Pavlov was the first to articulate the conditioning response to a stimulus. In his famous dog and bell experiment, Pavlov would ring a bell every time a dog was fed. After several weeks of doing this, he rang the bell without providing food to the dog. Low and behold, the dog came running with drool dripping everywhere expecting to be fed. It’s called classical conditioning and is one of the most famous psychological experiments ever done. Although we can chuckle at the poor dog for believing he was about to be fed, in reality, this type of conditioning impacts our lives more than we think.
Instead of trying to find spots in your life where classical conditioning exist, do the opposite - find the places where you do work where the reward is not immediately available.
Fitness - do you workout every day even though the results may not present themselves in the short term?
Art - do you write, paint, podcast or code even though the results don’t show immediately?
Relationships - do you go out of your way to do something nice for someone important in your life even though they may not return the favour?
Thanks to technology, our lives are filled with instant gratification. For some people, even opening the Amazon app is a form of classical conditioning because they immediately get bit by the consumer bug. App is open, time to buy things!
Understanding that setting, struggling and accomplishing goals are the key factors in eudaimonia - a flourishing life - then you will quickly realize that the effort is just as important as the result. Short cuts do make life easier, but only if they assist us in a larger struggle.