STOP PUNISHING YOURSELF! Transcript

Introduction

[0:00] Well, I just had a call with a young fellow, and I think there were enough principles at play here that it was worth telling you what happened in the call.
Unfortunately, we couldn't complete the call because he decided to do a call-in with me on a speakerphone by a gas station in his car.
And that, you know, if you're going to do a call-in, in general, I would prefer if you had reasonably decent audio, because otherwise the post-processing is quite a challenge.
But anyway, so the issue was he's a young man in his early to mid-twenties, and he is unmotivated.
He wants to go to the gym. He doesn't go to the gym. He wants to stop buying coffees at a convenience store. He keeps buying coffees at a convenience store.
He's frustrated and down on himself and angry with himself, calls himself lazy and so on.
And of course I asked him if it was a fair way to characterize it and what we do we do all of this to some degree what we do is we give ourselves rewards and punishments for good or bad behavior I was just talking about this with regards to the John Fowles classic novel called the Magus or the Magus we give ourselves points for good or bad behavior oh I did well this week I deserve a treat.
Oh, I didn't do what I said I was going to do. I didn't do what I was supposed to do. I'm a bad person.

[1:25] The bribe and punishment paradigm of human motivation.

[1:32] And so I asked the young man, where do you think this came from?
Or where do you think this mindset comes from?
He did kind of fog out quite a bit, but it turns out that what happened was, or at least the central thing that came to his mind was that his father, when he was young, would tell him that he had to be the best in school, he had to do well in school, and if he didn't do well in school, then his father would yell at him with apparently some odd humor, but would be quite aggressive towards him, and would say, it's bad, you need to do better, you need to be the best.
You need to be the best.
Now, I'm all down for obviously big ambitions, that's all kinds of fine with me.
You want to be the best? Yeah, aim to be the best. why not if you're going to do something why not aim to be the best at what you do but.

[2:21] The problem is, I said, so your father was really focused on excellence, right? Yes, you have to be the best. Okay.
But you, in your 20s, are unmotivated, a huge underachiever, constantly rewarding and punishing yourself and getting nowhere in life.
I said, is that an accurate representation of your situation? And he said, yes.
And I said, so was your father, who was all about being the best and excellence, was your father an excellent father? Mmm.
Those are the solid wrecking ball detonation statements that I suppose I'm kind of known for.
Because if your parents are really into excellence, then it's not the first thing they should be excellent at. It's parenting.

[3:12] And yet, mostly, parents who are focused on excellence are focused on vanity, monkey brain performance of their children.
Ah, straight-A student, 4.0, GPA valedictorian, captain of the lacrosse team, queen cheerleader, all this stuff.
It's be good, be good at stuff, so I look good, is a lot of parenting.
A lot of this sort of tiger mom style.
Be good at stuff, so I look good. And if you don't do well, I feel bad.
If you do well, I feel good. And therefore, you must get good grades in order to manage my emotions, in order to manage my feelings.

[4:01] You must please me so that I feel good.
And pleasing me is, for a lot of parents, giving the parents bragging rights. Oh, my gosh.
Do I remember this from my childhood? My mother was quite a bit into bragging rights.
My writing talent was recognized pretty early on. and when I was in grade eight, I was put into a special writing class for the best writers.
There was, I don't know, six of us in the whole school and all the other, it was actually a grade 13 credit.
So I was like five years, I was put five years ahead, right?
So I was a 13 year old in a class for 18 year olds as a writer.
And I remember one cynical fellow, oh, it still sits deep in my my brain like a splinter in the mind's eye, I wrote a poem about space, the depths and horrors of space, right?
The silence of these infinite spaces terrifies my mind, as an old Pascal quote from Pensee's.
I wrote a poem about space.

[5:10] And when I had finished the poem, which I was quite passionate about, one cynical young wag whistled that little theme from Star Trek, right?
And that was, I wouldn't say it was crushing, because I've never been one to be much crushed, but I just remember thinking, wow, that is breathtakingly cynical.
Here you have a 13-year-old kid sharing a poem he's very passionate about, and you mock him.
It was actually not a bad poem. I read it again some years later, and it was like, yeah, it wasn't bad at all. It wasn't cheesy.
It was, you know, pretty passionate, pretty deep. And the only feedback he could provide was pretending that it was a piece of cheesy science fiction.
Ooh, you wonder where that guy is now. He'd be 62.
He'd be 62 now when he was 18 back then.
So my mother bragged, of course, to all of her friends that I was taking a grade 13 class when I was only in grade 8.

