interconnected images grow, intertwine, merge and branch as a set of life experience.

    The storage of objects, the bank of abstractions, the base of images are different names for the same mechanism that underlies thinking, even in animals.

    Methods to facilitate the work - collecting impressions, increase erudition. The more images in the database, the richer they are, and the easier the opportunities are noticed, the easier it is to find a way to solve problems.

    In the set of stored abstractions, you must select the "I" - a set of properties and capabilities relating to itself. Abstraction "I" is the key, a universal tool for solving any problems. The more elaborated is the image of "self", the better is its presence in the world, the easier it is to influence the world, and the less dependence on other people.

    The method of improving performance - to find the feeling of "self", strengthen and not lose.


    The imaging mechanism works with images. Each recognized object or phenomenon is assessed - it can be eaten, it is possible to hide in it, it is better to avoid it ... Evaluation helps to find the right information in the stream of information received.

    Ratings affect mood. If there are a lot of things around that are rated as good, then the mood improves. If there is a lot about what is estimated as helping in work, then the mood becomes working.

    If you come home and purposefully relax after a hard day’s work, then a habit will arise - when you come home it will be difficult to do something other than rest. A look at the home environment will quench the desire to do something useful. Everything in sight began to be valued as an attribute of rest, associated with inaction. If you need to work at home, you should select a place that is not used for relaxation.

    If you arrange a workplace near a bedroom or even work in a bed, then the bed will have associations with work, so even after turning off the light, thoughts will continue to solve problems, falling asleep will become more difficult. If you need to relax at home, you should select a place that is not used for work.

    If at work you want to think about household chores, and at home thoughts revolve around work tasks, then you should pay attention to the influence of the situation.

    If a workplace is associated with troubles, then at such a workplace it will become difficult to tune in to work. If, upon arrival at work, a non-working mood is turned on, the web of reluctance sticks together the wings of recent enthusiasm, then work should be done to change the existing assessments.

    Methods for improving the atmosphere in the workplace - editing subconscious assessments from the level of consciousness, everyday rituals, anchoring (NLP).

    Ratings determine the features that are available right now. The assessment “good” means that the seen object or phenomenon provides an opportunity to solve some problem, to satisfy some need, even if there is no such need right now. A rating of “bad” indicates a hindrance; something is hindering opportunities that are marked by “good” ratings.

    Evaluations can turn into independent entities (in the image bank mentioned above) - bad grades become a cause for censure, good grades become goals.

    If the assessment has become the goal, then the assessment seems to be a full-fledged action - approving “likes” and abusive comments make it possible to calm down and consider some work as completed. A lot of time is spent on grading, the benefits are not obvious, they are only implied.

    If evaluation has become the goal, then it is possible to evaluate the evaluation. Hypervalue evaluations lead to an inferiority complex and even to an estimated dependence.

    You can read about the “reference points” to understand that the estimates are always relative. If you don’t see what you are comparing with, then the comparison goes with some extremes, unattainable ideals, as a result of which the world is divided into black and white color without intermediate shades, it becomes poorer and begins to upset.

    The method of reducing the value of assessments is to think about their nature and redefine habits.


    Feelings do not give a complete picture of the surrounding reality - we do not see what is happening behind, do not listen to all the sounds in a row, ignore most of the smells and tactile sensations. But still, we usually know where we are and what we wear.

    For a better understanding of what is happening around the brain thinks out, models part of reality. And it adds to the picture of the recent past and a possible future.

    Different mechanisms can be involved in modeling - from mirror neurons, allowing to feel the actions of others, to full-fledged dreams, in which worlds that are not connected with reality are created.

    Without modeling, the forecast mechanism could not work effectively, and without forecasts it would be difficult to set goals.

    Excess of fantasy can turn into a bad habit - immersion in virtual dreams can take away too many resources that are necessary for action in reality.

    The method of reducing the need for dreams - increasing erudition, exercises to return to “here and now”, restoring interest in what is happening around, psychotherapy.


    What is happening in the outside world is perceived by the receptors, recognized in images, provided with assessments, supplemented and collected in a heap - it turned out to be something generalized, relating to the situation as a whole.

