Part 1. Homeostasis
What is Homeostasis?
– Usually it is defined as the state whereby an organism maintains balance in its internal system.
– You could say that homeostasis economizes energy expenditure and constantly works to keep us alive as long as possible.
Symptoms of Homeostasis.
Exert a minimal amount of energy—> Expending the least amount of energy needed unless you can conceive of a reason powerful enough not to.
Resist Change—> The longer you do something the harder it becomes to change that course of action.
Come up with an Infinitive number of Excuses not to exert Energy—> The body and brain will come up with any amount of excuses and rationalizations not to exert more energy about what is absolutely needed.
Live to procreate another day—> We must make up challenges and be inventive in findings ways of getting ourselves motivated and make life more exciting and intense.
Seek Instant Gratification, Avoid Pain. Human beings are wired to seek out whatever makes them feel good and keep reproducing that some stimulus over and over again, homeostasis wants to preserve that special chemical cocktail formed by the pleasure of your choice.
Entropy is the normal state of consciousness, a condition that is neither useful nor enjoyable.
Herd Mentality: Herd mentality and thinking for yourself. The first sustains homeostasis and saves us energy while the latter requires the expenditure of a lot of energy and may break us out of homeostasis.
The characteristics of Homeostasis.
In homeostasis there is often an unhealthy amount of dreaming and future planning going on, but never any real plans or actions taken to implement it. The act of starting is too frightening to the brain because then it has to work, so it is always postponed by the brain as part of the mental behavior of remaining homeostasis.
Pushing Through the Plateau
To get past the threshold will be called ‘Pushing Through the Plateau’, because that’s exactly what it feels like.
Various Factors Influencing the Difficulty of PTTP
– Physiology of your brain and body (neurotransmitters, hormones).
-Current skill level or ability in performing something.
– Your own belief, or perceived ability, of performing something.
MOMENTUM: After you manage to push through the plateau you gain intrinsic and self-sustaining motivation like force of momentum propelling you forward. Momentum makes through things way easier.
POOR FRAMES OF REFERENCE: The only thing it signifies is a failure to take personal responsibility. If the saying that “youare the average of the five people you spend time with”.
METACOGNITION: Metacognition is a fancy word for the self-reflection to think about what you think about and the nature of your thought process. The way that I use the word means to be aware of the thoughts you are having. Metacognition is the act of being aware of your current behavior, thought process, mental programming and habits.
You have thoughts and you are very much influenced by your thoughts, but ultimately you aren´t your thoughts. That´s the basis for practicing metacognition.
– Think deeply, write down how you feel or think, or film yourself.
– Keep a journal or commonplace, look it up.
– The point is to catch yourself in the act of wrongdoing and bring it up to the surface so that you become aware of your own unconscious behavior and immediately start to act in order to change it.
– Another helpful activity in order to develop metacognition is to go somewhere you can be by yourself, close your eyes, and start curiously asking questions to your mind.
Remember, homeostasis wants you to be comfortable and exert the least amount of energy possible.
PRINCIPAL AGENT THEORY.
Principal Agent Theory is an economic theory which says that E:F a manager (principal) get his employee (agent) to do a task for him. Principal Agent theory then goes into depth about how the principal cannot ensure that his agent will do the work for him the way it was planned unless the agent is monitored at all times; and that isn’t possible. A common assumption is that the agent wil shirk unless monitored or incentivized somehow.
The saying that “When the brain is stupid- the body suffers”. Holds somewhat true in this regard.
– Do my current actions as of right now in this moment stem from trying to preserve energy.
– Is this activity I´m about to undertake going to help my chances of breaking out of homeostasis or will it serve to push me further into the comfort of homeostasis.
– Be persistent in questioning. Find the root cause. Be patient; this is not a one day fix.
– Monitor your thought process throughout the day as you do things or as things happen to you. Observe your response. Try putting yourself in an objective position and see how it makes you feel.