[6:13] Also, I took night courses in computer science that were adults.
My mother would be always like, oh, he's taking adult computer science classes.
And she was just very, very keen on the bragging rights of my intellect, which, of course, makes you want to recoil a little bit.
It right because if you're used as a vanity prop you want to avoid that experience because it's feeding the worst in your parents and tempting the worst in yourself which is to look competent not to be good i don't say to be competent to look competent rather than be good and of course, my mother taking pride in something she well i shouldn't say she never nurtured no i gotta be be fair about that. I've got to be fair about that.
So when I was, I guess, 13 or 14, my step-grandmother died.
I got a little bit of inheritance, and my mother chipped in some extra in order to get me a computer with a proper keyboard.
There was the Atari 400, which had a membrane keyboard, and she wanted me, and also for herself, because she did word processing as well, to have a proper or keyboard.
So we got the Atari 800, the Atari 400, so-called, because it had 4K of RAM.
The Atari 800 had 8K of RAM, which meant it could do graphics 8 or GR.8.
There were all these short forms because there was only a certain amount of, I think it was two lines of programming that you could put in in BASIC, but there were all of these short terms. GR. was graphics, so you set the graphics.

[7:43] So she did help a little bit here and there. and later she did take interest in my writing when I was an adult and that was good, that was good.

[7:54] So I was saying to the young man, why, he says, it was very important for me to be good in school. Well, why? Why was it important for you to be good in school?
And this is a general question to everyone here and everyone listening to this across the world, down through the ages.
I'm always aware of the silent amphitheater of the future, but why? Why?
Why do you want to be good at something?
Why do you want to get straight A's? Why do you want to do these things?

[8:24] Because if you are lacking motivation, you can either try and bribe and bully yourself.
Oh, you went to the gym. You deserve a treat. Let's get a protein bar. We like those.
Oh, you didn't go to the gym. You're just lazy, lazy, lazy.
Guy, you're never going to get anywhere. We're never going to get anything done in life if you can't even make it to the gym, right?
So that's just bribing and bullying. And that's fundamentally statism, right?
And schoolism, which is early form of statism. And I said, so the important thing is to be curious.
Why am I unmotivated? Why do I want to do the things I'm telling myself to do?
Now, if you do things because you've internalized praise and punishment, and I'm thinking about this stuff in particular because I'm off sugar, right?
And I still have this impulse. Oh, I worked really hard today.
I'm going to go get a treat.

[9:24] Like I'm a dog. Like I'm a dolphin with a herring. Oh, good philosopher.
Good baldy. Well done. Excellent. Kibbles.
Come on. Good job. Who's a good boy? Who's a good philosopher?

[9:38] It's crazy. I'm 57 years old and I'm still trying to puppy train my own intellectual excretions. It's wild.
So, yeah, I'm thinking about this stuff because being off sugar, I can't treat myself in that traditional way. And again, I was not a big sugar guy, but, you know, it certainly happened, right?
Now my big treat is a bowl of sugar-free yogurt and a few berries.
Yum. Actually, it's pretty good. I think my taste buds have improved since going off sugar. I mean, they've become more sensitive.
So I said, well, why do you, you know, and then the question was going to go from, We couldn't continue the call or complete the call.
But my question was going to go from, why did you want to do well in school?
School is a very artificial environment with very external cues, right?
I mean, there's very few people in school who enjoy studying the subjects because of the subjects.
There's very few people in school who enjoy studying the subjects because of the subjects.
Now, I remember I was very into sharks when I was younger, and I even wrote to the Shark Institute in Sarasota, Florida, in my mid-teens, hoping to get a job. Never heard back.
Understandable, but painful. And...

[10:53] I remember when we were studying sharks in grade six, it was part of our biology or whatever, I was thrilled, excited, and spent half the class with my hand stuck in the air wanting to add to what the teacher was saying and being, it was actually, you know, it's the kind of, it's the kind of thing that if you know a subject deeply and you have your average teacher, you realize just how little the average teacher knows.
I mean, the average teacher was, when he was doing lectures on sharks, was regularly getting getting quite a bit of it wrong because I'd read probably 20 books on sharks by that point and he's just getting stuff wrong and he wouldn't call on me to correct him.
Of course, right? So when you know a subject deeply, you realize that teachers are mostly making stuff up and full of crap.
And even if they know the subject well, they don't know how to motivate people.
And of course, I was really into sharks because at that point in my life, I had a predatory unconscious that I needed to tame and master.
It was my Raskolnikov phase, which went on for a couple of years, I think.
So why, why, why do you want to be good in school?
I'm not saying it's a bad thing to be good in school. I mean, you got to pass or whatever it is, but I never took any particular pride of being good at school.