    The situation determines the mood - I as a whole is now either good, or bad, or a lot of strength, or feeling tired, or I can relax, or I need to react urgently.

    The problem of mood is that it too generalizes the perceived picture of the world — one very bright signal can drown out the others.

    Improvement methods - if pain, fatigue, sadness or something unpleasant lasts too long, so that the usual methods of improving mood no longer bring a drop of joy, then you should allow yourself to search for and eliminate the cause of a poor condition.

    For example, if a headache, runny nose or lack of sleep interfere with focusing on work tasks, then you need to revise priorities and find an opportunity to do health.

    If everything around is bad, then you can look for instructions on optimism, the first point in which should be the removal of the mask from your own face with the usual gloomy look (feedback).


    Attention is like a ray of light that highlights something in the stream of perceived information.

    Even among multi-tasking specialists, the focus of attention is able to highlight only one object at a time. If someone tries to do a lot of things at the same time, then his attention is forced to constantly switch between different objects.

    Lack of attention in everyday life indicates an excess of goals for attention, be it a dense flow of information, dozens of subconscious anxieties or simultaneous attempts to solve several different tasks. The reasons may be different, different solutions are suitable for different tasks.

    Methods for unloading attention - prioritizing tasks, putting off less important ones, as well as improving skills, automating frequently repeated actions.

    The focus of attention is by no means instantaneous. The limitation on the speed of switching can be noticed, for example, if during fast walking to listen to sensations in the legs - the supporting leg changes faster than attention is induced, it is impossible to observe the sensations in both legs at once.

    The focus of attention can tremble - it is difficult to hold onto one thing. The focus of attention can stick - it is difficult to switch to something else.

    Methods to improve attention - exercises to hold and release the focus, meditation.


    Next to attention is the mechanism of awareness, which can be called the “inner observer”.

    The observer keeps his attention on the observed facts or phenomena in order to better remember them and not lose the thread of reflection.

    Perceived or invented is collected in a picture that turns in front of the inner eye in anticipation of awareness, useful thoughts, conclusions and decisions.

    The observer can control attention and is located near the source of thoughts. The observer can even observe his work. At the level of consciousness, one can notice its existence and even consider the observer as the main manifestation of the existence of the mind - “I” is the one who observes what is happening.

    Observation is only one of the functions of the brain, and not central, and unwise animals can also observe. The observer is not engaged in the collection, processing and awareness of information, he only holds the picture of the perceived, helping to realize.

    Diligent observation can become self-sufficient - the process of observation turns into action, which is fed into the mechanism of choice and removes other, equally useful activities.

    The method of liberation of thinking is to reduce the role of the observer. It is curious that the relaxation of the observer leads to an increase in observation, since attention resources are released. Distraction from the obsessive speculative picture allows you to notice more in the surrounding world.

    If by “thinking” we mean only the intense expectation of thought, then the advice “to think less” will increase the productivity of the mind. The option “diligently look at the wall of the problem and watch out for the idea” is not the only and not the best possible way to solve problems.

    A too weak internal observer cannot for long hold the focus of attention on any one task. Observer anyway, what to observe, so he can switch at least every second to what seems more important now. As a result, it is difficult to focus on any task for a long time - a no less important or interesting one always pops up.

    The method of holding attention is to imagine a poster above your head, to mentally write only one task on a poster, to instruct the observer to check with the written one at any desire to distract. The observer loves pictures.


    On the flow of information jumps the focus of attention. The picture of the perceived observer studies. At the same time, something important is constantly expected.

    One can hopefully wait for the appearance of the good, which is not enough, or with caution, wait for the disappearance of the good, which will become lacking.

    One can hopefully wait for the disappearance of the bad that interferes, or with caution to wait for the appearance of the bad that will begin to interfere.

    Both hopes and fears are search queries that take away attention resources.

    Waiting creates a tangible internal stress, which can be called anxiety as usual.

    The more important things are sought out, the more anxiety. The more needed, the stronger the alarm.

    Alarms are a useful search tool, but their excess interferes. It is difficult to concentrate on one thing, when dozens of alarms revolve in the subconscious every second.

    Common methods of temporarily reducing anxiety are the rails of familiar music, old games, art books, drowning in food, travel, social networks, rituals of bad habits, dumping accumulated tension in gambling or sports.

