Mar 12Liked by Robert Yi 🐳

I have a few thoughts here:

1. Samoas have a similar amount of calories from fat and carbohydrate, if you'd like to replenish muscle glycogen without excess calories, there are better options ;)

2. I'm struggling to understand true motivations— you mention these urges from your "animal brain," wealth, attractiveness, the ability to impress... Is there anything wrong with wanting those things? Would it be acceptable to say they're byproducts of accomplishing other, internal goals? For example: I want to be the best version of myself possible. That means physically and mentally... Working to improve physically and mentally means becoming mentally sharper and physically more attractive. My number 1 goal is not to have big biceps, but it's a nice side product of training smart and hard.

3. Many of these seem like they could be solved with a first-principles approach to setting goals or problem solving. For example, rather than letting your mind play tricks on whether to eat cookies, track macros. Rather than "doing a few sets of curls," find an exercise regiment that aligns with who you want to be. Rather than starting fights on Twitter, ask if a response reflects your true self.

4. I think you get at that with "stemming the root compulsions." For me, having a clear vision of myself is immensely valuable for that. Thought: I want a cookie, Brain: I prioritize my health and fitness: cookies are ok sometimes, but not right now. Is it perfect? No. Does it take practice? Yes. But after a while your personality starts to align with those thoughts.

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Love this, Matt, thanks!

1. Boo, let me eat my samoas!

2. "Is there anything wrong with wanting those things?" No not at all -- you're totally right. I think the problem for me is how quickly they become primary objectives, rather than ancillary benefits, and my brain tends to make this swap very silently.

3. "Many of these seem like they could be solved with a first-principles approach to setting goals or problem solving." Absolutely! In general, this is the approach I take, but what I find interesting is how quickly this breaks down if I haven't explicitly defined boundaries. Maybe it's a matter of just being a bit more prescriptive.

4. I love this: "But after a while your personality starts to align with those thoughts." I think it's tempting to view choice as binary -- something you have to just fight, forever. But there is certainly something to be said about how you change as a result. I tend to focus on the axis of "it gets easier over time", but there's something more complex going on here -- who you are and, consequently, the motivation pathways start to change...

Really thoughtful comments Matt, really appreciate it. :)

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Mar 13Liked by Robert Yi 🐳

Your response reminds me of a few things:

- I've struggled with some of my passions (as a hyper-passionate person) and I find the "tipping point" is usually when I shift to external motivations from internal... It's easy to do! Re-focusing on what's important to me usually helps. This is sort of a tangent to the discussion.

- The human brain is so interesting. The way we think defines how we think. Due to how neurons fire, our thoughts can be virtuous or vicious cycles. I think "manifesting" is dumb, but there's something to be said for "how we think is who we are"

I love writing like this. Keep up the great work :)

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Mar 12Liked by Robert Yi 🐳

I'm far from the poster child for self control but maybe that's part of the issue. Self control is an impossible battle given all the hidden forces you called out. What helps me a little is trying harness some of those hidden forces with framing. An appeal to the secret gods so to speak. Couple questions:

Do I want to be happy or do I want to be right?

-don't pick a fight over coding format if you want to be happy.

How do I want to feel tomorrow, as opposed to a minute?

-want to have a good day snowboarding tomorrow? Time to switch from beer to water

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You've gotten to something very interesting. Choice & time scale are certainly two important parameters to play with in the framing -- I wonder what else there is!

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Mar 13·edited Mar 13Liked by Robert Yi 🐳

Good read!

> These are things I don’t really want, but my animal brain craves anyway: I want to be wealthy, I want to be attractive, I want to impress people.

Who is "you"?

You say "I don't want these things," but those desires are part of us. They are built into the makeup of who "we" are. I empathize with your identification with the rational, conscious mind, and de-identification with the baser (and meta-level) desires and instincts, but that is fundamentally a dissociative perspective.

I 100% agree that our control over our environment is the only real control we have. It's like raising a dog. You can sit there watching him and telling him not to eat your shoes, or you can put them out of reach.

I think if we idealize ourselves as _just_ the rational, conscious mind, we pretend that we will always be able to control ourselves, just like watching the dog. But, we don't have that level of control—our conscious, rational minds are only the tip of the iceberg. Yes, they have direct, dictatorial control, but only while they're engaged, and that's only even a fraction of the time we're awake!

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