[12:02] Actually viewed it as a little bit shameful to be overly keen on school.
I mean, I had really cynical friends that went way further than that.
But for me, it was, you know, the apple polishers, the teacher's pets, the keeners.
Oh, could we get some extra, you know, the apple polishers, we call them, right?
I wasn't a thumbtack on the teacher's chair, but I also wasn't an apple polisher because I viewed it as vaguely shameful to jump through all the hoops that were put put forward.
And I jumped through the hoops, but I didn't do so with eagerness.
I didn't do so thinking it was the good. Yeah, I got to memorize this crap.
I got to spew that stuff. I've got to read this book. I've got to study that.
Because if I don't, you'll hold me back and I'll lose a year of my life.
So you've got me hostage. So I will.
I didn't Stockholm syndrome with the schools at all.
Like I was just aware, okay, I got to, I got to do, it was more than just the bare minimum because some of the stuff that was done in school overlapped with things that I wanted to do, like I liked reading books, and so reading books and writing book reports was good.
And I remember, I think it was in grade 13, I even voluntarily took exams.
If your marks were high enough, you didn't need to take the exams, but I took the exams anyway because I enjoyed the practice and the process.
And I remember I had a teacher who wanted our favorite songs, the lyrics and our thoughts about them, and I did a lengthy analysis of Pink Floyd's song on the wall called The Trial.

[13:29] Fills me with the urge to defecate. And she found my analysis so compelling that she demanded, or didn't demand, she requested quite emphatically that I give her a tape recording of the song so she could listen to it and review my analysis in more detail.
All these little things that gave me a few vague signposts to the dude that I became and am now. Now, it's funny that at the age of 17 or so, I was doing an analysis at the wall.
And then at the age of 55, I did an analysis of the wall.
It's the Pink Floyd album, which you can find, of course, at freedomain.com.
Well, you can find it at freedomain.locals.com, but you have to subscribe for that because it's pretty wild stuff.

[14:16] So I was like, okay, well, I got to do this stuff. I won't do it badly because it's too costly. I won't do it well, because that's humiliating.
Like, I'm not going to just do extra work, you know?
I like Boxer in, like the horse Boxer in Orwell's Animal Farm, just doing extra work, fewer rations, just working for, at least he was working for others, which had some nobility to it.
But I just, you know, kind of did the bare minimum, except when I enjoyed the topic, in which case I'd get A plus easy.
If I enjoyed the topic, A plus easy. If I didn't enjoy the topic, I'd pass. I'd do okay.
But I couldn't... It felt humiliating to chase the approval of teachers that I didn't respect.

[15:00] Going to repeat that because I think that's not a solitary thing for me.
It felt humiliating to chase the approval of teachers I did not respect.
And so this guy, this young man, and I had sympathy for him, of course, right? But he'd been an adult for over half a decade.
So I had some sympathy for him, of course. But at the same time, it's very important to internalize, your goals and if you have a reason for those goals you won't need much willpower to do it, right?
This is an old Nietzsche quote, give a man a why, he can bear almost anyhow.
I mean you probably don't want to go polar bear swimming unless your child falls through the ice on a lake, in which case, in you go because you have a why save your child so you can bear almost almost anyhow, risking your own life, diving into a hole in the ice.
Hobbit-orc style. So that's a big question in life, right?
I do ask myself this question on a continual basis.

[16:08] Why am I doing what I do?
There's that in the small context, and there's that in the larger context.
Why do I go to the gym? Well, I enjoy feeling strong.
I enjoy being fit. I enjoy being attractive to my wife.
I enjoy looking in the mirror and seeing a fitness. I enjoy the extra blood flow that comes to this giant organ of a brain I happen to have on my pyramid shoulders.
Shoulders and it also I get to sustain this brain which I think is to the benefit of the world as a whole the future obviously much more than the present so I think it's a responsible thing to do with the accidental inheritance that I have to stay fit so it's not hard to go to the gym, because I have reasons that aren't based just on vanity I mean is there any vanity I don't know I I mean, I kind of enjoy still looking young, like every now and then I'll watch a documentary and there'll be some guy who's 57. It's like, holy crap, he looks terrible.
So, you know, there's a little bit of vanity, but it's not, I mean, the number of times, I'm out in public without my shirt on is, you know, I don't know, maybe twice a year if I'm at some waterfront place or swimming.
So it's pretty, it's pretty rare.
And even then, like if I'm at a swimming pool in the summer, I'll usually wear a shirt because because it's easier for me to get the SPF on the shirt than it is for me to rub lotion all over myself.

