#1208 The Neuroscience of Seneca

Pleasant + Honorable = The Same

In our last couple +1s, we’ve been talking about the power of Celebration to help us hack our brains to accelerate the process of creating new habits.

Today I want to spend a little more time in BJ Fogg’s Behavior Design Lab at Stanford. And, I’d like to invite our old friend Seneca to join us there.


You know what happens when we IMMEDIATELY and INTENSELY celebrate doing the right thing?


As discussed, the (oversimplified) short story goes something like this: We squirt a little dopamine in the direction of our nucleus accumbens (the same reward center that lights up in less-than-positive addictive behaviors!) such that our brains CRAVE that GOOD behavior.

In other words, we get to a place where doing what’s BEST for us is what we MOST WANT to do.

Seneca mapped out this process 2,000 years ago.

First, he told us: “You have to persevere and fortify your pertinacity until the will to good becomes a disposition to good.”

Then what happens?

Then we arrive in virtue-heaven: “How much better to pursue a straight course and eventually reach that destination where the things that are pleasant and the things that are honorable finally become, for you, the same.”

Translated: We get to a place where doing what’s BEST for us is what we MOST WANT to do.

That’s Today’s +1.

Here’s to the Ancient Wisdom + Modern Science that all points in the same direction.

Let’s joyfully celebrate the tiny little gains as we aggregate and compound all the awesome over an extended period of time such that we arrive at that heavenly place where doing what we know is best for us is what we most love (and enjoy!) doing.

+1. +1. +1.


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