Final week, I downloaded a brand new online game to play.

And half-hour later, I uninstalled the sport. Not as a result of I didn’t like the sport, however particularly as a result of I appreciated the sport an excessive amount of. The sport is known as Dave the Diver, the place you’re a SCUBA Diver/Sushi restaurant proprietor. You spend every day diving and catching fish, after which every night serving sushi on the restaurant.

This recreation pressed each organic button my mind has for “effectivity.”

My mind advised me I needed to execute every dive as effectively as potential. Every evening on the restaurant meant I wanted to obtain a 100% buyer satisfaction ranking.

In fact, nothing would occur if I didn’t.

However this recreation + my mind equaled a recipe for addictive catastrophe. After half-hour I knew if I didn’t delete it, I might spend each potential minute taking part in the sport, and each minute not taking part in could be spent fascinated with easy methods to get extra environment friendly on the recreation.

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As a result of I’m in the midst of writing a secret-book-shaped-project that I can’t discuss… I knew I wanted to save lots of Future Steve.

In different phrases, it was time to channel an historical technique for survival:

A “Ulysses Pact.”

What’s a Ulysses Pact?

In Homer’s Odyssey, Ulysses (also referred to as “Odysseus”) is about to sail previous a harmful island of Sirens who sing stunning music. This music is so stunning that anyone who hears it loses all management, and can sail towards the island, crashing their boat on the rocks surrounding the island.

Fortunately, our boy Uylsses has been suggested by the witch Circe on the one approach he and his males can survive. In Madelline Miller’s Circe, she recounts the recommendation Circe provides the captain:

“[For] the Sirens, there it’s possible you’ll use your tips. Fill your males’s ears with wax, and go away your individual free. If you happen to tie your self to the mast, it’s possible you’ll be the primary man to ever hear their track and inform the story.”

As creator Corey Doctorow factors out in a latest e-newsletter:

“Ulysses was sturdy sufficient to know that he would sometime be weak. He expressed his power by guarding towards his weak spot.

“While you take some chance off the desk throughout a second of power in recognition of some coming second of weak spot.”

In different phrases, typically giving up on your self is essentially the most brave factor you are able to do. It asks you to simply accept your weaknesses, and make a strategic pre-planned resolution to guard towards them.

Ulysses Pacts In My Life

I’m a comical catastrophe trapped within the physique of an grownup who pretends to be a functioning member of society. I’m additionally my very own boss, utterly accountable for my time. Yikes.

I wrestle with impulse management. There are specific experiences that I’m simply incapable of doing “a bit bit.” I additionally know that after I begin an pleasurable exercise, it is going to take over.

Which implies it’s virtually not possible for me to solely do some issues “just a bit bit” after which say “okay that’s sufficient for at the moment.”

In spite of everything, I do know my mind isn’t geared up to deal with the lifetime of abundance we’re surrounded with: limitless distraction, hedonistic enjoyment, limitless meals, and many others.

E.O. Wilson stated it greatest:

“The true downside of humanity is the next: We now have Paleolithic feelings, medieval establishments and godlike know-how.”

Somewhat than lament my lack of willpower with regards to addictive know-how, I follow acceptance and as a substitute make willpower pointless.

Thus, my life is held along with spit, duct tape, and Ulysses Pacts:

  • I’ve an app on my telephone known as Opal. It robotically prompts at 7AM and blocks sure apps, web sites, and all social media for a lot of the hours of the work day. I nonetheless choose up my telephone 10-20 occasions per day and attempt to open these apps, after which I’m reminded to get again to work.
  • I exploit a program on my pc known as Focus. It robotically prompts at 7AM and blocks virtually ANYTHING enjoyable or distracting on my pc till the top of the work day.
  • I don’t maintain snacks in my home. I like snacks. And as soon as a bag is open, it will get eaten. However after I’m sitting on the sofa watching TV (I simply completed Fallout and liked it), and I’m craving a snack, there’s no resolution to be made. I’m definitely not going to drive to the shop.
  • I don’t have any video games on my telephone. I do know that I can’t management any impulses, particularly for “gatcha” free video games that encourage you to purchase gems to degree up.
  • I’m locked out of every social media app after quarter-hour every single day. Social Media has been designed by behavioral scientists, with billions of {dollars}, to be as addictive as potential. So I don’t attempt to “use it just a bit bit.” I merely don’t let myself use it for any longer than “a bit bit” as a result of I’m actually locked out.
  • I don’t play multiplayer video games. I’ve no regulation round “okay I’m achieved,” so I not play multiplayer video games. I guess if I performed World of Warcraft, you’ll by no means get one other e-newsletter from me. Thus, I completely play single participant video games with a narrative or narrative.
  • I robotically donate to 2 charities each month: ProPublica investigative journalism and the Nashville Meals Kitchen. Each of those choices had been made ONCE, which implies I by no means have to recollect to donate, nor am I tempted to spend the cash as soon as it hits my account.
  • Each time I’m going to the physician, dermatologist, or dentist, I all the time schedule my subsequent appointment whereas I’m there. As a result of I do know I’ll overlook to take action months later, or I’ll inform myself I don’t want to go. Future Steve will not need to get his tooth cleaned or get bloodwork achieved.
  • My exercises are pre-scheduled in my calendar. I might a lot relatively not work out, however I do know if I don’t plan for them in my calendar, one thing else much more enjoyable (however much less useful) will take their place.

The one cause you get this text each week, and the one cause I get to the fitness center a number of occasions per week (along with successful the genetic and environmental lottery), is due to these Ulysses Pacts.

Right here’s how you should utilize them in your individual life.

You-lysses Pacts in Motion

Returning to Corey Doctorow:

“Ulysses pacts aren’t good, however they’re crucial. On the very least, making a Ulysses pact begins with acknowledging that you’re fallible. That you may be tempted, and rationalize your approach into taking unhealthy motion, even when you realize higher.

Changing into an grownup is a strategy of studying that your power comes from seeing your weaknesses and defending your self and the individuals who belief you from them.”

Let’s see how we are able to add some Ulysses Pacts to your life.

To create your individual Ulysses Pact: search for alternatives to decide TODAY in a second of power, to safeguard your self towards an anticipated second of weak spot TOMORROW.

Even higher, search for alternatives to decide as soon as, and it prevents you from needing to make use of willpower to repeatedly do the precise factor sooner or later.

A couple of extra examples:

  • Resolve to not maintain problematic meals in the home as soon as, and also you don’t must spend all evening, each evening, deciding NOT to eat these meals.
  • Resolve to robotically donate to a trigger you like as soon as, and also you don’t have to recollect to not spend that cash on one thing else and donate every month.
  • Delete and/or block social media and time-wasting video games in your telephone as soon as, and out of the blue the choice to learn a guide or go for a stroll relatively than mindlessly scroll by way of TikTok or Instagram turns into a lot simpler.

Bear in mind, acknowledging and creating safeguards towards our weaknesses isn’t an indication of giving up or weak spot.

It’s a brave signal of acceptance.

It’s additionally good.

What are the Ulysses Pacts you employ in your individual life? Did this text encourage you to create one for your self?

Attain out and let me know!


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