Free Will & Willpower Are Becoming a Thing of the Past. Here’s What You Can Do About It.
The global environment has dramatically changed in the past 25 years.
This year marks ten years since the first iPhone came out.
Technological advancements are accelerating at exponential levels.
Humanity, for the most part, has no idea what just hit them.
Stimulants, such as caffeine.
Over-stimulating foods containing refined sugar and other refined carbs (although this form of addiction has only intensified since the industrial revolution).
To quote famed management consultant, educator, and author, Peter Drucker:
“In a few hundred years, when the history of our time will be written from a long-term perspective, it is likely that the most important event historians will see is not technology, not the Internet, not e-commerce. It is an unprecedented change in the human condition. For the first time — literally — substantial and rapidly growing numbers of people have choices. For the first time, they will have to manage themselves. And society is totally unprepared for it.”
The very technologies that provide human beings with increasing choices are the very technologies diminishing human choice.
The future, with all of its incredible potential for joy, success, experiences, and learning — is not going to be a positive place for most people.
Every environment is optimized for something. Some environments, for example, are optimized for learning, connection, and growth.
However, the environments in which people most find themselves are optimized for dopamine. Because people can’t handle the allurements that come with all the advancements of society, they have developed unhealthy and addictive triggers around technology, information, food, work, etc.
Nearly everyone is an addict now.
And the most pervasive cultural addictions all fuel each other.
Because we are constantly plugged into our technology, we can’t sleep well. Because we can’t sleep well, we are dependent on stimulants and over-stimulating foods to get us through the day. Because we spend 70% of our time at work distracted, we’re unfulfilled, frustrated, and filled with impostor syndrome.
Because we are constantly plugged in, we never get sufficient time “off” to get clarity. Because we lack clarity, we are focused on the wrong things — always trying to keep up, fearing to miss out.
One hour of focused clarity is more productive than 30 days of non-focused clarity. As author and philosopher, Alex Epstein, has said, “You are the casualty of clarity’s absence.” And, unless you’re giving yourself plenty of time to unplug and reset, you’re probably moving the wrong direction.
As author, Stephen R. Covey said, “If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.”
Are you going up the wrong ladder?
How would you know if you were?
Have you developed addictive tendencies?
How connected do you really (I mean really) feel to yourself?
Free Will Is Becoming a Thing of the Past
Although people instinctively believe they are making their own choices, in today’s trigger-laden environment, the opposite is more true.
Most people are not making their own choices. They are unconsciously and reactively operating in a world that was created for them, not in a world that was created by them.
In The Adrenal Reset Diet, authors Alan Christianson M.D. and Sara Gottfried M.D. explain that unless we create the space to truly unplug, reset, refresh, and recharge, our body’s natural and evolutionary response is to store fat rather than burn it. Hence, it is projected that within the next 10 years, the majority of the global population will be overweight to obese.
This has nothing to do with willpower. Often, those who are working the hardest are failing the worst.
It is for this (and many other reasons) that willpower is no longer an effective strategy for success. The environment we now live in is simply too stimulating, addicting, and non-stop.
You can’t beat this environment.
It’s too much.
It will take you down an addictive and lonely rabbit hole leading to a place you don’t really want to be.
And here’s the thing: It’s only going to get more intense. The brightest minds in the world project that cryptocurrencies will introduce a change to the global environment even more dramatic than the internet.
We are on the brink of another quantum leap, and most people don’t adapt at quantum levels.
The environment is going to dramatically change.
And most people will not see it coming.
Most people will be a casualty.
It is predicted that governments will collapse and wars will rage due to the implications of cryptocurrency.
You Must Take Control Of Your Environment
“If we do not create and control our environment, our environment creates and controls us.” — Dr. Marshall Goldsmith
Although most people are unconsciously losing their free will, there has never actually been a more liberating time in human history to live, to thrive, and to experience freedom.
But the only way to thrive is by consciously designing your environment.
There’s really no other way.
The opposite approach is attempting to overcome your environment through grit and willpower.
Again, this doesn’t work anymore. Perhaps it worked in previous eras, when the external environment was not so intrusive, addictive, and constant.
But the truth is, your environment is no longer static and passive. Rather, it is aggressively seeking to influence, persuade, and even sell you stuff. And it’s doing its job very, very well.
You have a digital identity that knows your behaviors and habits more than you do. Technology allows markets to put exactly what you want right in your face non-stop.
Consequently, you must create and control your environment. Cryptocurrency will help with that in the near future. Soon, you’ll be able to completely block out people and media you don’t want.
But until then, you’re going to need to become proactive and aggressive about blocking stuff out.
You’ll need to create systems to avoid addiction, distraction, and self-sabotage.
You’ll need to shift and change your physical space. You may even need to completely remove yourself from your environment altogether. For example, my brother recently checked into a six month recovery facility.
It may not be that intense for you.
But it may be.
Even if it’s not, you may need a new house, a new state, or a new job.
But one thing is for certain, if you don’t change your environment, the chances of you making desired changes is practically zero.
The reason is simple: you are locked into a role. The people all around you see you a certain way. It’s very hard to break those paradigms.
Even if you start acting differently, your current environment (and the people in it) will forcibly try to keep you the same.
Everything you’ve built around you keeps you where you currently are. It’s like a spaceship trying to leave orbit. You need an intense amount of force to get out of orbit. Hence, spaceships require rockets to shoot them off our planet.
Can you exert that much force?
Or, will you simply need to lighten the load?
In the Right Environment, Desired Behavior Is Automatic
Almost all human behavior is unconscious — in other words, it is outsourced to a particular environment.
Willpower can also be automated by your environment.
So can motivation, and even success.
All you need to do is shape the environment that organically supports desired behaviors, goals, and values.
Your ability to create conditions that make success happen is essential to your success.
It’s essential to your very free will. Because unless you create an environment that allows you to act, you will be an unconscious object which is acted upon.
Free will is not a zero-sum game. “Free will” actually doesn’t exist. Instead, all of us have a contextual agency — our ability to act in desired ways is based on our context.
But who creates that context?
For most people, someone or something else.
For you? Well, that’s your choice.
If you take control of your environment, you can overcome addiction. You can outsource desired behavior to a congruent and empowering environment. You don’t need to tax your willpower — only to adjust your environment when you’re triggered to self-destruct.
What will you do?