[17:37] Even if the lotion is lowered to me in a basket.

[17:41] So, I mean, that's why. Why do I try to eat reasonably well?
Oh, I sleep better, and I feel better, and I have more energy, and life is more enjoyable, and all of that. So, you know, you just have to compare.
So if you don't have a compare to what, it's hard to have any motivation, really, to sustain anything.

[18:00] There's no compared to what in school you you damn well do the work or we fail you and take a year of your life i mean i don't think the failure stuff is happening so much anymore, but if you don't learn and since particularly in you know math and and even english but science whatever if you don't learn stuff then it just becomes progressively more difficult right and more unpleasant right so i took summer school one year when i was in my mid-teens because i was so tired of just doing okay in math i'm like look i've gotta i've gotta get caught up because every Every year they build on what went before.
If you didn't really learn what went before very well, I'm not going to have any fun. So I took a summer school course.
I took math and I took history. And I did summer school a couple of times, even though I had two jobs in the summer, because I just was so desperate to get out.
And I did manage to get out of school five months, or I guess almost six months early, which was great. Got out of semester early. Woo, freedom.
So why was I doing summer school? Well, because I was tired of scraping by in math and just feeling like I was never caught up.
And I wanted to get out early, so it wasn't that hard to do. Why did I have two jobs?
Because I needed income, because I was paying my own bills.
15, age of 15 onwards, right? My daughter's 15, so it's pretty wild.

[19:12] And the things I can't figure out a why for tend to fall away, right? I've tried learning a couple of instruments in my life.
I don't particularly enjoy the process of learning the instruments, neither do I have any particular skill in that. so I was unable to sustain it.
There was no particular purpose for it. What am I going to do?
Sing at a cafe? I don't think so.
So there was no particular purpose and so I moved on. And I say this not to talk about myself but to talk about all of us, right?
This guy did well in school or tried to do well in school so that he could please his father and his father wanted to be pleased for reasons of vanity and status us.
Because if his kid was doing badly in school, he'd be called into a parent-teacher conference, people would look at him askance, people would say, how are your kids doing?
And he'd have to lie rather than say, yeah, you know, they're not particularly enjoying school, but hey, who did, right?

[20:10] He was into the status and the comfort, which meant his kids had to do well so that he himself would not feel uncomfortable, would not feel humiliated.
So it's not you have to do well, it's daddy has to feel good.
And of course, you'll plug along and do it, but that's external.
It's external and it's a lie, right? Because the parents who say, well, you got to be the best, well, they're not the best at parenting.
They're not the best at parenting, and so they don't believe at all that you have to be the best as i unfortunately just before the connection dropped, you said well my father said i had to be the best okay well what's your father the best at parenting right because if you're going to be a parent and you're interested in being the best then you should read i must have read like 20 books on parenting before i became a parent and of course thought about it deeply for many years and figured out what i wanted to do that would be better or worse and i think it's paid off i mean i have a good family and i'm a a good father.
And I wanted to be, I don't know what it means to be the best, because it's a little subjective.
I mean, obviously, the basic morality has to be there, but kids are so different that it's hard to know.
It's a little bit apples and oranges, right? Who's a better musician, the guy who's good at piano or the guy who's good at trombone? I don't know.
I mean, they're kind of different standards in many ways.

[21:29] I think that's paid off, you know, reading books on parenting.
I took parenting courses. I, of course, thought a lot about the moral issues over the years.
And it's paid off. I think it's worked out well.
And given that my parenting is mostly done at this point, like she's, my daughter's 15 and changed.
So, I mean, the parenting, obviously, there's a couple of tweaks here and there, but for the most part, it's all done and dusted, as they would say.
So, yeah, so that worked out. So I wanted to be good at parenting.
Again, I don't know. I wanted to be the best parent I could be.
I don't know what it means to be the best parent. It's not like there's some international award, right?
And I mean, sometimes being a great parent is keeping your kids from dying during a war, right? I don't have to do that.
So I don't know what it means, sort of apples and oranges stuff, but I'm certainly the best parent. I feel like I'm about the best parent that I can be in the circumstances that I have.
So I'm pleased and obviously relieved, right?
Somewhat relieved that I didn't bring the family curse forward another damn generation.

