Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Friday, March 21, 2008

Conflicting Desires

They sit there taunting me. Inside, I know they're laughing. They want to break down my will and make me succumb. I edge closer, and I can smell them. Each of them different, begging for attention.

NOOOOO! I've got to get rid of this damned box of gourmet chocolates!

Now lets make one thing clear. I LOVE chocolate (or anything sweet for that matter), but in the interest of eating healthy during the week, I'm going to make the office rounds and give them away. My friend at work dropped by my office and gave me a box of gourmet chocolates she gets free from a company she works for. This is downright low considering she sees me busting my ass at the gym all the time! SABOTAGE!!!!

It's interesting how frequently we encounter situations where we basically have two choices to make. If we choose the first option, we'll have a sense of instant satisfaction (BRING ON THE CHOCOLATE)! If we choose the later, there's usually some initial discomfort, but it's for the long term benefit. This is what I keep repeating to myself when I'm gasping for air with a god-awful stitch in my side, and I'm still three miles from home.

I try to make it habit to always lean towards the long term satisfaction.

On one hand, I like doughnuts and ice-cream, and if scientists discovered tomorrow that these things are actually good for you, I'd quickly become the healthiest person alive! At the same time, I'd be lying if I said I always enjoy busting my ass at the gym everyday.

So why do I make the choice to give away the chocolate AND bust my butt? I am much happier with the long term effects. Rather than being a candy-loving blob, I'm now a candy-loving, athletic NON-blob (ok, ok...not a word but I couldn't think of what the opposite of a blob is).

These conflicting desires are everywhere! How fun would it be to spend every dollar you earn?! Initially, it'd be awesome! But, down the road a little ways, when you realize you're actually quite broke, you'd probably have a lot of regrets.

A lot of people give in to the initial desire of immediate satisfaction before even considering they're long term contentment.

"I could go to the gym, OR take a nap..nap time it is!"
"I have a TV, but I'm going to use my savings and upgrade to a 52" Hi-def!!!"
"It's not like I eat ice-cream everyday...three scoops please!"
"I'm not cut out for school"

People are so quick to take the easy way out! Sure, I like watching huge TVs in Hi-def, and I definitely have a desire to get one. But, I ALSO have the desire to be insanely wealthy, AND have unrivaled genius (I suppose the "unrivaled genius" part might already be done :) and know that a TV is a terrible investment in accomplishing this desire.

There's the short term satisfaction of having a kick-ass TV or there's the long term satisfaction of having more money (which has subsequently made even MORE money), and more knowledge (since TV is almost completely UN-enriching).

I know some people who are my age, still living at home, partying with friends, and half-assing there way through school. Sure, it probably feels good being lazy, but the long term benefits of actually putting yourself to work and becoming independent are SO much more rewarding!

Drug addicts all get started because they want a fix to their worries and problems. Drug affects make them feel euphoric and happy, but I doubt any drug addicts seriously consider the long term ramifications of their usage. They know what they're doing is unhealthy (just as we do when we eat a Double Whopper with Fries and a Frosty), but the pending desire of immediate satisfaction is too strong for most people to overcome.

So we have Conflicting desires:

Short-Term Desire: Incredibly Strong! (which is why most people give in to this desire) Immediate satisfaction. Usually zero or negative long-term benefits.

Long Term Desire: Very Weak. No tangible immediate benefits. In fact, there's usually heartache and labor initially involved to even gain the eventual benefit, BUT the rewards are almost always MUCH GREATER, and MUCH LONGER LASTING.

So these conflicting desires come up ALL THE TIME, and I try to pick the long term version, the majority of the time. How? I stop and really think. I mean really think. When there's free pizza at work, I stop and think: "Well it would taste really good, but the taste will be gone as soon as I'm done eating. On the other hand, my workout and goal of dropping a few pounds this month will be doubly effective, so the long term benefits of skipping the pizza today are far greater, and I'll be happier for the rest of the week!"

Obviously this is just a small example of a multitude of situations, but since I like food so much, I thought this would make for a good point.

It would be absurd for me to say that I always pick the long term solution though! Enjoying guilty pleasures from time to time is part of living life awesomely! A few weeks ago, it was my buddies birthday and there was some debauchery to be had. On one hand I could've gone out, ate a salad and lots of diet cokes.

No thanks.

I drank copious amounts of beer, had a giant fatty steak, and three different desserts! I CAVED! But, I consciously caved. It's the same reason that I think diets (or any TEMPORARY lifestyle changes for that matter) are stupid. It's healthy to give in to your immediate desires on occasion, but just not habitually.

So here's the choice I have right now...I can either go to the gym for a hard workout, or I can go out to lunch with a couple of friends and watch the college basketball tournament.

Oh so tempting...but....

GYM!!! After all, tonight is Friday night, and I've gotta earn my short-term-desire-relenting later, by choosing the long term benefit right now!


harry potter said...

One seriously GREAT post! Keep writing!!

Anonymous said...

I like this one. I hear there is a lot of money being made in Austin, TX right now. Maybe you should consider making a lifestyle change. Hear Texas girls aren't half bad either.