    It should be understood that compensations or stubs allow you to ignore the problem, postpone the decision until later, as a result of which the problem takes root and increases.

    The usual methods of reducing anxiety are a medical examination and an appeal to a psychiatrist, since the increased muscle tone and general excitability characteristic of an excess of anxiety may be due to a metabolic failure resulting from a disease.

    The most popular method is to refer to a psychotherapist. It is often not easy to independently dig out your long-standing needs, for which anxiety seeks a solution, with a specialist is easier.

    Method for philosophers and ascetics - to get rid of hopes and fears, to reduce the number of reasons for waiting.


    Reactions that do not require deliberation are called reflexes, habits, and prejudices.

    Any habits save energy - a useful tool if used for its intended purpose and not abused.

    Due to random failures or optimization, as life experience is gained, errors sometimes become fixed in reflexes. Wrong reactions are so frequent that even the word “prejudice” is habitually associated with something bad, as opposed to reasonable.

    Reflexes differ from assessments only by the presence of a pre-selected action, so editing reflexes is similar to editing assessments — awareness exercises for programming the unconscious.

    Improvement methods - detection of non-optimal solutions, consolidation of informed choice.


    Habitual reactions are combined into groups or sets. From the group of reactions depends on how a person reacts - as a naughty child or as a caring father, as a gallant gentleman or as partisans, as a tourist or as a master, as a petitioner or as a teacher.

    The same person in similar situations may react differently - this or that group of reactions receives priority depending on the state, mood, received calls and some other conditions.

    A group of reactions can be called differently: a set of behavioral algorithms, active subpersonality, current role, mask.

    Switching masks is clearly noticeable when talking on the phone - intonation and words strongly depend on who the person is talking to.

    For the performance of the mask can create two types of problems: the mask is weak, the mask is inappropriate.

    At work, masks are expected of a good worker, a reasonable engineer, a benevolent colleague, an executive subordinate, an initiative leader and the like. If the role fails, then you can purposefully work on the appropriate set of familiar reactions.

    If a capricious or entertaining mask is inappropriately switched on at work, then something needs to be done either with a non-working mood, which depends on the assessments, or with a role in which unnecessary reactions and reflexes have been played.

    Improvement methods - purposeful work to create a whole image of a professional. Not to show others, but for self-perception.


    The brain can be divided conditionally not only into biological sections, but also into functional ones.

    A functional department deals with the processing of incoming data and the issuance of quick solutions for the situation. Active work requires a lot of resources, especially during wakefulness.

    Another department deals with the processing of complex connections between abstractions. An example of an evolutionary task is tracking social connections in a flock (team) of a hundred individuals.

    For complex tasks requires a lot of resources, but the work on non-urgent calculations can be postponed until later, waiting for a pause in the work of the “active” system.

    The default or passive system of the brain is a conventional name for a functional department that is able to process communications between hundreds of objects in the background in order to assess opportunities and choose the best course of action.

    The “passive” supercomputer has technical limitations. First, data is not loaded into it quickly (punch cards), it can take about twenty minutes to focus on thinking about a complex system.

    Some scientists, writers, architects and developers do not like to be distracted while working - too much time is required to return to thinking. The tree of connections, carefully built in the mind, easily crumbles and is hardly restored.

    The method of improving performance - eliminate distractions. A “do not disturb” sign on the table and a “do not disturb” mode in messaging systems can help.

    The second drawback of the “passive” system is still not enough power to handle the connections between thousands of objects to solve several complex tasks simultaneously.

    Ideas that are not related to work load a passive system, making it difficult to think about working tasks during work hours.

    In addition to pleasant ideas, thoughts about unclosed tasks revolve and turn around in my head — technical debts for work, problems in personal relationships, plans for the near future.

    Productivity drops noticeably if you juggle a dozen apples while trying to peel one of them, you should find or create a table nearby to put apples on it that can be peeled later, but you don't want to lose.

    Brain Discharge Method - write ideas and tasks to any external media, file or paper sticker to work on them later (GTD methods, ToDo lists). Do not suppress extraneous thoughts, and write out, then they will stop spinning in my head, interfering with the main work.

