The Human Operating Manual

Part II: Our Tools

Techniques to improve resilience, intelligence, and quality of life.

The human body is an incredibly resilient and adaptive biological wonder. In saying that,  our bodies still require regular maintenance and the occasional software update, not too dissimilar to a computer. They both tend to give us warning signals while we’re busy, prompting us to update our software or attend to a hardware issue before something goes terribly wrong. Rather than heed to the blatant warnings, we dismiss them with a “Remind me later” option. However, instead of automatically updating your body while you are AFK, it goes into energy saver mode and removes anything that it believes isn’t being used for survival. Without realizing it, your muscles begin to atrophy, your memory begins to fade, and time appears to fly by. 

Now, there is nothing wrong with being content with your current life. Expressing gratitude is an amazing practice for your mental health and wellbeing. Just be aware that if you aren’t progressing in life, you are regressing. The body is continuously trying to maintain order within a perpetually changing system using signals that you provide it from the outside world. If you don’t break your muscle fibers down by exercising, there is no reason for it to dedicate energy towards growing those muscle fibers. The same goes for the brain. If you don’t use algebra anymore, those neural pathways are going to undergo neurodegeneration. No matter how confident you used to be at bench pressing whilst solving quadratic equations.

Conversely, if you’re always stressed out and place too much importance on concepts that aren’t perceivable by the human reward system (like money), you’ll end up giving your body the impression that you are under constant threat but the body’s response isn’t suitable for abstract concepts with no biological representation. Resulting in greater stress and possible depression in order to conserve energy. 

Operating the body is an incredibly energetically expensive task. So it makes sense that the body would clean house if there is unnecessary clutter or extremely high demands. Luckily, there are a number of activities we can carry out to toughen the body up and to reduce unnecessary stress. Resulting in a body that has a higher overall capacity for stress and resources that can be redistributed to growth rather than conservation.

Scientifically proven activities that include the following:

While this is not an exhaustive list, they are all commonly accessible skills that we can all use to improve our daily lives and prepare us for potential threats. Just like the tasks listed in the Needs section, these activities provide numerous downstream positive effects that may appear unrelated. My advice would be to start on the easiest or most accessible tasks to you first. Grabbing low hanging fruit is a great way of inspiring confidence in one’s self and feeling rewarded during the early stages of learning.    

JayPT +