Okay Then, So… When Can I Talk?

All this talk about talking and its role in subverting our actions may have left readers somewhat confused about what they can talk about and when. Heck, I'm confused, and I'm the guy who wrote this stuff in the first place.

Recall that the type of talk we're considering here is the kind that fools our minds' reward centers with "a sense of completion," makes us confuse talk with action, and narcotizes us into apathy and inaction. If we could figure out what kind of talk doesn't do that, that would be awfully helpful.

With that in mind, here are a few general rules for which types of talk you can safely engage in that won't trigger the subversive "sense of completion" loop:

1) You can only talk about actions you have already performed.
a) "Hey, last week I did deadlifts for the first time (and boy are my arms tired!)" (contrast this with "I'm thinking of starting deadlifting" which, as we've seen, produces a sense of completion and therefore prevents you from doing deadlifts)

b) "I did my very first run today, 1.5 miles." (contrast with "I really need to start running.")

c) "I made five new healthy and laughably cheap recipes from Casual Kitchen last month. My grocery bill was down by 45%!" (contrast with "I really should look into ways to cook healthy for less.")

2) You can talk about future tweaks you'd like to make to things you've already done.
"I'm noticing some minor muscle tears all over my rib cage after a few weeks of deadlifting practice. I wonder if adding an occasional cold shower would help my body recover."

3) You can talk about things you don't want to do.
Again, remember: the sense of completion loop means talking about things you want to do makes it more likely you won't do them. Here we simply apply the reverse example, where we use the sense of completion loop on purpose to evade action. Thus, only talk about things if you actually do not want to do them.

A final postscript and disclaimer: Readers, first of all, thanks for being patient with me as I slowly and painstakingly articulate and attempt to solve a challenge I've struggled with, even though it has next to nothing to do with this blog's usual subjects. Second, despite all the prescriptive advice here, please remember that of course you can talk about whatever you want, whenever you want. ;)


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Lauren said...

What about concrete plans? I find that writing stuff down as part of a to-do list for the day, week, or quarter - when necessary in SMART format - helps avoid someday syndrome. Or is writing sufficiently different from talking to subvert this?

Daniel said...

Good question. To me, writing things down on a to-do list (but not talking about it, heh) produces the opposite of a narcotizing effect/someday syndrome... if anything, the immense satisfaction of checking the thing off the list is a positive reward cycle that gets you to do that thing, the next thing, etc.