– Why are you reacting the way you are?. If you were to guess, why would expect that you are having this certain sensation or urge right now?
How Homeostasis Sustain Itself
Homeostasis will sustain itself by default unless your metacognition is highly developed enough to catch it, and if your intent is sufficiently strong to allow you to persist or push through the plateau.
Excuses and Rationalizations
The better you become at quickly dropping and disallowing these false images and sensation from lingering in your mind and gather focus cumulatively, the easier it will be to break out the homeostasis.
There´s a ton of excuses that the brain comes up with to sustain itself in homeostasis in any given situation when it wants to trick you into doing something to fuel its addiction or keep you from exerting more than the minimal amount of energy. The brain is a lazy little bastard that tries to trick you.
One of the brain´s most powerful and devious ways of fooling us into saving energy is by procrastinating.
When we procrastinate it means we have bought into the brain´s rationalizations. We have been tricked usually without us being conscious of it.
If it happended unconsciously it means that there was no gap between the stimulus and the response. There was no process of metacognition going on at all, just a pre-programmed response.
As a rule of thumb it´s better to do things right away nine times out of ten- because that´s about how ofter your brain will try to trick you and give rise to thoughts or urges that stem from sustaining homeostasis.
Do you feel entitled to certain things?
Well, you aren´t. You aren´t entitled to anything but your thoughts and actions.
Self-pity is another deeply rooted and stealthy way that the brain keeps you from taking action. It also decreases the potency of your actions if you´re already doing something by taking up mental space, this diminishing your intent self-pity hinders you from dealing with the current situation.
The solution to self-pity can be summed up as to stop feeling sorry for yourself and do something about it instead.
Self-pity is a disgusting mental habit that needs to be worked or diligently in order to be removed.
Patience is a virtue when it comes to implementing positive habits or removing bad habits.
If you know you have a bad habit. Take care of it. Even if it´s a deeply rooted problem.It´s better to take care of it sooner rather than later.
Talk is shit and homeostasis is powerful.
HOMEOSTASIS AND FOOD
Gluttony is the cardinal sin.
Eating is directly linked to homeostasis as it puts you in a passive mode when you begin digesting the food and your oddy begins to store energy. This causes your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) to do into a state of read-and-digest, which makes you sluggish.
If you seek to increase productivity and want to feel more clear-headed, then you should strive not to eat more than what you need to.
Eating more or Less and Paying the Price
eat in moderation- no sugar.
Insulin: If we refrain from eating for a few hours your insulin levels will revert to a baseline state and we will gradually start to break down some of the calories stored in the fat reserves.- this is called lypolisis. If we keep from eating a while longer, lipolysis soon turns into ketosis- which is when the body´s main energy source comes from ketones.
Leptin: The hormone leptin is one of the reasons why obese people become hungry mor e often than those who are not. Leptin plays a crucial part in providing you with the sensation of feeling full and satiated from eating.
Fasting; By fasting you gradually reduce as well as temporarily break free from these sensations of hormonal hunger and as a result you become a lot more clear-headed and focuses.
Eating for Performance: Most common ailments would be avoided if we ate well, exercised a few times a week, and activated our brains to reach a state of high focus daily.
PART TWO- BREAKING OUT OF HOMEOSTASIS
“An object at rest remains at rest unless acted upon by a force. An object in motion remains in motion, and at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by a force” Newton´s first law of motion.
Allostasis: Allostasis is that it is the process by which the body and the brain are able to stay in a working balance by adapting to the things that are currently happening- whether that be waking up in the morning, getting hit by a baseball bat, giving a speech, exercising, getting thirsty, etc.
Whenever you have emotions/thoughts that make you feel bad and include negative emotions:
1. Practice the skill of inducing a relaxation response in your body (calming down), 2. the other thing that you can do about it is to think less about negative things and stop projecting yourself into the future, worry less 3. Randomly stops every once in a while and stand completely still until I become relaxed.
