Not too long ago, we took a quick trip to hell.
I think that exercise is helpful because it helps us shine a very bright light on the potential pain of getting to the end of our lives and realizing that we left our lives unlived.
But, alas, we (obviously) don’t need to wait until the end of our lives to experience that pain.
Abraham Maslow has some pretty intense wisdom on the subject.
In Toward a Psychology of Being, he tells us: “The serious thing for each person to recognize vividly and poignantly, each for himself, is that every falling away from species-virtue, every crime against one’s own nature, every evil act, every one without exception records itself in our unconscious and makes us despise ourselves. Karen Horney had a good word to describe this unconscious perceiving and remembering; she said it ‘registers.’ If we do something we are ashamed of, it ‘registers’ to our discredit, and if we do something honest or fine or good, it ‘registers’ to our credit. The net results ultimately are either one or the other—either we respect and accept ourselves or we despise ourselves and feel contemptible, worthless, and unlovable.”
Commit a crime against your own nature?
Maslow says: That punishment is instant.
I repeat: “Every crime against one’s own nature, every evil act, every one without exception records itself in our unconscious and makes us despise ourselves.”
Ever wonder why the days when you fail to live with areté are the ones you MOST want to numb yourself by doing the things you KNOW serve you the least?
There ya go.
Every act registers. At some level, when you fail to live in integrity with your ideals, you (gulp!) despise yourself. And, well, it’s a lot easier to numb that pain than to do the hard work to correct our shortcomings and get to work Optimizing.
Virtue is rewarded instantly as well.
Know that every (!) single (!) thing (!) we do is registering on some unconscious level.
And let’s cast some votes for the Optimus-best version of ourselves.
And, let’s remember James Clear’s wisdom in Atomic Habits. He tells us that sculpting our new identity is kinda like an election—we don’t need to win EVERY vote, but we do need to win a majority of them.
Let’s vote wisely today, shall we?!
+1. +1. +1.