top of page

T.E.A.M. Tuesday Articles 

Temptation and Fantasy Can Prove Purposeful

By Justin Simmons - Sep 19, 2023

Apple Brain.jpg

Temptation and Fantasy are mysterious words by nature, readily used to depict acts of self-indulgence or fictitious lure. Dating back to biblical associations of infidelity, magic or even witch craft, regardless of their negative nature there is always substantial attention associated with these terms. This is exactly why I wish to peel back their harsh exterior and and expose the potential power they may possess when managed appropriately.

As students of our mental capacity, we should be aware of aspirations that reside in less obvious locations. This is not to state everyone is prepared to explore them but a simple acknowledgement is healthy for future readiness. For this exercise, it is important to recognize that the things perceived as negative in life, often hold great value for those who can properly manage their force.

When we hear the words temptation or fantasy used situationally, they’re typically followed by some form of unrealistic circumstance or perspective. This is because the usage spans a broad range of scenarios that are meant to discount a person, place, or thing in such a way that renders its subject inappropriate or impossible.

These areas of impossibility or inappropriate behaviors should gain more positive attention. Not in the form of positive reinforcement but rather a proactive response to what is driving their popularity. Where we all have the ability to imagine wild adventures or conjure outlandish claims, we must be aware of how boasting elaborate schemes can appear hollow in structure if not substantiated. The subjects that tempt us or cause us to draft fictitious accomplishments are something to be mindful of. These areas of intrigue or even pride are highly motivating. After all, if willing to lie, cheat or fabricate ideas just to achieve a goal, this requires ample effort to pull off.

The energy that we consume on tasks throughout the day will tell us much about what motivates us. Not all tasks will be preferable, there are plenty of items we work through because we must. These tasks tend to drain us more physically and or emotionally due to our lack of interest or even resentment in executing them. This is in stark contrast to the items we choose to partake in. The sudden shift in mood between doing that which we find taxing versus what we find enjoyable will begin to draw distinct behavioral patterns in our actions.

When doing the things that excite us, neurons are triggered in our brain which release the chemical dopamine. The feel-good sensation which follows is designed to keep us active in our pursuit of our goals. Our primitive brain would base these goals purely on survival (such as needing an added push to hunt a large preditor for food) but our modern brain allows us to feel these ways based on many more forms of pleasurable stimuli.

The feelings derived from doing what interests us are a direct response to our dopamine levels when released. This means a lack of dopamine will subtly indicate a lack of interest thus prompting behavioral changes to seek things that receive a greater release of the chemical. The basic science behind this process creates a baseline for what we perceive as pleasurable experiences and will begin to form routines or habits to seek this level of enjoyment. Understanding this process, if applied correctly, we can literally train ourselves to be more productive by focusing on the things that excite us and find new healthy habits to drive a sustainable routine.

Now comes the hard part. How do we go about finding things that intrigue us yet fit into a healthy sustainable future?

Actions alone will never tell us the full story of what we’re capable of. In theory, all action is a reaction to what our mind tells us to do. Knowing our mind is controlling every decision we make, our actions start as a thought and build in momentum until so pronounced we have no option but to act. This is where our imagination can be massively influential and requires the utmost respect and diligence.

Spending time seeking what intrigues us is something we must all do throughout our lifetime. We might not end up where we originally set out to land but we will learn much about ourselves along the way. Utilizing our imagination will help us on this path. Our ability to visualize things before they’re in existence is a powerful asset to be explored. Not everyone has the same vivid imagination but like any other activity, we can improve with practice.

The line drawn between imagination and fantasy is attitudinally and directionally based. Imagination faces inward as we seek ideas and emotions from within to create a full life. Fantasy points outward, looking for unrealistic scenarios to produce personal satisfaction that may never exist (low probability). In either case, negative conclusions could be formed around those who focus their attention on things without concrete backing. Describing someone as being ‘just a dreamer’ affirms this negative connotation. However, to ‘dream big’ is revered as a notion of limitless possibilities. Ultimately, dreams are what we make of them and are often intriguing, until they’re not, at which point we call them ‘nightmares’. This is the point, there is no wrong way to dream, just be cautious to avoid the nightmares.

This rule of caution applies throughout life but especially in the world of fantasy and temptation. If challenged to seek the intriguing, that which temps us and creates a vision of fantasy certainly heightens these senses. We should not wall ourselves off from these thoughts but rather manage ourselves and our expectations within them. Learning more about who we are and the things that motivate us can be healthy. This is not to say we should ever do so in a detrimental manner but that’s where better judgment and self-control come into play. Today’s discussion is about breaking outside the norm to find new points of interest and positive paths forward. Be honest with yourself to know if you’re responsible enough to handle this concept and demonstrate adequate maturity in its application.

Seeking new and exciting aspects of life can serve as a form of sustainability when managed responsibly. As humans, we’re repetitive in nature but also exploratory. To find true happiness for a moment will not suffice. Happiness proves to be a fleeting emotion, so what we actually seek to find is ‘true sustainable happiness’, but perhaps that phrase isn't catchy enough to make its way into rom-coms

Whatever the sources of our enjoyment, we must recognize the science behind why they exist and work to guide our best judgements. Its important to note that this emotional sense of approval doesn't dictate our belief of what we deem acceptable action. Once feeling satisfied with our thoughts and ideas we must stay vigilant to decide what we want to accomplish before accepting the dopamine rush. Otherwise, there is always a chance for complacency to sneak its way into our mind disguised as happiness. Fortunately, as we stick to our goals and hold ourselves accountable, we will inevitably reach a new sense of reward through achieving results. Accomplishments trigger our brain to award us a whole new feel-good chemical called serotonin.

Just as we balance activities and tasks throughout our calendar, our brain is consistently finding the right blend of chemicals to spark inspiration and motivate our actions. Serotonin is the finishing drug; we receive it upon accomplishing our mission and provides a strong positive emotion for a job well done. When considering how this all ties together, we can reverse engineer the process to recognize how creative thinking paired with efficient action can produce a potent response of approval in our brain activity. The combination of dopamine to kick things off and serotonin to finish strong is exactly the way we should be thinking about our goals. Start on a high note and don’t stop until we cross the finish line.

Leveling our expectations to understand the rewards (highs) are not guaranteed, we should expect some lows but be prepared to battle through them when presented. As ideas originate, we will be more apt to explore them as we think through the process and identify potential risks (lows). Whether originating from our imagination, a fantasy, or even temptations, there is value in our ideas and when managed appropriately can reveal great aspirations.

The things we aspire to become or create are never found on the surface. We must dig deep and be willing to navigate potential adversities associated. The more we practice this process, the more efficient and confident we will become. Before taking all the credit, remember your brain is behind these well-orchestrated plans and responsible for feeding the emotional reinforcements we all crave. Manage this emotion the best you can by being hyper-present in the moments that require perseverance. Dare to disrupt typical ways of thinking and hold your emotions accountable to find a consistent source of motivation. This practice can redefine goals and lead to new paths which some may only be capable of categorizing as a fantasy. Who knows, you might even surprise yourself. Are you ready to discover the power of your mindset?

bottom of page