[22:21] So I said to this young man, I said, okay, so your father is very interested in being the best. Is it more important to be the best at parenting, or is it more important to be the best at some inconsequential spelling test when you're nine years old?
You know, what's important? If you're really into being the best, then you should have your priorities straight, right?
You know, if your parents want you to be the best in school, and you respond by saying, I have become the best at writing Klingon haikus, or drawing fire ants, or juggling made-up armadillo plushie toys, they would say, well, no. no.
And you said, no, no, you said be the best. So I'm the best at drawing fire ants.
And they'd say, well, no, be the best at school.
Being the best at fire ants, what does that matter?
It's important to be the best at school, right? To which case you can say, well, isn't it important to be the best at parenting, right?
So if you say, well, it's important to be the best, then you would say to your parents, okay, so tell me, you know, what books on parenting have you read?
What theories of parenting are you following?
Or what are your ethics around parenting and so on, right?

[23:33] Course they you know in general right most parents won't have any real solid answers i would just i don't know doing what comes instinctively and we've never really studied for it it's like okay so i'm supposed to study for this stupid spelling bee while i'm nine but you don't have to study for, actually having it raising a real life human being in a positive and healthy way you don't have to study for that at all but i really gotta study for my grade nine spelling bee or spelling test right.

[24:00] How can parents say you have to get an A in science when they get a meh in parenting?
Meh, it's okay. It's fine. You know, whatever. I don't need to study.
I just do what comes instinctively.
And of course, if you were to take the same approach to your grade nine spelling test that your parents do to parenting and you'd say, you know, I've seen letters before. I've read a bunch of stuff.
I don't need to study. I'm just going to go with my gut. I'm going to go with what my gut tells me.
What would your parents say? They'd say, no, you have to study.
Like, you have to learn this stuff. You can't just do vector calculus based on your instincts.
You can't just spell things based upon the fact that you've read some books in the past. You actually have to study and learn these things.
To which you'd say, well, hang on. If it's really important to not just go with your gut, but to actually learn facts and objective things, then why didn't you do that with parenting?
And you see the craziness, right? I mean, it really, it's so beyond deranged.
And, you know, I can't even tell you just how much it frustrates me.
Whether this is petty or not, you could be the judge. I don't think it really matters because I'm not giving up the emotions anyway because the emotions I don't have these emotions these emotions have me like aren't these Arguments just so ridiculously blindingly obvious that isn't it just shameful and embarrassing, that philosophers, intellectuals public big thinkers, Don't talk about this stuff Isn't this like the most obvious thing?

[25:22] And say, you've got to be excellent. You've got to study. Okay, did they study in order to become excellent about parenting?
Isn't that just a blindingly obvious question? It frustrates me no end that philosophy has been around for thousands and thousands and thousands of years, and yet these basic obvious points have never been made.
At least I've never seen them, and I think I would have. I mean, after this amount of time, somebody would have said to me, Oh no, this guy made all these points in the past.
Like, it's crazy to me. Honestly, it's genuinely like, what the hell have people been doing? What the hell have people been doing? I don't know.

[26:01] So why? Why do you want to make money? Why do you want this job?
Why do you want a promotion?

[26:07] Why do you want to go to the gym? Why do you want to diet? Why do you want to get a bigger house? Why do you want a new car? Why? Why?

[26:13] And, you know, I'm not a nihilist, right? There's good answers to some of these things.
The car i'm driving is second hand why did i buy a second hand car because it has safety features that i like i've been in two car accidents i i it has safety features that i like and i can get those safety features on a used car pretty cheaply so rather than get a new car i've have a budget right so he's got to have a budget for everything right otherwise you just don't know what's going on right so in in the budget that i wanted for the car and i you know my my first car i drove into the ground like there was nothing left working on that car except the wheels and i got pity couple of hundred bucks right so when i got a new car i had a budget in my mind and i'm like well i'm happy to have a used car because then i get a whole bunch of additional safety features for the same price as a new car without those safety features and I wanted the safety features more than I wanted a new car not super complicated right so you know why why why do you want a new car well I need a new car because my old car died on the vine I want these safety features here's my budget the thing that makes sense is the used car so I know these are sort of silly examples but why.

