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The compliance and contribution split

From the time we are children, we are taught to comply. Comply at school, then at work. And we do this very well. But also from the time we are children, we seek have been seeking out ways to contribute. We find things that interest us and seek out ways to do more of that at the expense of not complying with some of the things we are supposed to.

Unconsciously, we live our lives in the same way.

We force our bodies and minds to comply. By setting alarms for waking up, by updating our to-do lists and in many other interesting ways. But no matter how much we force ourselves to comply, our minds and bodies wander. We often hit snooze on the alarm. We go out with friends when we should be completing our thousand words for the day. We binge on desserts when we ought to be sticking to a protein diet. We watch Netflix when we ought to be reading, or going to the gym.

Traditionally, we do not respond well to compliance. The more we comply, the more we feel like we are living under a Nazi regime. The more we comply, the less interested we are in the things we are complying to. The more we comply, the less we enjoy.

Contribution, on the other hand, is what we constantly seek out to do. These are things that give us a kick. These are the things we do to belong - belong to a tribe, to a group of people, to the standards that we set for ourselves.

The key for contribution is feedback. When you contribute to something, and receive feedback, that spurs you on to do more. Compliance, on the other hand, only offers a tick box next to a to-do list item as feedback.

Sometimes, we need to comply. Especially when we are forming new habits, and when we do not trust ourselves to make the right decision for the long term. But doing it all the time saps our energy.

Compliance is the way an authoritarian controls and micro-manages.

Teach yourself to contribute instead.

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