Evolution of Short Term Rewards

Our long-ago, pre-civilized ancestors had it much more rough than we do today. Finding food and water, building a shelter, and starting a fire was a big part of the day. They had to take any and all of the short term rewards they could get, as they were fewer and further between. Any calories they could find were calories that may have to sustain them for longer than a day. While I am grateful that I am not living in such times, there is a great trade-off to having short term rewards at our disposal.

I’m in week 7 of applying more focus on the diet portion of my health. While it is going OK, it is at a much slower rate than it has been in times past. The pursuit has given me plenty of time to think about why it is such a struggle. I believe the struggle and the suffering is life’s way of balancing everything out.

Life has evolved so that many of us (but not all, unfortunately) no longer have to suffer in the search for our next snack or meal. We must face another kind of suffering. Shall we succumb to all of the short term desires, and suffer the health consequences of being overweight or obese? Shall we suffer by limiting our short term desires, struggle in finding some way to get our mind and body to commit to do so, and trade those short term rewards in for longer term ones? I’ve observed that the latter kind of suffering can be the kind you eventually crave, and that you can trick your mind into perceiving this kind of suffering in a positive light.

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