AVOIDING ALLOSTATIC LOAD
The most important thing to understand about allostatic load is not very hard at all to grasp; your brain and body´s response to a stressor should not be
– Sluggish: you want to be able to relax as quickly as possible following a stressful event.
– Ineffective: An ineffective response to a stressor diminishes the brain and body´s capacity for adaptation.
– Prolonged: Don´t be in stressful situations for too long.
– Not terminated promptly.
Hormonal and Allostatic Changes
So, as long as you don´t induce an allostatic load by taking on more stress than your brain and body currently is capable of handling, you will be getting stronger and smarter. You will become hardened gradually.
Exerting more Energy
Lead Yourself: To break out of the homeostasis it is crucial that you lead yourself by acting incongruently with your emotional state when it is unproductive and negative.
Fording your physiology will work, If you feel like shit go for a run or work out and you will feel better.
The point is to activate the sympathetic nervous system and snap you out of your spell.
Never let the brain and homeostasis get the last word. Never let homeostasis get away with doing the minimal amount of work and this to be sustained- go beyond that!.
It does not necessarily have to be five minutes or a specific amount. The point is to really form the mental habit of not letting the brain dictate reality to you, especially in negative, uncomfortable, painful, or boring situations.
– If you tend to walk a certain way to school or work, change it dramatically and take massive detours.
– If you normally drive a car or ride a bus it´s time you force yourself to talk or go by bike.
– Start writing with your left hand if you are right handed.
– Eat your food with chopsticks.
– Turn off the automatic word composer.
– Take the stairs if you normally ride the elevator.
– Open door manually instead of by the press of a button.
The Reserve Tank: The habit of going for five more minutes is crucial in regards to unlocking the reserve tank. It all starts and ends with that. You focus on five more minutes and persisting just a little longer.
Don´t concern yourself with working too hard, but do concern yourself with mental anxiety and thinking too many destructive thoughts.
Activating the Brain:
Not a substitute for Genuine Interest: Activating the brain is not a substitute for being genuinely interested in something; it´s more like a really powerful way of cheating.
Importance of Preparation and Activating your Brain.
Preparation is important. If you go straight to work or class while being tired, you are not going to be at your best. On the other hand; if you can activate your brain beforehand you will not only effortlessly improve your capacity for learning, but you will also in all like-hood want to keep yourself in the state that you are currently in; resulting in your being much more engaged in the lesson or at work; asking questions and so on.
Information Society and the Internet
We must intelligently direct our information search; set deadlines and goals in order to use our time efficiently and get things done. If we don´t, we will be at the mercy of our brain and its incessant addiction to the stimulation of its choice. The brain doesn´t want to change, it wants to stay the same and continue doing whatever it´s doing. If it is watching Youtube videos or listening to music or reading on a forum it will want to keep doing that.
Intense Focus: ” My approach nowadays is a bit different. I try to be up several hours prior to class and warm up my focus so that from the moment I get there I´m already in a peak state of learning. This makes time in class much more satisfying and well-spent in terms of efficiency. Some of my favorite ways of reaching a state of intense focus include reading books. I find interesting writing and refining my thoughts, exercising and meditating.
All in all, reaching a state of intense focus has to be something you constantly do and live by. Reducing all unnecessary multitasking is a good start as it greatly diminishes your capacity to focus for longer periods of time.
Live simple and concern yourself with fewer things and your focus is likely to increase over time, trying to do ten different mid-size important tasks in one day is very inefficient; the brain doesn´t shift between carious activities without losing focus.
Lack Of Mastery
1. People accumulate bad habits and addictions such as multitasking, eating unhealthy, not working out, etc.
2. This gives raise to a lousy reward system, meaning that they associate pleasure with these unproductive activities and their brains are in a poor shape and will get duller with time.
3, This often leads to poor ability of concentration and remaining focusing on a train of thought, a question, or on a goal.
4, This inefficient and dissatisfying way of operating is held together by homeostasis which makes it hard to change.
