Be Better Than A Lab Rat
There’s a lot of studies out there now what we can learn from lab rats. How you can find motivation, form habits & improve yourself through studies done on lab rats.
Related: My buddy Maneesh is building a startup based around training yourself to move closer to your goals through various good & bad stimuli.
All of this is focused around training your lizard brain – the little scattered brained piece inside your head that’s scared for no apparent reason & acts based on survival instinct rather than with purpose or intent – to work on autopilot in a way that’s congruent with your future goals & desires.
Humans > Lab Rats
This sort of pavlov training is a solid concept & there’s a lot of habit forming basics you can pick up from this in order to move yourself closer to your goals and become more efficient & productive.
That said, there’s one disconnect that I have with these approaches. That’s this: it’s basically training you to only act when a stimulus is present – essentially creating a very useful, very large, very capable lab rat – who only creates an expected response when a stimuli is present.
But there’s the simple disconnect I have. Here it is:
Humans are better than lab rats.
The X Factor
If you’re human (if you’re reading this, there’s a 99% chance you are), you’ve got an X factor.
The X factor that humans have and make us superior to some rats running around a maze in an experiment is that we get to choose.
We don’t have to be controlled endlessly by cheese. Sure, we can use it sometimes to jump start a project or get us going, but we can come up to a mouse trap and instead of just acting on instinct and going for it – we get to think, weigh our options and decide if that piece of cheese is worth it or not.
Sometimes it might be & sometimes it might not. That might involve going hungry for a bit or finding a new way around it.
It won’t be fun, it might be uncomfortable and it sure won’t be easy.
But you can choose to do it. If you really want to that is.
You Can Do Things You Don’t Want To Do
The cool things about humans is that we’re quite capable of doing things that we don’t want to do in order to do things that we really want to do.
I’ve gone over how I think motivation is crap. Discipline is where it’s at. You should do things you hate, become comfortable with the uncomfortable through doing things like taking cold showers & pushing your body physically to the limits.
Because it teaches you that you don’t have to only do the things that are easy & “possible.”
The reason most people don’t is because they’re not intentional. Because they’re constantly running on autopilot choosing default options that are the easiest instead of choosing the options that are the most effective (and often more difficult).
The amount of success you’ll have in life is directly proportionate to the number of uncomfortable situations you’re willing to put yourself in. - Nick Reese
I love that quote by Nick – especially the second half:
“…you’re willing to put yourself in.”
Freely deciding to immerse yourself in uncomfortable situations because you know it will make you better.
Instincts & reactions are sensations. That’s all – they pass. They don’t have any real impact on your future. Your decisions – however – are what make the difference – they are what decide how your path changes going forward.
If you delegate your decisions to sensations & feelings all of the time – you’ll wonder why you’re not doing the things you really want to do (because you’re not taking agency of your decisions – you’re delegating them over to temporary feelings).
Instead of that – try exercising will instead.
Pull a manual override and choose to jump head first into the uncomfortable, the difficult, the impossible and do it anyway.
You don’t have to be subjected to cheese. You don’t have to be a rat. You don’t have to run on autopilot.
There’s another option – it’s not easy, but it’s better.
Be better than a lab rat. Lean in. Get uncomfortable. Take a cold shower. Do something impossible.
You get to choose.
Be better than a lab rat.