Motherhood came to me unexpectedly, but on time. I was exactly bored with working with inhumane schedules, fiction books and carelessness towards myself. In fact, my life at that time consisted mainly of chronic depression and running away or having a bad relationship.
With the birth of a baby, I finally got grounded, I became interested in everyday things that I used to give to from zero to a minimum of weight: my body and how it functions, sports, nutrition and cooking, cognitive literature, training courses, etc. No, the child did not become my motivation (the meaning of life ?), he simply turned on all the senses, glued the world together and pushed me towards myself. Who knew. The first major change made by a baby was the rejection of cigarettes. After 12 ? years of smoking and a bunch of unsuccessful attempts to quit, I finally came across the only way that worked: every time a slide with a cigarette hit my brain, I replaced it with a slide of a little stranger inhabiting my belly. That was what the book below said – true motivation – the basis of self-control and willpower. Not having my own health for value before pregnancy, I simply had no chance of such motivation, and therefore, of definitive rejection of cigarettes. As the book confirms, you will not go far in the wave of reproaches of others and your own sense of guilt. If a thing does not work, then most likely we do not understand the mechanism of its work.
I have always avoided nonfiction because a good book of such kind is rare – this type of books usually takes a single thesis and weave it with a web of endless repetition and idleness. Oomph, a waste of time. But here is one of them, a rather fascinating and practical book by Stanford University professor Kelly McGonial – “The Willpower Inctinct”. In fact, it did not open America to me, but resonated with me and outlined what I was in the process of since giving birth, and what I was always missing (and lacking due to absence of motivation) – self-control. The book is littered with stories and scientific background to the everyday games played by our brains and the people, who are aware of how they function. The book also gives practical tips at the end of each section, since what is theory without practice?
Fortunately, this is not a book which content I can briefly convey here, no, read it fully, dear friends. But below there are some points that I would like to highlight.
When you’re a mom it’s extremely easy to lose control, especially for those who have never controlled themselves at all. In fact, on the contrary, for some people (like, for example, me) motherhood can help to lead their life. While most mothers suffer from sleep deprivation with the advent of their baby, I, who worked with inadequate shift schedules for 8 years, plunged into paradise. Well, of course, everything was not so cloudless, but I had something to compare it with. Instead of running away endlessly, I started being interested in the everyday aspects of life that had previously made me bored. It turned out that not reaching any heights, but just eating, sleeping, and in general being – can be fun.
But a newly mum often falls into a world that is not well understood by others: it is easy to get lost, go wild and lose all energy and motivation, and often you can’t even hope for support. And here, it seemed to me that a mother should read this book and learn how to find strength in simple things:
▪️what do I REALLY want?
▪️is it worth it?
▪️who inspires me? what would that person do in this particular situation?
It can apply to any situation, any aspect of your life.
“So instead of asking, “Do I want to eat that candy bar now?”, ask yourself, “Do I want the consequences if eating a candy bar every afternoon for next year?”. Or if you’ve been putting something off that you know you should do, instead of asking “Would I rather do it today or tomorrow”, ask yourself, “Do I really want the consequences of always putting this off?”.
Did you know that willpower is an exhaustive resource? Which, however, can be grown in small steps? It is very easy to give up if you have a long to-do list every day that never eliminates all the items. And what if to meditate for 5 minutes daily? And by implanting this habit, how about starting squatting 20 times a day? McGonigal claims that willpower is not an exploit but a muscle which can be trained.
“We have specialized brain cells – called mirror neurons, whose sole purpose is to keep track of what other people are thinking, feeling, and doing. These mirror neurons are sprinkled throughout the brain to help us understand the full range of other people’s experiences.”
As the mystics emphasize the laws of karma, I read it, and understand how easy it is to disappear for yourself, being absorbed by others – one; it seems to me that this is not where function of the mirror neurons ends: I suspect them in being mutually similar for the sake of adaptation and in some other joys of evolution – two. However it is, keep in mind: we either are those around us, or we are them partially and partially we are declaring war to them. We are capable of infecting each other with positive and negative, demotivation and willpower. Language, motions, emotions, thoughts, breaking the rules (“Hearing about someone cheating on their taxes might make you feel freer to cheat on your diet. Seeing other drivers go over your speed limits might inspire you to go over your budget.”) Shackles or weapons?
“It turns out that when we think of the people we love, respect, or feel similar to, our brains treat them more like us than not like us. You can see it in a brain scanner watching adults think first about themselves, then about their mothers. The brain regions activated by self and mom are almost identical, showing that who we think we are includes the people we care about. Our sense of self depends on our relationships with others, and in many ways, we only know who we are by thinking about other people. Because we include other people in our sense of self, their choices influence our choices.”
And one more:
“This is an example of what psychologists call social proof. When the rest of our tribe does something, we tend to think it’s a smart thing to do. This is one these useful survival instincts that come with having a social brain. After all, if you see your whole tribe heading east, you’d better follow. Trusting the judgment of others is the glue that makes social living work. You don’t have to know everything yourself and can save your resources for whatever your specialty is.”
That’s all I’ve got at the moment. In the book you can find much more. Read, be motivated, hold on.