5, There is no positive cumulative effect to speak of for most people.
Creative Vs Practical
“I just mentioned how people tend not to stick with an idea or a thought for any longer period of time, and thus they forgot the power of cumulative focus and inspiration in the short-term. In the long-term the result of this is that they don´t create new things (ideas in general, inventions, businesses, etc).
Leonard writes about how most people are dabblers, meaning that they try different things shallowly and will continue for as long as it goes well, but as soon as it gets difficult or uncomfortable they quit.
The main reason behind their decision to quit is because their egos are rather fragile and they can´t handle it when they don´t get the validation they feel they deserve. They might have a fixed picture of themselves as being to good to fail, and this when they get to the point where they can´t pull it off on the first attempt it goes against their self-image and they are forced to quit if that view of themselves is to keep on existing.
From the confines of this book we could also take it a step further by saying that dabblers are in unconscious reaction to homeostasis and instinctively don´t want to exert more energy than they minimally have to, they have little pain tolerance or self-discipline. Dabblers have very little reference points of breaking out of homeostasis.
Triggering Adrenaline: If I have an important event coming up i try to work my min into a peak state.
– Speak up ASAP in a meeting or large crowd of people so as to quickly engage the brain and trigger adrenaline. By doing this you get “buy-in” from yourself and you´ll want to keep yourself in this alert stage.
– By now you know how much homeostasis wants to keep you from changing this around; therefore, don´t think about it. Just do it ASAP without caring what you´re saying. Say anything just get that buy-in quickly. Most people aren´t paying attention anyway.
– If you hesitate it will only get worse. The longer you wait, the more doubt you experience, and the more power your brain will hold over you.
PART II THE BRAIN
The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is situated in the front of the head and it is attributed with the abilities of making snap decisions in the present moment and redirecting the focus of your attention, holding your focus on long term goals and delaying gratification, exercising willpower, and the extent of your working memory.
Scientific studies involving measuring of brain activity and spiritual experiences have shown that skilled practitioners of mediation, such as tibetan monks have particularly active prefrontal cortices.
The more we use our PFC the stronger and more capable our PFC becomes through the process of Hebbian Learning, which states that neurons that fire together wire together. It then becomes easier for us to make snap decisions and act out of the present moment rather than resorting to autopilot behavior of making decisions based on past experiences or acting out routine behavior memorized as habit.
PFC AND RAS
The PFC has played a crucial part in the evolutionary process one has sped up our ability to learn from mistakes and correct errors. This usually happens from negative feedback in the form of pain and fear- so that the next time we encounter the same, or a similar situation, the PFC in combination with another part of the brain called the reticular activating system (RAS) will block out all other incoming stimuli causing us to fully focus on the situation at hand.
Repetition is the key; just reading something and logically grasping it isn´t enough. You must repeat the information many times until it sticks. It has to stick to the brain literally. You have to build a little space for it in your brain by letting neurons from connections to each other and machete out neural pathways.
You need to repeat whatever seems important many times in writing, by saying it, or by thinking it – preferably, all 3. Most importantly; you need to keep your focus (FPC) on the things that you want to learn (RAS).
Development of the PFC
The PFC is the part of the brain that takes the longest to mature and it is considered to be what really sets up apart from most other animals.
By te time we´ve become teens, the brain is nearly fully matured with the exception of the PFC. This fact is often use to explain why teenagers sometimes act impulsively without thinking ahead.
Positive Feedback Loop
Arnorld rewired his brain and this also his reward system from an early age to accept and to even cherish discomfort because he knew it server the purpose of his goals. He trained himself into seeking challenge novel experiences, to continue rather than to comfortably settle down at a level deemed to be acceptable by the status quo of society.
Freedom is turn is necessary to achieve self-esteem and happiness. Self-esteem is built slowly by acting on one´s desires and forming positive reference point. And happinnes is the byproduct of a positive self-esteem.