    The classic “burnout”, which takes place instantly when changing jobs, but reappears after several months of work in a new place, is associated with a set of expertise or competence on specific projects - the more well-known flaws and dangerous places, the more details you have to keep in mind for the search for a solution, the easier the “passive” system is overloaded, creating a reluctance to engage in even small tasks.

    Expertise here implies knowledge of ignorance - I know that in some place I don’t know something, therefore I cannot predict the result of changes.

    The improvement method is to admit to yourself that you are poor in some tools, you know only routine actions and allow strange situations to arise. After recognition, you can start searching for opportunities to acquire the necessary skills.


    The mind works very quickly - every second information flows are taken, images are recognized, available opportunities are revealed, decisions are made. Mind is a real-time system (soft real-time).

    To ensure speed, the mind sometimes sacrifices accuracy: unimportant information is ignored, important information is rarely checked, reliability of facts is determined by the authority of the source and old beliefs, decisions are made routinely, resource-intensive conflicts are postponed until later ...

    As a result of accelerating and protective functions of the mind, errors in perception, thinking and behavior about which you can find a lot of information on the phrases “cognitive distortion” and “defense mechanism”.

    Dozens of cognitive distortions are known, their list is actively changing and supplemented as new research is conducted.

    Some cognitive distortions help to operate effectively in some conditions, others speed up the decision-making process, others allow to bypass the technical limitations of the brain. That is, distortions are not bugs, but features, useful protections and props. But sometimes they start to interfere.

    For example, the unconscious copying of the behavior of the surrounding idlers delays in the swamp.

    For example, some facts unfairly rated "important", but the really important facts pass by attention.

    For example, rationalization helps to select, if not the right, but understandable reason to justify obscure sensations, as a result of which false targets are chosen for the struggle.

    For example, imperceptibly strengthening phobias can participate in self-sabotage.

    For example, habits compel the use of ineffective ways to solve problems (“golden hammer”, “XY problem” and other antipatterns).

    Methods to improve the rationality of thinking - studying the list of known cognitive distortions, skills of detecting and neutralizing errors.


    Different people interpret the term “emotion” in different ways - sensation, motivation, mood, and demonstration of a state. There is no generally accepted interpretation, the term adds very different entities, so before using the word, you should clarify your personal understanding.

    For example, the above-mentioned anxiety can be attributed to a separate emotion, can not be attributed.

    Irritation, anger, aggression, rage - either the different stages of a single emotion, or different entities.

    By “I am afraid”, the already mentioned anxieties can be hidden, as well as the simplest reactions, different feelings and even the logical result of the work of the prediction mechanism - some of this can be attributed to emotions, it remains only to determine what it is.

    In the context of disability, in addition to anxiety and apprehension, the emotions of rejection that live on the assessment mechanism deserve special attention. To get rid of rejection, you need to recognize its presence and find real roots.

    Fatigue is either a disguise of disguise, or another emotion, suggesting that it is time to stop doing something. If fatigue is a signal of continued stress, and not the exhaustion of resources, then “waiting for recovery” is not the only possible and far from the best way to rest.

    Emotions deserve a separate discussion, which must begin with the definition of a term.

    The longest of pleasant emotions is the state of flow. There are different ways to flow - a strong desire or lack of long-standing needs. The first way is easier, the second is more reliable. Several incomplete important matters make it difficult to enter the stream for any of them.

    The strongest of pleasant emotions is achievement. Called to relax after hard work. If the sensation of the accumulated load makes it difficult to accept new challenges, then it’s time to remember about the lost skill. If you can not relax, you can look for joy, learn to notice their achievements in the recent past.

    The most easily accessible pleasant emotion of anticipation is the most short-lived. Dreams develop imagination, but can take too much time, away from reality and eventually increase the number of anxious sensations. The transience of anticipation is one of the reasons that rewards are poorly motivated.

    Pleasant and unpleasant emotions are only signals from the subconscious to the level of consciousness. The subconscious mind is trying to tell the mind that it would be nice to change the behavior. To end any emotion, it is enough to accept a signal, stop dismissing it, or ascribe to it some external cause.

