The human brain is quite peculiar, especially when it encounters challenges or stressful situations. It often reacts with resistance, akin to a petulant, spoiled child. When the going gets tough, this inner child stirs, and procrastination suddenly takes over. Envision the brain as a child who whines and has a meltdown when things don’t go as expected. Similarly, when confronted with difficult tasks, the mind begins to procrastinate, making it even more challenging to act.

Power of Mindset

The influence of mindset is crucial in overcoming these hurdles. To illustrate, consider the experience of a friend during medical school clinical rotations. They frequently had to venture outside their comfort zone, whether giving lectures, performing procedures, or delivering difficult news to families. There was a peer who appeared to handle everything with ease, undisturbed by errors or complications. Out of curiosity, they inquired about her approach. Her response was that she didn’t focus on leaving her comfort zone; instead, she viewed it as having fun and fully engaging in the learning experience, treating it like a game. By removing the pressure from her ego and simply enjoying the tasks, she overcame resistance and thrived in her pursuits.

Spoiled Child

Stress and Difficulty

The brain is designed to protect, much like a parent safeguarding their child. When faced with stress or difficulty, the brain’s instinctive reaction is to resist and evade discomfort. Recognizing this response is the initial step in accepting that “spoiled child” within. Rather than combating it, the goal is to collaborate with the brain.

“Two-Minute Rule”

An excellent technique to outwit the brain is the “Two-Minute Rule.” Imagine being confronted with an intimidating task; the thought of starting it can be daunting. Instead of pressuring oneself to finish it all at once, reduce the entry barrier. By committing to just two minutes of effort, the task becomes significantly less intimidating. Often, after beginning, one may find themselves unexpectedly motivated to continue.

Breaking Down

Taking it further involves breaking tasks down into smaller, more manageable steps. When faced with a large project that resembles a mountain, the brain can go into a state of panic. However, by taking a moment to decompose the task into bite-sized pieces, what seemed like an insurmountable peak becomes a series of smaller hills that are much easier to tackle. This strategy is effective only with consistency—if tasks accumulate, a different approach may be necessary.


The inner voice influences one’s self-perception and perceived capabilities. The ego’s role is to maintain self-image, so when something seems beyond one’s comfort zone, it might resist to avoid any potential harm to that self-image.

Changing the Narrative

A trick to manage the ego is to alter self-dialogue. Language is a potent tool. Rather than saying, “I need to do this,” rephrase it as “I am someone who does this.” By aligning actions with identity, a person creates congruence between their actions and self-perception. So, when confronting a difficult task, affirming, “I am someone who tackles challenges head-on!” can lead to the ego’s endorsement.

Positive Self-Image

When actions consistently match the desired self-image, the ego takes notice and adapts, thinking, “This is who we are!” For example, by regularly exercising and envisioning oneself as fit and healthy, each workout reinforces the self-image of someone who prioritizes fitness, leading to a transformation over time.

Hard Work with Enjoyable Rewards

Positive Reinforcement

Making challenging tasks more enticing involves rewarding oneself. Positive reinforcement, like a pat on the back, signals to the brain that it’s doing well, fueling the motivation to persist. However, this requires discipline.


The key is to balance hard work with pleasurable activities, likened to a balanced meal for the brain. When there’s something enjoyable to anticipate after a task, it becomes more of a game than a chore. For instance, if faced with a demanding work deadline, planning a reward like a dance party or a walk in the park after completion can be motivating.

Progress over Perfection

The focus should be on gradual improvement, taking one step at a time, learning as one goes, and enjoying the journey. Each small advancement is a triumph, cumulatively leading to significant achievements. The goal is to improve incrementally.

Long-Term Success

Developing Consistency

Consistency transforms goals into reality. Establishing and adhering to a routine is vital. For instance, committing to daily writing sessions to improve writing skills can initially be challenging, but with persistence, it becomes a natural part of one’s skill set.

Supportive Environment

A supportive environment, including people and resources that uplift one’s efforts, is instrumental. Whether it’s stocking nutritious foods for a healthier diet or joining a fitness class for regular exercise, the environment can significantly bolster one’s resolve.

Ultimately, everything boils down to discipline. Without it, there’s only raw brainpower and no structured plan. Moreover, if one truly dislikes their current activity, then the advice provided here may not be applicable.



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