Humans are easily the most inventive creatures on the planet and when it comes to creating ways to become more efficient at living, well, we are the super star species without a doubt!
From the discovery of fire to the invention of the car to the creation of the internet, life continuously through the ages has become more and more efficient. Keeping the motivational triad in mind, it follows that as life became more ‘efficient’ it will also have become more pleasurable and less painful.
Has it? In many ways, yes!
Driving when it is raining avoids pain and is an efficient way to get us to the pleasure we seek. Calling a loved one on the telephone to hear their latest news is a pleasurable way to stay connected to one another, easily and without any inconvenience (pain).
There are literally millions of ways that our creativity and ingenuity have brought us more pleasure, less pain all whilst conserving more and more energy with each step forward we take as a society.
Drs. Lisle and Goldhamer tell us that “It is estimated that the efficiency of human activity has increased by at least 1,200 percent in the last 150 years, meaning that the average person is twelve times as efficient at obtaining goods and services as was the case just a few generations ago.” Page 113 The Pleasure Trap
What are we doing with all this extra energy? Are we finding more pleasure and avoiding more pain?
Has life become all that we had hoped it could be when we first discovered fire and no longer had to keep moving to keep warm?
It is in our nature to seek out the path of least resistance in all that we do in our lives. It truly is instinctual. Unfortunately, those instincts come from a time when life was not as convenient as it is in our world today. Foraging and hunting for sustenance is far more time consuming than visiting the drive-through window after all. “The path of least resistance is no longer the smart move, as the world for which that strategy was designed no longer exists.” Page 114 The Pleasure Trap
I propose that it is not our instinct we need to overcome. It is not our drive to attain The Motivational Triad which needs to be changed. (ed: How is it even possible to do that?!) I propose that it is our definitions of pain, pleasure and efficiency which require changing. A simple way to see how this error in definition plays out in the ‘real world’ is with some of the reasons given for not being interested in living a plant focused lifestyle – a healthier lifestyle.
Have you heard something similar to the following?
Have you said something similar to the following?
‘I do not have the time to eat plant-based/healthy."
"My life is too busy to bother with all that preparing and cooking and trying to think about recipes."
"It is exhausting to think about which foods are good and which are bad – when I am hungry I just want to eat and enjoy my food without hassle or stress."
"Plant-based/healthy eating is just too complicated and confusing. I like my food to be simple."
Definitions driving this thought process
Pleasure – comes from food that is there without having to think about it
Pain – comes from food that needs to be planned and created
Efficiency – comes from being able to get food quickly without having to think about it or ever need to plan it
This person will most assuredly find food (pleasure) without stress (pain avoidance) very quickly (efficiency) and this reality should bring great joy and calm and satisfaction to this person who is living so closely connected to their instinctual drives.
But let’s go ahead a take a closer look at this reality. When we think of happy, calm people who are living their best lives is this the person we see in our minds? Is this how a healthy person approaches life? Is this the picture of health? Moreover, whilst time may be saved in the short-term daily search for sustenance, over time how efficient is this way of living?
Are we to factor in the amount of time spent in the doctor’s waiting room? Or the time having tests done? How about the time standing in line to pick up a prescription? Perscriptions, plural maybe?
This does not feel like a very efficient use of time. Instead of waiting in line, create a good meal!
And how much time is spent on the phone with insurance companies trying to get clarification on coverage? You think making dinner from plants is stressful? Just the thought of doing any of those things can be stressful!
Finally, how efficient is it to die earlier than necessary because you saved some time not thinking about your food or your health? How much of a life not lived is a little convenience worth in the end?
So, let’s redefine the words to better fit our instincts and perhaps we will find that health and wellness are indeed the goal of the Motivational Triad.
Definitions driving the healthy mind
Pleasure – comes from foods which are balanced, natural and healthy
Pain – comes from foods which is deplete, unnatural and sickly
Efficiency – comes from creating pleasure causing foods in order to better avoid pain causing foods
Drs. Lisle and Goldhamer share with us some very useful strategies we can use to ensure we live lives full of pleasure, void of pain and that we do so efficiently and without stress. I encourage everyone to read The Pleasure Trap as its lessons are many and they are more important today than ever before.
Make your health efficient! Fulfill your triad naturally!
Knowledge – our choices are driven by an instinct to conserve energy in our efforts to find pleasure and avoid pain
Wisdom – planning and organization allow us to conserve energy in our commitment to healthy choices, which allow us to more optimally avoid pain
Knowledge - the learning of ideas
Wisdom - the experiencing of ideas
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