Voluntary Brainwashing

Published on Apr 29, 2019 in Personal


I've recently noticed that when I want to force myself to do something difficult, like forming a new habit, changing diet, learn a new skill, etc I can  "trick" my motivation by reading a book (or rather, a cluster of books) on that topic.

Not just any book. The "boring" books that deconstruct a topic and make you understand how everything fits together. It appears as if when I learn something in depth, I'm much more motivated to take action afterwards.

The interesting thing is that this works despite the fact that I'm perfectly aware that I played a trick on myself and the behavioural change tend to last a very long time.

This is not to say that my behaviour changes after reading one book. On the contrary, it usually takes a few books (a cluster) that argue different points of view.

Also, this doesn't work with ANY book. This "voluntary brainwashing" effect tends to work only with "boring" books; the ones that deconstruct a topic and make you understand how everything fits together from a high-level perspective. It appears as if when I learn something in depth, I'm much more motivated to take action afterwards.

I don't think I'm unique in this. I believe most people subconsciously understand this mechanism which is why they have such a hard time buying books that argue the opposite of what they believe.

 


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