    For example, I notice that I am puzzled — a phrase from the rationalist's toolkit that helps complete the emotion of confusion.

    Methods of improvement - familiarity with your own emotions, finding and eliminating the causes of bad experiences, separate skills for recognizing, living and ending each emotion. If you cannot do it yourself, you can use the help of a psychotherapist.


    Not all sensations come from the outside world. I want to eat, drink, sleep, straighten shoulders and breathe deeply - signals from the body, indicating a shortage or excess of something.

    The improvement method is to listen to your own body, not to confuse hunger signals with fatigue, not to dismiss them in the name of great goals. Sometimes it is possible and even necessary to overcome, but it is harmful to introduce into habit the constant neglect of the needs of your own body.

    In addition to the needs of the body, there are needs of the individual. For example, evolutionarily conditioned to “learn new things”, “recheck the known”, “try to repeat”, “create new things”.

    The improvement method is to try new activities, not content with predictable rails. Of course, you should avoid knowingly harmful ones, because there are a great many chemically and socially acceptable ways to gain new experience.

    There are also social needs. For example, support or confirmation of “I exist”, “accept me”, “I do the right thing”. Different types of support are not interchangeable, but they are often confused and the request for personal support is unknowingly disguised as, for example, a request for information or assistance in some business.

    The improvement method is to learn to support yourself. See your existence, accept yourself, comb your convictions and do the right thing (by conviction).

    The needs of all people can be called basic or primary. Even if they are not remembered, suppressed, ignored, basic needs will break through to the surface in a roundabout way, giving rise to a vague dissatisfaction.

    The list of needs is not settled, you can independently add (then print and hang in a frame on the wall). In drawing up the list of needs, it is not necessary to limit one or two popular theories that are far from perfect (Maslow, Hubbard). And the list of primary needs should be cleared of situational, introduced by education, which is a consequence of the dependencies that arise when the defenses are triggered.

    The problem of needs is that they are brought to the court of consciousness, which perceives sensations with omissions and distortions. For example, an obscure irritation may indicate that I am waiting for important news, or I forgot to have dinner, or I want to do something interesting as soon as possible, or something smells unpleasant next to me. As a result, I may not want to eat, but rather drown out irritation with something pleasant.

    It is necessary to distinguish the need (hunger), the signal (growing irritation), the goal (muffle with pleasure), the tool (candies) chosen to achieve the goal, and the desire to use the tool (take the candy).

    The improvement method is to learn to recognize your needs, identify and satisfy. Listen to your needs, do not drown out with patience unless absolutely necessary, respect every need.


    When the need is correctly or mistakenly realized, a goal is chosen that allows to satisfy the need - to add the missing or eliminate the unacceptable.

    For any task there are always at least three solutions; the main problem is to choose the best one. Uncertainty, weakness or inaccessibility of solutions indicate an incorrect formulation of the problem, based on an incorrect interpretation of the situation.

    For example, under the deceptive wording “learning the language” is the acquisition of skills, not knowledge. Only philologists and some programmers learn languages. Accordingly, the goal of “learning the language” will produce poorly performing solutions.

    The method for improving goal setting is playing with formulations. Correctly composed question contains half of the answer, correctly composed condition of the problem contains half of the solution.

    Method of improving the wording - clarify the terms used. What is the symptom different from the cause? How is stress different from effort? How is burnout different from fatigue? How is motivation different from desire?

    The inaccessibility of the selected tool can turn the tool into a goal, and the desire to achieve a new goal can turn into a new, secondary need.

    Secondary needs can intersect and overlap each other, creating dead ends and ring-shaped sections on the road of desires.

    Primary needs are always real and obligatory, the goals and secondary needs created by them can be interchangeable and even false.

    The method of improving performance - regularly review goals, digging out primary, screening out false, choose other tools instead of inaccessible ones.

    Orientation to the result makes you forget about the pleasure of the process, tending your thoughts to the unattainable and therefore sad extreme of “achieve everything”. Fixation on goals - one of the ways to burnout.

    The improvement method is to think about the balance between the extremes of “doing what you like” and “getting results”.

    Another method of improvement is the principle “not from a to k”, according to which it is better to set the goal “to achieve good” instead of “learn to run away from bad”.


