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To think or to meta-think?

Words

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Meta-thinking is thinking about thinking. This includes "thinking about one's own capacity and tendency to think in a certain way." I'm trying to accomplish something, but I easily get distracted. What I do is to strategize against my tendencies. For example, I change the environment in order to control myself. But for some reason, I find this wrong. I'm not sure why. It's like self-manipulation? I'm thinking there might be long-term negative effects to this. Self-development is more important to me than goal accomplishment. Is it better to think or to meta-think when you want to push yourself towards a certain path? Is it better to exert a conscious effort towards something or to consciously alter the conditions that affect your future state of consciousness?
 

Base groove

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Ah, you are actually talking about meta meta meta cognition. Only the brainiest of the brains can meta^cubed objectively the way you wish you could.

>>maybe a serious answer later.
 

Pyropyro

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Depending on the strength of your willpower and the amount that you currently have for that day (Willpower is a finite yet replenishable resource). If think you have enough to spend for altering the environment then do so and if not then it's best to direct your scant resources to the actual work and let other factors deal with the environment instead.

For example:

Let's say you want to lose weight and have to do two willpower sapping activities (stop drinking coffee with sugar and exercising)

If it's not exercise day then it would be much easier to say no to coffee and do other stuff throughout the day.

Now when exercise day comes, things get a little more interesting. You know that you'll be craving sugar after that stressful exercise but you'll also know it will be bad for your long term goal. So you get a trusted buddy (An external factor) to lock the coffee machine away from you so you can then spend your remaining willpower on exercising.

For example, I change the environment in order to control myself. But for some reason, I find this wrong. I'm not sure why. It's like self-manipulation?
I don't find anything wrong about it. In fact, I prefer it to its darker cousin, self-sabotage behavior (comfort binge eating, addictions etc.). At least in these activities, your conscious mind is in the driver's seat.
 

Minuend

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Optimally, you are probably better off trying to develop a cognitive setup that enables you to perform various actions without having to force yourself or the environment. Finding a way to activate motivation and self restraint from within that doesn't rely on force, as it will be a resistance you constantly have to face through your life and might potentially make you irritable, frustrated or so.

I have difficulty doing that. I find myself impatient and easy to irritate when faced with tasks I'd rather avoid. I have found some solutions that are semi-forced, I guess. I try to get in a mind state where I mentally prepare to do whatever I need.

Sometimes allowing yourself to think too much about how you could do something you don't want to, is a reminder you don't want to do it and it becomes more difficult because of it. There has been times in my life where I did things more easily because I combined
1. mentally prepared that tomorrow I have to do x.
and
2. got up doing x without thinking about whether I wanted to or not.

Optimally for me, developing a mindstate where I can appreciate subtleties of tasks shallowly seen as dreadful. Redirecting focus to aspect of a task that reminds me of something more positive.
A banal example: if I had a homework assignment where I had to write an essay which I hated, I could focus on something else about the task that I find more pleasurable. Like information seeking, the creativity outlet. Or something more subtle, the way my mind experiences writing, feeling the fingers run across the keyboard, observing what biases rises from reading etc.
 

Cherry Cola

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Think about the way you're thinking, but also feel about the way you're thinking, furthermore; feel about the way you feel, whereafter you should think about the way you feel as well.

But seriously, meta-cognitive self analysis is healthy if you don't do it too much (in which case it can slow you down and get spiral out of control becoming a recursive mess) or consider your thoughts as if though they were categorical imperatives needing only to be designed for logical efficieny (for in fact they are imperatives not alone, but along with irrational feelings and as such need to be designed with those in consideration).
 

RaBind

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I think you need to meta meta think. Think about the way you think about yourself thinking. Manipulate the way you manipulate yourself into thinking something. If this fail just go deeper. Sorry I'm not helping.

Self development correlates with the gain of knowledge. Knowledge about the internal is just as important if not more so than gaining knowledge about the external. If you lean 5 new things than you add 5 things to link 5 things to what you already know. If you add 1 new way of perceiving you learn a different side of everything you already knew.
 

Words

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Depending on the strength of your willpower and the amount that you currently have for that day (Willpower is a finite yet replenishable resource).
I'm thinking meta-thinking will lessen practice of willpower and therefore, in the long run, lessen willpower and therefore be a negative. Is there a way to increase willpower?

If you think you have enough to spend for altering the environment then do so and if not then it's best to direct your scant resources to the actual work and let other factors deal with the environment instead.

For example:

Let's say you want to lose weight and have to do two willpower sapping activities (stop drinking coffee with sugar and exercising)

If it's not exercise day then it would be much easier to say no to coffee and do other stuff throughout the day.

Now when exercise day comes, things get a little more interesting. You know that you'll be craving sugar after that stressful exercise but you'll also know it will be bad for your long term goal. So you get a trusted buddy (An external factor) to lock the coffee machine away from you so you can then spend your remaining willpower on exercising.
So altering the environment (which I consider as a part of meta-thinking) also consumes willpower resources? Therefore the best way is to externalize willpower consumption by asking someone else to change your environment for you?

That seems like "meta meta thinking", which other posters have mentioned. Thinking about conserving willpower resources by conserving willpower that was meant to conserve willpower resources. This is confusing. :facepalm:

I don't find anything wrong about it. In fact, I prefer it to its darker cousin, self-sabotage behavior (comfort binge eating, addictions etc.). At least in these activities, your conscious mind is in the driver's seat.
It's morelike my previous conscious mind is in the driver's seat. I'm controlling my future conscious mind. From my future self's perspective, I'm being controlled by my past self, which feels discomforting or imprisoning. But I think my brain is just trying to make excuses for me to stop meta-thinking and stop being rational and start being more instinctive. Meta-thinking or meta-meta thinking it is then.
 
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