In some ways, our brain works like a computer. The brain has multiple programming loops that it iterates through, but often times we get stuck in a certain loops.
The loops that I see from outer most to inner most are:
The most inner loop is iterating through tasks until complete, then iterating to the next goal and doing those tasks, then when all those goals are completed the brain next iterates vision(s) with a new set of goals and each of those having their own tasks. The final outer loop iterates the components of the self. The components of self I see are the same as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
Often times we don’t realize we are inside of a loop, completing task towards a goal without stepping back and thinking about the loop above the one we are in. Is this goal worth achieving? Does it align with the vision? And then stepping out of that a level higher, does it achieve my needs and sense of self. These are things that we often learn to be better as we get older. When we are young, there may not even be a sense of self, and as a result, no visions or goals because everything we are doing is a result of being told to do it.
These loops can explain a significant amount about how we feel when not conscious of them. When you are in a funk for an extended period of time, it’s best to think through these items:
- Where have I been operating on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and am I ready to move to a different rung?
- How do the visions for my life align with my needs and sense of self? As an example, getting even more fit or advancing your career further won’t do much if you are missing companionship in every aspect of your life.
- Does achieving my goals actually achieve my vision? For example, if you want to make more money to buy a house. Your work gives you goals to achieve and you think that if you achieve them you’ll get a raise, yet you achieve the goals, but that doesn’t result in work giving you a raise. There was an aspect that was out of your control, and you didn’t set your goals correctly.
- Similar to the goals achieving the vision, check in that the tasks achieve the goal.
If you are working hard and getting nowhere, it’s worth revisiting what loop you are stuck in and take a broader perspective.