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OPTIMIZE with Brian Johnson | More Wisdom in Less Time

+1 #155: Precommitment

OPTIMIZE with Brian Johnson | More Wisdom in Less Time
Released on Dec 17, 2017

In our last +1, we talked about the power of recommitting. You make a big commitment, then you fall a little off track. No big deal, REcommit and continue on.

Today, we’re going to add a little letter to recommitment.

It’s a “P.” We’ll drop it in right at the beginning.

Giving us: PREcommitment.

So, now we have: Precommitment. Commitment. And Recommitment.

Science says precommitment is one of the most powerful tools in the Willpower tool chest. They even give precommitments a pretty cool name: Odysseus Contracts.

Before we jump into ancient mythology and see what it has to say about modern science, let’s remember: Will power exemplars play OFFENSE not DEFENSE (https://www.optimize.me/plus-one/want-willpower-play-offense-not-defense/). They use their finite willpower wisely to install habits that run on autopilot—avoiding the temptations that drain our willpower as we try to resist them. Offense. Not defense.

One of the most powerful ways to do that? Decide in ADVANCE how we will handle a challenging situation. PRECOMMIT ourselves to the best possible action.

So, back to mythology.

What did Odysessus do when he and his sailors needed to get by the Sirens without crashing into the rocks?

He precommitted himself to a course of action.

How?

By tying himself to his mast and commanding his sailors not to untie him regardless of how much he begged them to do so.

THAT’s precommitment. He chose to do something that locked himself into a virtuous course of action when he knew he’d be challenged.

His sailors precommitted as well. Rather than tie themselves to the boat, they took an even smarter path and avoided the temptation in the first place by plugging their ears with beeswax. They didn’t even hear the tempting sounds of the Sirens. Voila! Safe passage through that dangerous path.

Again, THAT’s precommitment.

Odysseus Contracts.

Someone struggling with alcohol, for example, would be much wiser to never go into a bar than to try to not drink once they’re in there. Someone looking to Optimize their energy would be much wiser to not even walk down the fake food aisles at the grocery store than to buy the sugar and refined flour toxic goop and then try to resist eating it once it’s in their pantry.

Back to you and Today’s +1:

What Odysseus Contracts do YOU need to make with yourself?

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