    In the brain there are several sources of desire.

    The ancient source of desire, which can be called the “inner child”, gives rise to simple desires, the fulfillment of which will benefit here and now.

    An evolutionarily newer source of desire, which can be called the “inner adult”, gives rise to desires based on predictions, the fulfillment of which will be beneficial in the future.

    (Jung, Lerner, Winnicott, Byrne and other researchers used the terms “child” and “adult” a little differently) Every second, the

    body and mind experience dozens of different needs. Some of them are realized in the signals from the body and the impulses that pop up from the subconscious.

    To meet the needs of desires. Simultaneous and often contradictory. Postpone lunch and sleep later to do an important task. Postpone an important task to correct the mood by viewing beautiful pictures.

    Deferred desires do not disappear, until their need spawns. You can postpone, drown, compensate for untimely desires. You can even learn to ignore them, ignore them, forget about them. But the unmet need will only increase.

    The improvement method is not to ignore either the “child” or the “adult” parts of yourself, to find time for each desire. Do not turn into an unreasonable child or an overly sensible adult, observe a balance between extremes. Any “must” means “I want”, and that under every “I want” hides “I must.”

    Under the wishes, sometimes expectations are recorded - I want something to happen or stop happening, to change the conditions that prevent me from doing or receiving something. You can wait for an idea, salary, good mood or weather. You can expect someone else to do something, or at least understand.

    Expectations sound like desires, but do not imply action, but expectation, passive observation.

    Expectations give a fleeting sweetness of anticipation, but take away the resources of the above-mentioned modeling mechanisms, attention and observation, and also increase anxiety - well, when will it come, and suddenly it will not come true?

    The improvement method is to stop confusing expectations and desires. Learn to understand what exactly is hidden under each “I want” - movement or stop. It is useful to dream, but there is no need to allocate too much time and energy for standing still.


    At one time, I can follow only one desire. All desires from different needs are served at the entrance to the selection mechanism, which will weigh priorities and miss only one desire at the exit, which will turn into action.

    If there are too many desires at the entrance, including unconscious ones, and many of the desires have a high priority, then there is a traffic jam in the selection mechanism on the road, which will prevent any of the desires from driving.

    If the desire to “work” stubbornly does not turn into an action, then it is stuck in the mash in the mechanism of choice among many other desires.

    If the popular tips “plan out actions”, “add a day regimen” or “learn new things” cause a feeling of overcrowding or self-deprivation, this means that new desires are added to the congestion in the selection mechanism.

    Deceiving the term "reluctance" - under the apparent absence of an excess of desires. Like a black hole that is not visible, but is so heavy a star that even a ray of light cannot overcome gravity and take off from the surface. Unwillingness is not a void, but a mass of desires.

    Willpower is represented by some as a bulldozer, which drives along the road, scattering the cars of unapproved desires on the sides, so that someone important, with a flashing light on the roof, can pass through the selection mechanism.

    Of course, volitional bulldozer helps to forget about some needs for a while, but needs will not disappear, they will become stronger with time, they will rise in priority.

    The bulldozer will change to the tank, and his bosses will become more resolute. Dictatorship can exist for years, only it does not look like a path to harmony and happiness. If any part of me wins another, it will not be my victory.

    If you deepen the rut, throwing aside everything that is not approved by the government, the rut will turn into a ravine, the walls of which are continually showered on the road, so fighting with yourself will become a habit. It is better to disassemble the pile of accumulated desires, carrying goods to customers.

    The method of strengthening the will is in the phrase “will power” to shift the emphasis from “efforts” to “freedom”. It is not force that leads to will, but will gives strength.

    Skill of unconditional submission is sometimes useful. But, if we analyze situations in which it is useful to obey someone else’s will, then all situations go beyond normal everyday life. And we obey either authority, trusting them according to merit, or those who threaten with inevitable punishment.

    The method of improving the will is to raise one’s authority in one’s own eyes, learn to trust oneself, in order to be able to command oneself without intimidating with dire consequences.

    Methods of temporary elimination of congestion in the mechanism of choice - the chaos of thoughts (release the reins, allow boiling) and quality inaction (you can breathe and sit).

