For today’s topic, I’ll be discussing the intricacies around the abstract and relatively removed concept of adversity. I’ll also be explaining why I used this specific language to describe adversity.
Over the course of several months, I have had the privilege to explore different arenas of thought, and more specifically, thoughts relating to motivation, obstacles, and challenges. It has been some time since I last wrote, so I will try my best to articulate my thoughts in a way that can be readily digestible.
We have all been somewhat exposed to the idea that choosing tolerable pain over pleasure can bring prosperity and peace. And by tolerable pain, I mean pain that you choose to engage in that your different levels of consciousness do not want to experience for the short-term pleasure that it could experience. I believe a simple, and relatively more relatable set of examples can consist of:
“I have an exam tomorrow that I should study for,” or
“I have to go to the gym tonight after work,” or
“I should probably cook dinner”
In each of these examples, there has been a framing of the mind that emphasizes the obstacle that can prevent the underlying desire or the relational longing for a positive consequence. In the first example, the student has an exam that they understand should be studied for, but recognizes the challenge of sitting down and concentrating in order to complete this task. They understand that through cost-benefit analysis, that they are going to most likely dedicate the rest of their night to studying rather than other pleasures, such as spending the night with friends or playing video games (arbitrary short-term pleasurable alternatives). In the second example, the individual here recognizes that after a day of work, understands the positive consequences leading to long-term longevity and well-being if they choose to go to the gym. However, once again, there’s a focus on the implications of spending another night at the gym instead of going home, to where they can be comfortable and experience short-term pleasures. In the final example, the individual engages in another cost-benefit analysis in where they are weighing the pros and cons of either making dinner or access a convenient alternative.
In these examples, there are major themes that I would like to highlight.
- There is a focus on the obstacles of achieving long-term benefits.
- The individual engages in cost-benefit analysis.
- It’s their choice.
It is comforting to know that our brains are incredibly adaptive and equipped to make decisions that will allow for convenience and pleasure. The pleasure principle, to bluntly define, revolves around striving for pleasure in the most convenient manner to satisfy biological needs. In order to achieve, let’s say, high achieving performance in any working environment, there is an increased level of need to dedicate and commit time and energy towards that goal. However, the frame of mind will alter the approach that you may have in engaging with those goals. If you were to focus on the obstacles that would prevent you from achieving long-term benefits, the long-term benefits are minimized, and as a result, you will naturally succumb to short-term pleasures in an effort to both ease and appease your ego, and create dissonance within yourself. When you are presented with options, you can create more options, but with these more options, you will engage in cost-benefit analysis to determine what is the best course of action to take. Your mind naturally strives to access the most convenient option that will maximize your wants for dopamine. As a result, in every decision that you make (and, by the way, you make thousands, hundreds of thousands of decisions every day), your mind is inherently equipped to be able to analyze your options and pursue the most effective outlet. Finally, in the end, and this relates to my previous point, you have agency, more often than not, to create decisions for yourself. It is your choice to decide if you want the long-term goals. It is your choice to help yourself.
This last statement may receive resistance or pushback. This is perfectly understandable– it would mean you must take accountability and responsibility for your actions and decisions. This isn’t to discount or disregard the idea that external circumstances may alter your approach or change the way that you navigate your life. These difficulties may be imposed upon you without warning, and those are difficult because you must adapt. However, for the decisions where these external circumstances are not imposed, you are presented with several different options, and then for you to make the decision that you know, inherently, is not going to lead to the production of long-term benefits, it is imperative that you take accountability. If you choose not to do so, you will find yourself repeating recurring circumstances due to becoming victims of your own natural design of striving for comfort. If there is any respite, I would like to point out that comfort should only be taken in knowing that natural states are geared towards achieving accessible and convenient options that will maximize benefit, and it is difficult to challenge. However, to challenge these notions differentiates those who perceive adversity as adversity, compared to those who perceive adversity as an opportunity for failure, and as a result, growth.
On a final note, I mentioned that adversity may be a removed concept. What I mean by this is that adversity is scary and challenging to the ego. As a result, we will aim to distract ourselves from the impending necessity for addressing the adversities in our lives. Because of this, adversity is removed because we have chosen to make it removed. In the end, if there is one thing that should be taken away from this post, is that, you are in control of your reality. Don’t waste your time. Your time is the most valuable currency that you own, and for you to not take accountability and to distract yourself from the potential good that you could achieve, you will not maximize your well-being. You are worth and deserving of at least that much to know that your time is valuable.