[27:38] Lot of people who feel kind of pushed around during the day and then at night you're sitting in your bed scrolling on your tablet or your phone you feel like okay this is me time and you know stare into a bright light and till 1am and oh my gosh i'm having trouble sleeping well you know why because you don't feel like you have any you time during the day well you've got to find a way to get that so you don't end up staring into the magnesium heart of digital little sons until your retinas burn and you can't sleep.
I say this as a reminder to myself as well, because I can always say, man, I'm not just scrolling on my phone.
I'm running a business with employees.
So yeah, it's just something to remember.
So I thought that issue of excellence and why his father wanted him to do well and how he ended up internalizing punishments and rewards.
You see, if it's not you who's generating the goal and you who knows why the goal is there, what do you have left other than laziness, avoidance, indifference, punishment, and reward?

The Importance of Self-Motivation

[28:48] Nobody's forcing me to do a controversial philosophy show. Nobody. Nobody.
My choice i know what i'm doing i know why i'm doing it so it's easy to do i look forward to it i enjoy it i did a call in oh was it yesterday or the day before sorry it's a bit of a blur i did a call in on sunday sorry day before yesterday and it was a fellow who was dating a woman and.

[29:19] Like yeah i want to become a dad and it turned out the woman he was dating was a grandmother, i mean not harold moore style but you know quite a bit older now that's a surprising enough thing for me that the call-in shows are still worth doing because it's not the same old same old then the show is not the same old same old which is i guess why you're back and why i i keep doing it some people are fine saying the same things over and over again can you believe that the people on on the left, are being hypocritical. Let me break it down for you.
And so I was like, I just, no, I can't do that stuff over and over again. It would drive me mad.
That would be like Dusty Essie's definition of hell.
You know, it just, I mean, it's either a little bathhouse in the middle of nowhere full of spiders that you're locked into, or it's digging a hole and having to fill it in again.
Sisyphus style forever and ever, amen. That would be hell.
Yeah, that repetition drives me crazy. And I assume repetition is not, So, you know, I'll do call-in shows, I'll do presentations on Bitcoin, I'll do novels, you know, I'll sing a little, you know, whatever, right?
So, read audiobooks, which you should really check out. I mean, they really are good. Really are good. freedomain.com slash books.
So, a lot of times we get mad at ourselves for not doing what we ought to do.
I'm just not doing what I ought to do. I'm not doing what I should be doing.

[30:39] And that's a it's a really really sad and enslaved enslaved way to to be motivated if that makes any sense and you're living for others you're living for the approval of others and all of this so in terms of your life as a whole responding to incentives decays the will trying to reward and and punish yourself is recreating school.
It's recreating, in a sense, bad parenting.

[31:10] Saying, I don't have enough wisdom to do the right thing, so I'll bribe and flog myself for following a particular path or not.
It's not being yourself to punish yourself. You're not inhabiting your own mind and body.
If you are rewarding and punishing yourself, you're turning yourself into a kind of useful pet for the powers that be.
You are replicating the reward and punishment paradigm that is used in statism and school and abusive parenting as a whole within yourself.
You are becoming your own tyrant.
You are becoming your own bribe and threatener in chief.
Positive rewards are the blackmail of verbal abuse, bribery, or terrorism.
Person, I will make myself feel good, or I will make myself feel bad, is not the same as having free will.
It's not the same as having choice. It's not the same as having willpower.
Punishment and reward, bribes and threats, it's all just too appalling.
And, you know, please understand, I'm not saying this from any guru standpoint.
I still struggle with this, but hopefully my my struggles and my clarity can help you avoid all of this stuff that I had to do in a way.

[32:31] Just to make things happen in the past.
Now, of course, I'm in a state where I can follow my own goals and morals because I've largely freed myself from...
Rewards and punishments. I don't have a boss to please.
I obviously have to please you, the audience, but sometimes pleasing you, the audience, means annoying the living crap out of you, sometimes for weeks at a time, until you sort of see what it is that I'm doing and the value of it.
So even that is a fairly complicated relationship.

