So you want to be successful, happy and financially independent as soon as possible. You think you have the best idea that will help you accomplish this goal fast.
Now a few months have passed and there is no change in your personal finances and your golden idea doesn’t seem to be as golden any more. You start to doubt yourself and you get more focused on the daily routine of the same job (if you have one) or if not then the process of finding one.
Now lounging around and doing nothing, feels good, but when it becomes a regular part of your life then you start to wonder what’s going on? Why am I lazy? What’s wrong with me? Is it just me or are others lazy as well? Are some people lazier than others? You ask yourself all these questions.
It’s even worse when you don’t want to or don’t like to exercise or do any physically demanding activity. There could even be a deeper reason why you are feeling lazy and unmotivated.
The answer is that it’s not your fault entirely for being lazy and unmotivated. Apparently, there is something called a “couch potato gene” and it can be of major hindrance in your way of achieving success, happiness and financial independence.
Our natural reward system has conditioned us to respond positively to food, sex, rest and exercise (yep even EXERCISE). Its happens by activating the dopamine system (for dopamine details and what it does to our brain please listen to our episode no. 12) , Dopamine in essence tells our brain that food, sex, being lazy or exercise feels good and let’s repeat this because it feels good.
A 2005 study by Dr. Rhodes picked two sets of mice, high-runner mice and control. They found that after ten generations, the high-runners would run on their wheels 75% more than the control group (the ones that chose not to run). And by 16 generations, high-runners were running upto 7 miles as opposed to 4 miles by the control group. It seemed that their motivation for physical activity was genetic because the brains of the high-runner mice had a bigger prefrontal cortex, nucleus accumbens, caudate-putamen, lateral hypothalamus – the key regions for dopamine and motivation, resulting in higher motivation to do the exercise overall.
It was also found that when people have a higher Dopamine system and higher motivation responsive to exercise, they react a lot like cocaine addicts when deprived of exercise. Therefore, we do indeed have a “couch potato gene” derived from a genetic mutation directly associated with the activity levels of our ancestors.
Another similar study was conducted by scientists from the University of Aberdeen and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, where researchers compared normal mice with those that had the key “couch potato” gene mutation. They found that the gene produces a protein which plays a vital role in brain’s dopamine production, increasing the motivation of a person to workout.
The same scientists are working on a drug, which was given to the mice with the gene mutation. The drug activated dopamine activation and mice lost weight. The study supervisor Professor Wei Li, from the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology in Beijing claimed that this drug could help humans as well.
The studies regarding the “pill” were published in the journal PLOS Genetics raising the prospect that in the future a personalised pill could reverse the problem.
Until this magic pill for motivation is created, fortunately there are things you can do to quit being a couch potato right at this very moment:
Create a 5 step plan – To break a bad habit, we need to target it from different sides to get rid of the comfort zone we’ve created around us.
Self- Awareness comes from within. Whenever you feel like you’re inclining more towards being lazy, take a notebook and write down why that is? Becoming more self-aware of your own feelings is the key.
It’s very important to fill the time you spend lounging around with something you enjoy or is important to you. For example: writing that book you’ve always wanted to write, kickboxing or photography.
3. Social Associations
We are social beings and being connected to people helps us feel accountable for our actions, so after you’re done picking an activity you want to focus on. Pick a person who you’d like to involve or someone who can hold you accountable for it.
4. Structural Motivation
Don’t use lounging around and being lazy as a reward, instead pick a different reward that makes you happy and is good for you.
5. Structural abilities
If your environment is making it easier for you to lounge around and be lazy, change that.
If you would like to go one step further and commit to achieving your goals then go Buy a standing table – it will keep you active throughout the day and if you don’t feel like spending money then you can just keep your laptop at an adequate height that you can work while standing without spraining your neck.
If you want to take this even further and you are dedicated to succeeding, then buy resistance bands and take them with you everywhere, Sid does this and travels with it and even takes it to work in his bag. So, whenever he feels low energy, instead of opting for coffee he gets up and uses the disruptive learning approach to get some blood pumping, by using the resistance bands.
Even 2 minutes of resistance band use can increase the hormone called Endorphins that are responsible for the feeling of high sense of well being, euphoria, excitement and satisfaction.
If you don’t have the luxury of an office to do this then you can simply either get up and stretch or just go for a quick walk around the building, doing this will have similar but milder effect on your motivation. You can also carry resistance bands on your work trips wherever you go.
Our point is being an entrepreneur, creative or professional that does not mean that your personal well being has to suffer, because financial success without personal well being to enjoy its perks is nothing.
Thanks for tuning in, and stay motivated.