– A craving for safety, comfort, and a routine behavior.
– Often feeling uninspired, feeling lethargic.
– Reduced ability of perceiving subjective meaning and infusing intent into their lives (feeling cool).
– A lack of discipline and inability to follow through on goals.
– Inability of remaining focused for longer period of time.
– Failure to learn from post mistakes and quickly assimilate and apply new information gathered.
Good and Bad stuff for the PFC
– Learning new things continually is good for the PFC when we learn new things or are thrust into new situations the PFC is very active. Doing routine work that we already know doesn´t activate the PFC.
– Multitasking and/or swtching between many activities per day detract from focus and hinders you from using the PFC.
– Ask yourself- who is in control right now? make use of your PFC instead of living in reaction.
– Continually ask yourself “How does this relate to my goal?”
Lists of things that Improve or boost the function of the PFC
– Any activity that requires prolonged concentration
– Novelty of most sorts.
– Physical exercise and sports.
– Good sleep in a completely dark room
– Making a lot of decisions.
– Following through on decisions.
– Resisting instant gratification and temptations.
The amygdala is another interesting part of the brain. Some of its main functions are to form emotional connections to thoughts and memories, to give us empathy, and to keep us alive in dangerous situations. I,e the ‘ the fight or flight response’.
Your Brain’s Reward System
Reward System: neural pathways connecting the parts of your brain called the prefrontal cortex, the amygdala, and the nucleus accumbens.
The reward system gives raise to most of our urges and determines what form of stimulation we chase.
Akrasia. It’s not uncommon to consistently act wrongly even though we’re highly conscious of it, this is called AKRASIA. Akrasia is greej for lacking command over oneself, to go against your better judgement, you logically believe that something is good for you believe but your brain’s reward system is wired inconsistently with that logic belief.
Acting acratic means that you lack practical reference points; that somewhere in your thought process there’s an assumption or opinion which you falsely and unconsciously regard as a fact when in reality this assumption is only backed up by theory and no proof or experience.
Waging War Against the Mind
The brain does not just give us complete access and allow us to BOOH in the 1st place. Nope, it forces us to go through a lot of pain and discomfort to reach this level of awesomeness instead of giving it to us in an easier and nicer way.
Good or Bad Reward System
This is where the PFC, willpower, discipline, intent, motivation, having a cause to fight for, and similar tools for harmonizing consciousness come in.
Unproductive and Inefficient Productive and Efficient
– Instant Gratification – Delayed Gratification.
– Rewards Used Excessively – Rewards use sparingly
– Unplanned use of stimuli and rewards. – Deliberate use of stimuli and rewards.
Great things require hard work, nothing happens by luck, Hand work is made a lot simpler by positive habits. If our reward system is crappy, we will have a very hard time achieving an impressive work ethic because we’ll associate pleasure with the wrong things.
A person with a crappy reward system is not likely to be very productive. Without a consciously chosen reward system we will find it difficult to work at anything of significance in the long-term, because that usually implies having to do at least some hard and boring job.
Practice – Repetion and Myelin
To consistently be doing your repetitions every day is of paramount importance; Hebbian learning, which says that the more we repeat something (fire the same neurons), the stronger the synaptic connecion gets; neurons that fire together wire together.
The reason why practice makes perfect is because it helps us grow myelin.
Helpful tips for Practicing
– Get the the big picture, then start small chunking it.
– Slowing Down– allows you to place more focus on the sticking points, it helps you attend to these errors more closely and perhaps resolve them before they happen.
– Distinguishing between flexible circuit skills are consistent circuit skills.
Journaling-—> Keeping a journal is one of the best habits to have no matter what you want to do in life.
Decide in Advance-–> Decide in advance that once you wake up in the morning you will meditate or read, then when you get to work or school you will speak up as quickly as possible.
Time to Walk and Follow Throught
Reading and understanding theory is at best a third of the learning process. The rest comes from the process of trial and error and practical experience.