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Day 55-56: Illusion of Comfort

This is very rough but still pretty powerful.

The situation will not apply to everyone, but the mindset derived from the situation will.

Let’s go.

A couple times recently I mentioned my current status of being broke. I am treating it as a factual reality here and not for ****the purposes of emotional appeal.

The insights that this state is giving me are invaluable.

So I have no stable source of income yet. My first e-commerce business gives me little pay-outs here and there, but other traditional sources, such as campus jobs, internships, and research, I ruthlessly cut out of my life. I’ve been living on the edge….continuously throughout this summer, indebted to my very kind friends and relatives.

So I asked myself today:

“If I actually don’t have money, why do I feel comfortable? Why don’t I feel any real fire?”

Like, of course I’m hella motivated. I’m talking about a different kind of motivation.

Motivation coming from having nothing rather than the motivation to acquire more or better things.

Imagine a fighter: a good fighter has been conditioned to desire a victory because this is what fighters do.

A great fighter, though, is usually someone who is literally fighting for his life or for money to feed his family. Very different motivations and very different stakes leading to different results.Betty said “our fight for survival is much more potent than our fight for material wealth. It's more primal”.

So I continued to inquire.

“Okay, factually, I do have ‘nothing’ and have been having ‘nothing.’"

What is the issue here?

Some thinking got me to a potential answer that will be useful for all of us.

Western capitalistic society creates an illusion of comfort which keeps poor or just-not-wealthy people’s situations convenient enough to not strive for higher goals.

I am not blaming anyone here. We just need to see the factual reality for what it is in order to manipulate the variables to get what we want.

The very fact that I managed to stay comfortable and well-fed this summer without actually making real money means that, somehow, society allows for that.

Credit card options for international students are meager, but they are still there.

So there always seems to be an option of still being kinda fine.

Which, in reality, is not fine.

Because of being in this state, I am missing the tremendous benefits of being motivated by having ‘nothing’.

In our house, we have some packages coming in every day- little things, big things, every day for the five of us.

Why is that?

Because the whole system is designed to make it easy.

If I have money, it’s really hard to withhold myself from spending it on something I justify as being important.

This is my personal bias and ‘ a guilty pleasure’’ but it's also reflecting a tendency other people might have. When buying an item requires two clicks, the temptation is really strong. If you have to dress, get out of your house, walk 30 minutes to the store, interact with the assistant, and walk back…well, I will think twice.

Now, of course, I am grateful for being in this situation. Nobody would want it for themselves to be hungry. Amazon is amazing.

The upside of this setup is the very reason I came to America. Being who I am, I can use the resources I need to scale up. When young people in Uzbekistan are trying to hustle, they don't even have the option to use credit cards.

All we need to look at is the mindset here.

If I intentionally remove all rewards and internalize the idea of myself not inherently being entitled to anything or deserving anything, I can fully tap into the primal motivation to “get food when I am hungry.”

This means removing a reward before you complete some actions to “earn it.”

This reminded me of being at Vanderbilt. I was continuously convinced that I shouldn't worry about even the minuscule sum of money I have to pay.

"Enjoy the moment, be young, be free, explore, make friends, and hang out."

I was extremely stressed out about this setup.

If the whole deal is centered around money for some of us (university being a business, the point of college seemingly being to get a job), why am I being lulled into not being worried about money?

Betty’s comment: “buuuut for most kids it's not. I think the current situation illustrates that well--kids don't want a (perfectly fine, assuming their time zone's compatible, they have wifi, etc) education away from campus. They want to be on campus, bc college to them is inherently a social experience.”

So this applies who let’s say people with more 'mercantile' interests for college.

Because for Vanderbilt, it is convenient to keep me oblivious and comfortable enough for me to not truly realize my shitty situation and continue paying them without evaluating the effectiveness of that education towards my mercantile skills.

In my current position of still being a Vandy student, I will get by in terms of food and living. In case it gets too bad, I can theoretically always get a part-time job and get by.

You are sort of placed into this illusion of comfort that is sustained by an infrastructure that benefits from your lack of reality checks.

So being broke, entrepreneurial and motivated, I was being convinced to take four years to pursue some major, sweat for internships, then get a job, instead of directly trying to figure out how to generate income sustainably.

The core issue with this is that your primal emotions are not aligned with your desired actions.

How do we align them to tap into our potential?

Still playing around with this.

Essentially, I am trying to very intentionally monitor the rewards I am giving myself.

What is the reality of things?

I have been convincing myself to stay in a comfortable setup, where I don’t have to really move and act disruptively.

Reading books and eating nice foods, I am fooled by my own environment.

Being young and still not possessing a great fortune, we want to put ourselves in a position of intentional discomfort as often as possible.

Intentional discomfort.

You have to intend to do it. Because it will be easier to be comfortable and certain environments will make it very easy for you to remain comfortable.

Look, you can be lulled into comfort by having a job. Your situation is convenient. You don't worry about things.

This still doesn’t mean you are wealthy, free, accomplished, and pursuing things that are true to your potential.

Your own family, the options for a retreat that you have are barring you from the gift of primal motivation you can have.

The option of just heading to breakfast right when you wake up bars you from the motivation you could have had for your workout had that been a necessary precursor to breakfast.

Earning things aligns the needed actions with your natural impulses.

Of course, this is a game that we intentionally play. We don't want to be in a position where we have to run a 5k to get breakfast. However, we can get the tremendous benefit of the eustress of having to run a 5k to get your breakfast without incurring the negative distress.

Again, society is designed to make us devalue things that we historically value tremendously, such as food.

It is a gift to design a system for yourself when you can get happiness from buying your favorite food.

When you can easily get whatever you want, you are ridding yourself of the greatest pleasure of striving, sweating, and struggling towards a thing and then getting it.

Just think for a sec. When we don’t get what we want immediately, when there is even small flirty foreplay before the big reward, it makes the reward more enjoyable than if we jumped straight into it. Remember that nowadays, no matter who you are and how wealthy, there is the option of the internet giving us instantaneous rewards.

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