    Rest is not the methods of silencing or compensating unpleasant sensations pleasant - they can temporarily restore the working mood, but do not solve, but postpone the problem.

    It is necessary to be able to rest, and under the word “rest” two different processes are hidden: the cessation of effort, the release of long-standing desires.


    In addition to the above, there are other systems or mechanisms in the mind that are not directly related to the loss of the desire to work.

    For example, adaptation mechanisms that allow to adapt to changes in the environment. Reactions adaptations are divided into specific and not very, and the latter fall under the definition of the very “stress”, and therefore deserve a separate discussion.

    For example, a learning mechanism that not only gathers knowledge, but also develops skills. And the mechanism of constantly rewritable memory is near, which stores everything that may be needed in the future.

    For example, a crisis manager or a monkey is a subpersonality for situations exceeding the limit of patience, ignoring ordinary rules and norms. Aggressive beast, getting to the helm to break out of the environment, burning bridges. Lives near the mechanism of affects.

    For example, an internal monologue, which is either atavism, or imperfection, or a game, or an instrument, or something else.

    For example, a village of affections or a shelf with samples that helps in the development of the child. The mechanism of attachment works in adults, is located near erudition, can create values ​​and generate dependencies.

    Yes, disagreements in these and other mechanisms not mentioned here will make it impossible to work effectively, only the consequences will be much more serious than simple unwillingness, therefore now I will not linger on them.

    (perhaps a complete list of subsystems of the mind can tell scientists who participate in the design of a full-fledged AI)

    Where to begin

    The answer to the question “what to do with unwillingness to do something important” depends on the reasons for unwillingness. Before starting treatment or repair should be diagnosed.

    Symptoms are collected for diagnosis. Symptoms are noticeable consequences that allow us to make assumptions about the causes, so it is useful to study any symptoms, even unpleasant ones.

    Examples of symptoms: fixation on targets, hypercontrol, excess choice, clip perception.

    Perfectionism is an inaccurate term, which can hide several very different symptoms: fear of poor grades, dissatisfaction with the lack of progress, rationalization of the wrong path, lack of quality metrics, or something else.

    Burnout is not a symptom, but a collective term for several very different symptoms, of which some may be absent, others are understood differently, and others are defined by terms that themselves need to be defined.

    Procrastination is not a problem, but a symptom of a problem; it is already possible to stop fighting symptoms.

    If I can now allocate some time to learn a foreign language, write a new article or something else useful, but instead I do something nonsense hour after hour and cannot bring myself to start working, what exactly is happening in my head ?

    A hollow emptiness, bright dreams, chaos of scraps of thoughts, a sensation of a wall, disgust, a desire to escape from tension - different versions of symptoms indicate very different problems for which different solutions are needed.

    Perhaps the problem is in the usual downtime of the day or power. Chronic lack of sleep, monotonous food, an excess of stimulants or suppressants can lead not only to unwillingness.

    Perhaps the problem arises as a result of some kind of malfunction in the body or a disease requiring medical intervention. By the way, it is useful to start with a medical examination, and not to postpone it to the end of the line.

    It is possible that the tension accumulated in the body causes a feeling of tension and thoughts, causing unwillingness to strain at any task.

    Perhaps the problem is the inability to rest, interfere with prodding and self-accusation. Rest requires not only the allocation of time, but also skill.

    Perhaps the problem is an excess of alarms and a long list of unclosed tasks, to which new ones are constantly being added.

    Perhaps the problem is the loss of the ability to enjoy the new experience. Loss has a reason. Lack of opportunity is not a cause, but an attempt to justify, rationalization.

    Probably, the problem is in routine, annoying repetition of actions with unobvious benefits, in calluses of patience or lack of recognition.

    Very different causes of squeaking or sparking in a complex mind system require very different actions to be corrected.

    Complicated. Finishing a cursory tour of the complex production.

    Those interested can independently conduct research and compile a table in which symptoms, causes, remedies and side effects will be associated. The task is big, but you can eat this elephant bit by bit.

    For those who squandered a multi-letter article at the end to see the conclusions. My personal answer to the question “how to overcome procrastination” - with procrastination, you need not to fight, but to cooperate. You need to be friends with your head.

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