Positive feedback loop of the PFC:
(This positive feedback loop is accurate for almost anything related to reference experiences and creating an upward spiral.)
To make a lasting decision is an excellent way to practice activating the PFC by holding your focus on a goal for a sustained amount of time.
It starts with the decision to do something no matter what. It does not much matter what it is that you choose as long as you stick to it. The important thing is to make it very clear to your brain that this is a serious commitment.
This thing is going to be accomplished come hell or high water – there is no plan B or quitting. Once you have made the decision you are past the point of no return and must do everything within your power to make it happen.
Some Real Life Examples
You might decide to finish reading a book before allowing yourself to go to bed, writing a set amount of words for your paper before allowing yourself to quit, or abstaining from food for an entire day (go for two if you’re a badass).
Let’s say you make the lasting decision to fast an entire day.
It’s going to be easy for the first part of the day and you will have no trouble remaining focused on following through on the decision. But during the second part, unless you’re used to fasting, you will face massive negative feedback from your body and mind telling you to quit and give into its urges.
Your hormones will manipulate your thoughts and you’ll start to doubt whether you can do it or not.
Logically you know that if you choose to eat something it is going to hurt your integrity and you will suffer in the long-term. This is the decisive moment in which your mettle is tested. Will you be overcome by your urges for instant gratification and perhaps fall into unconscious autopilot, or will you persevere through it and build integrity?
Such is the daily process of personal development.
The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me [compared to normal people] is I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill.
I will not be out-worked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me, you might be all of those things you got it on me in nine categories. But if we get on the treadmill together, there’s two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die. It’s really that simple, right?
You’re not going to out-work me. It’s such a simple, basic concept. The guy who is willing to hustle the most is going to be the guy that just gets that loose ball. The majority of people who aren’t getting the places they want or aren’t achieving the things that they want in this business aren’t working hard enough.
It is strictly based on hustle. It’s strictly based on being out-worked; it’s strictly based on missing crucial opportunities. I say all the time if you stay ready, you ain’t gotta get ready.
That’s a lasting decision.
When you commit to making a lasting decision you will initially feel empowered – because you’re activating your brain (the PFC). As soon as that happens you should harness it by memorizing how the sensation feels, and keep focusing on it as long as you can. With practice you will be able to sustain your focus and maintain that sensation longer before feeling the tug of homeostasis wanting to sustain itself and make you quit.
Remember–you chose this. It happened through your own volition. All the pain that comes with it is good. It will promote growth. You made that decision in advance knowing this–don’t quit.
It comes down to maintaining focus and being able to hold a specific intention in your mind for a set period of time.
Some Other Examples
“Today I will remain in a positive mood all day. I will let nothing affect my emotional state negatively; I will not waver from the content state of mind I now dwell in.”
“Today I am going to keep going for five more minutes despite what happens. The second I feel tired I’ll force myself to keep it up for at least five more minutes. When I want to stop working I will continue at least five more minutes.”
By doing these things not only are you improving your chances of implementing these great mindsets as habits, but you are also exercising your PFC by holding your focus and blotting everything else out.
Seth Godin, in his book The Dip, said one of the smartest things ever regarding making a lasting decision:
When the pressure is greatest to compromise, to drop out, or to settle, your desire to quit should be at its lowest. The decision to quit is often made in the moment. But that’s exactly the wrong time to make such a critical decision. The reason so many of us quit in the Dip is that without a compass or a plan, the easiest thing to do is to give up. While that might be the easiest path, it’s also the least successful one.
Only quit if you’ve got a very good reason or it’s premeditated. Never quit from sudden short-term reasons and panic.