[33:03] So, you know, being more frank and direct with people who are, in my view, pursuing negative interactions in live streams or in my inbox.
It can be tough for people. I get that. It can be cringy and can feel humiliating, but it is a matter of respect to you to not lie about my experience.
It doesn't mean I'm right. It's just I'm not going to falsify my own experience with people that I don't. I had to do that as a kid and as a young man and as an employee. I don't have to do that now.
And hopefully that me being free to express myself without being abusive gives you the the liberty to tell the truth in your own relationships as well.
So it might be annoying, and I know it is for people.
It may be hard for people, and I know that it is.
But I'm never harsher with other people than I am with myself.
And I don't try to be harsh with myself, but I always try to be honest with myself.
And honesty is the best motivator. So if you know why you're doing something, if you have a goal that is good for you and the world, you won't need much Watch willpower.
Willpower is one of these highly overrated things because it's like holding a three pound weight straight armed out from your shoulders.
Doesn't seem that hard to begin with, but it's gonna fail all too quickly and you're gonna be left with a repulsive soreness that's gonna have you avoid movement.

[34:22] Willpower is something that you use, you burn self-knowledge in order to motivate yourself, thus stripping yourself of self-knowledge in the future.

The Power of Curiosity

[34:34] Trying to get to with this young man, which is, if you are unmotivated, if you're not getting what you want in life, if you're not doing the things that you think that you should, isn't it important to be curious as to why?
Isn't it important to be curious as to why?
Willpower is when you say, I'm not worth being curious about.
I'm just going to make it happen. I'm going to make myself go to the gym.
I'm just going to make myself not eat. I'm just going to make myself, do stuff as opposed to being curious as to why you don't want to do things that you should or you do want to do things that you shouldn't just curiosity i wonder why that's a form of self-respect to say that you're not a bad person who just needs to be punished like a sinner but you are a person that's worth asking questions about not just ordering around around, right?
Ordering yourself around comes at the expense of self-knowledge, self-acceptance, and true free will.
Free will is when you know things, you don't force things.

[35:43] Free will is when you make, you don't take. And the way that you make with the self is through curiosity.
The way that you take from the self is by making yourself do stuff under threat of punishment or with the incentive of bribery.
And sometimes the only bribery is, well, if I don't go to the gym, I'm just going to call myself a lazy waste of skin later on, so I guess I'll go to the gym.
It's dismal. It's tragic. It's sad. It's very sad to have that approach to life. Be curious.
Be curious about yourself. Be curious about others, right?
When your kids lie to you, and they will, will, you can either get mad at them and punish them, or you can be curious.
Why did you lie? Without condemnation. Why the hell? Why did you lie?
With yourself. You do something that's not up to your standards of integrity, as we all do. I wouldn't say for you, for me, as I do.
Say, oh, I wonder why. I wonder why I missed the mark on that one.
That's interesting. I'm curious.
Have that level of affection for yourself, and you gain real strength in this life.
Force yourself and you hollow yourself out and you replace external punishments and rewards with internal self-knowledge which is exhausting fundamentally unsustainable.

[36:58] Wanted to get across. I was hoping to get it across with this fine young man, but he had not made necessarily the best decisions about when to call.
But that happens. So if you have any questions or comments, I'm happy to take them.
Otherwise, I have a lot of peaceful parenting the book to get through.

The Impact of Rewards and Punishments

[37:14] I've got a bunch to read and a bunch more to... I've got edits that I haven't made into the final version.
So I'll just give you guys a second. If you have questions or comments, I'm happy to hear them. Otherwise, I will close it off for the day.
And I also finished this morning.
I finished the Philosophical Paradoxes series.
I think we're up to part six, and I think I did eight or nine of them.
Sometimes I did more than one, but this last one is a real crackerjack.

[37:38] It's about the intellect and free will and how much high intellect and paralysis go hand in hand, Hamlet style.
And it unpacks that whole thing in a way that even, you know, sometimes I even amaze myself.
That's the old hand solo line. It's true. Sometimes I give myself goosebumps.
And this was one of those times where I felt very close to my potential.
I'm always sort of chasing after my potential because I never feel like I quite manifest it, but I was real close this morning.
So when that goes out in the next day or two, I hope that you will.
Freedomain.com slash donate if you'd like to help out the show.
I'd really, really appreciate that.
You can join the great community, freedomain.locals.com or subscribestar.com slash freedomain.
But freedomain.com slash donate is the best place to go. Thanks everyone so much. I really appreciate your time and attention.

[38:29] Lots of love from up here. I will talk to you tomorrow. Bye.

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