Tag Archives: self control

My constitution

The previous post raised this curious idea of drawing up your own constitution.  As a simple example, this post will outline the constitution that has served me very well for several years.

Here goes…

I grant myself sole responsibility over this body-mind that I have been dealt. This responsibility includes protection, nurturing and development and shall be carried out within the confines of planet Earth.

We all owe it to ourselves and to society to look after ourselves. As an added bonus, taking good care of yourself invariably reduces your environmental footprint.

I grant myself authority over the labour of my body-mind. This labour shall be carried out from a clean and effortless mental state and there shall be no unjustified delays or unhealthy excesses.

One of the saddest things in our modern world is that most people are conditioned to chase happiness through consumption rather than creation. Getting control over your creative powers is key to living a happy, healthy, wealthy and sustainable life.

I will maximize the quality of my human interactions, while controlling the quantity. Every interaction must fill the other person’s bucket, even if it is just a drop.

The bucket analogy comes from a simple little book by Tom Rath. It simply states that we should strive to impart goodness on everyone we interact with. This is a very good general rule for life.

I will employ a strict zero waste policy to cut out the self-destructive misuse of mental capacity. Every self-destructive mindset shall immediately be quashed with a WTF thought.

We only get a finite amount of mental processing power over the course of our lives. Using this processing power to generate valuable new ideas is optimal, spending it on stuff like routine tasks and entertainment is neutral, but wasting it on self-destructive thought processes is just idiotic. Such a waste of our finite mental capacity truly qualifies as a WTF moment and can be dismissed with a somewhat embarrassed smile and a shake of the head.

I will continuously accelerate my evolution towards the fully rational emotional being. Performance and experience enhancing emotions are strongly encouraged, but primitive self-defeating emotions will be gradually starved out.

Humans are undoubtedly emotional creatures. Unfortunately, several emotional responses that served us well over the vast majority of our evolution have become totally out of date in our modern world. If we are to live happy, healthy, wealthy and sustainable lives, we need to eradicate the primitive emotional responses that make us depressed, self-destructive, financially irresponsible and environmentally unsustainable.

So, that’s it. Five simple points that keep me on the straight and narrow. What would your constitution look like?

PS: Why should you take lifestyle advice from a random guy on the internet? Good question. Take a look at the effects that these guidelines had on my life and decide for yourself.

Draw up your own constitution

Another post, another weird-sounding idea… But if there is one idea that can really kick-start your journey to a happy, healthy, wealthy and sustainable life, it is this one.

Before we get to that though, we first have to recap on the previous two posts on how the mind works and the role of willpower. Here is the short version: During the 350000 years that we have walked the earth as Homo sapiens, our brains evolved an enormously strong drive towards instant pleasure and away from instant pain as a simple, but very effective survival mechanism. This kept us fed, clothed and protected in the very harsh environment we found ourselves in, but now it represents a serious problem: Our environment has changed completely over the last 100 years or so, while our brains have stayed essentially the same. 

Evolution-of-Obesity

Today, we still chase instant pleasure and avoid instant pain. The only problem is that we repeatedly gain instant pleasure by simply swiping a piece of plastic and gorging on an enormous chocolate and avoid rather ridiculous potential sources of instant “pain” like public speaking or an innocent little spider that ventured into the house (while ignoring all the really scary things like climate change, resource depletion, lifestyle-induced degenerative disease or a virtually broke retirement).

Environmental choice

As all of us have experienced, we cannot override these instinctive drives through pure willpower. All we can do is to intelligently alter our environment to ensure that these incredibly strong drives push us in the right direction. This is what the One in a Billion project is all about: building intelligent micro-environments within which happy, healthy, wealthy and sustainable living happens automatically and naturally.

In order to make this work, however, you have to consistently do two things: construct these intelligent micro-environments and spend most of your time within these intelligent micro-environments. This sounds pretty simple, but can become a bit tricky. And yes, this is where your very own constitution can work miracles.

preamble_to_the_united_states_constitutionThis constitution of yours should be a very short, simple and personal document that basically states that you will consistently construct, maintain and utilize the aforementioned intelligent micro-environments. And it should be enforced by your willpower – a few seconds at a time (just about as long as willpower usually lasts).

Let’s quickly look at a simple example: the healthy nutritional micro-environment discussed in a previous chapter. In order to set up this environment, your willpower will uphold your constitution through short directives such as ordering healthy food from a grocery delivery service, enrolling in a healthy cooking course or initiating the process of making a large batch of your favorite green drink. In order to utilize this environment, your willpower will uphold your constitution by grabbing a hunger buster every time it encounters an irrational craving. Simple.

To clarify further, the example posts coming later will share my personal constitution as a tried and tested example.

Filed under: Mental control – Basic control