Life, Lotto, Lawsuits & Steroids

Catchy title huh? What do these things all have in common? They all have what people have come to call “the magic pill mentality” as the backbone of the thought process. This foundation is rotten, and as such, any structure (thought) built upon it will also be questionable. Before we get ahead of ourselves lets take a quick detour through the different parts of the brain, perceptual filters, Evolution and Freud’s concept structure of the mind (I admit to chuckling out loud when I wrote quick lol).

Evolution moves at a very slow pace. During most of the course history humanity lived in Tribal Societies. I actually read some kind of outrageous statistic, (btw 42.7 of all stats are made up… just my own little line you can throw in whenever someone brings up statistics lol), that said there has been more knowledge created and documented in the last 100 years then in all the thousands of years combined before it! I totally believe this. Growing up I found history to be a really boring topic but now I am fascinated it… so much of what our behavior and our cultures / customs are based on events are based on the past.

One thing I have always found super interesting are nature shows like the discovery channel, animal planet, national geographic, etc. Animals are amazing creatures to watch and to see their behavior in their natural surroundings can be breathtaking. Since we evolved from animals (I am not going to get into debate over creationism), a lot of our behaviors can be found in creatures like Apes, Gorillas, Chimps, etc. One extremely interesting theory proposed by Paul D. MacLean is that of the Reptilian complex or R-Complex. This theory seeks to explain brain function through the evolution of existing structures of the human brain. The triune brain consists of:

1. The R-complex (also known as the "brainstem"),
2. The Limbic system and
3. The neo-cortex.

The R-complex is named for the most advanced part of the brain higher mammals share with reptiles. It is responsible for rage, xenophobia and basic survival fight-or-flight responses. Often, the R-Complex can override the more rational function of the brain and result in unpredictable, primitive behavior in even the most sentient of creatures, humans included. The Reptilian complex is the most ancient part of a very successful brain scheme, evolutionarily speaking (paraphrased from Link).

Now on to Freud’s structure model of the Psyche. This should be a really basic review for anyone who has taken Psyche 101 (and shame on you if you haven’t!). Dr. Freud proposed there are three parts of the so called 'psychic apparatus'. These structures are known as the Id, the Ego & the Superego. Today, we are most concerned with the Id

The Id is dominated by what is called the pleasure principle. Well what is the pleasure principle you ask? The pleasure principle is a psychoanalytical term coined by our friend Dr Freud that deals with the ability to withhold gratification vs. instant gratification. This concept is the fundamental tenet of behavior modification (reward / punishment and pleasure / pain). That is another article unto itself. Back to the Id we find that the Id is responsible our basic (read animal) drives such as food, sex, aggression, protection of our territory and dislike of others not like us. You can picture the Id as a permanent two year who wants what he wants, when he wants, and will not accept no for an answer. The Id is a part of the physce but also functions as a survival mechanism (much like most of our other hardwired behavioral patterns).

Perceptual filters are outside the scope of this article and will be discussed in a forthcoming article but I would still like to touch on it briefly. Our beliefs, values and experiences create almost an aura of how we interpret and perceive reality. It is the glass is half full vs. half empty mentality. Sinn once told me a quote that has always stuck with me. “The person who says they can and the person who says they cant are both right… which person are you?”

Now let’s talk about what I REALLY wanted to about… the magic pill mentality. Why do most people not get the results they want from learning a new skill (whether it be pickup, playing the piano, getting in better shape, learning a foreign language, to cook, dance, etc.) they put there mind to (btw for my friends reading this you like how I just listed all of my goals lolololol)? Why does everyone want a magic pill?

It starts with perceptual filters and works trickles it's way down through the Id. Most people frame the acquirement of a new skillset as work. They see it as a negative (i.e. the glass is half empty), because it is work and it is not reward it is not pleasurable. Any gratification that is not instant will be looked at as negative by the Id (remember we are just talking about the Id not Freud's model as a whole). Since the new behavior is negative, at the animal level (id, r-complex, etc) they move away from it because if it is not pleasurable then it is must be painful. In fact it is much worse, it is delayed gratification combined with pain (non pleasure) A good example would be needing to use the bathroom. Sure you want to use it when you have to use it but most of us can hold out for 10 minutes. There is a big difference between that 10 minutes to obtain your goal (gratification) and something like mastering the skillset to get the girl of your dreams or being able to play an instrument to the level you want. Most people do not want to put in the work to get things… they just want some kind of magic pill (and indeed this would be very pleasing to the id). That is why this is the age of steroids, lotto, lawsuits, breast implants, fad diets, you name it.

No one wants to put in the time or effort it takes to learn the needed skillset. If it was easy to be great with girls EVERYONE would be great with girls. If it was easy to have an amazing body EVERYONE would look great (this btw is the reason things like vanity surgery are so popular, it’s a quick fix with no work.) This is the reason we stress being process oriented vs. being results oriented. Realize that you will have to put in work. Think about how many fights a white belt loses while sparing just to make it to yellow. For some reason this is easier for the male psyche to swallow then it does for a guy who has never done a cold approach getting blown out by a girl who is a 6. There is an actual reason for this that deal with gender roles that maybe we will talk about another time.

What is the solution to this? The solution is beyond the scope of the article…. Jk (well sort of). The solution is very simple. First off realize if something is too good to be true it usually is. If someone has some kind of new pickup system, fad diet, 3 minutes a day while you sleep to ripped abs, etc, run like hell. Also realize that the proper frame is not one of negativity and a problem but of opportunity and chance to acquire this new skill (this one is key and will be the focus of my next article).

I am going to leave the reader with two quotes that changed my life. I hope they will have a great impact also. Champions are made when no one is watching and how bad do you want it. How hungry are you?