Okay, I admit. This isn't actually all that new an idea, especially since I've been somewhat of an expert on the psychology of personal development for quite a while now. But sometimes the concept or the idea isn't enough; sometimes you need the right words. And that is why, even though this rule is something that I've known about for a long while already, I have not talked about it until today. I just did not have such an eloquent way of saying it. So here goes.
Make easy things special, and hard things ordinary.
By easy I mean the desires you id or lizard brain has, such as ditching work and unhealthy lifestyle habits that give immediate gratification but are detrimental in the long run.
By hard things I mean the desires your superego or ideal self has, such as waking up early or exercising or working long hours on your mission in life; things that feel hard in the moment but yield immense results in the long run.
I don't mean to say that your life should be all work and no play. You absolutely need both. What I mean to say is that:
- by making the easy things special they stay special and enjoyable, every time, even after years,
- by making the hard things ordinary they begin to come automatically, and
- the balance between the two is not two equal loads at equal distances from a fixed point, but two different loads at two different distances from a fixed point.
If you make the easy things ordinary (you do them every day), you'll become numb to their effect, and you'll need more and more to feel satisfied.
If you make the hard things special (you do them only occasionally), you won't become numb to their effect, and you'll have to use an immense amount of willpower every time.
Both include a numbing effect, but with one the numbing is beneficial, and with the other detrimental.
Have both, choose wisely, and be mindful of how often you do the things you do.