Friday, 10 April 2015

The marketing and fun of quitting smoking

Yip, once again I quit smoking. I'm in day 12 and in a permanent state of being amused. 

(Edited at day 26 and day 40 and still quite amused).

Amused?  Am I not supposed to be a walking bomb in a bad mood? 

Surprisingly enough: no.  For the very first time in 30 years quitting seems to be rather easy. And my 'office' is in a cafĂ© style, not even coming with a smoke ban!

Let me paraphrase a quote of Henry Ford: "Whether you think something will be difficult or easy - in both cases you are right". 

Things depend on how you market them to yourself.

We are all salesmen, having to find the right argument to our own brain 

That one argument or attitude that works for us. I seem to have found mine: 'Gosh, this is easy'. 

Normally attempts to quit smoking mean going through a minefield, weeks of exhausting plowing from one craving to the other, hoping that you'll soon make it to that Promised Land on the other side. 

There are hundreds of such moments of cravings, so during previous attempts I used to stock quite a lot of arguments to battle them all. That was obviously the problem. I can't even recall how many times I bought 'that book' again, that book that every smoker I know has bought at least once and that we all find so useful (with that one exception that it didn't make us stop stopping).

This time I didn't prepare a single argument 

No calculations as to how much money I would save, I didn't ask anyone for support, didn't think of 'replacements', there are no motivational articles or books in sights, no scribbles with the never ending advantages of not smoking… I just quit.

Arguably this is precisely the reason why it's so easy this time around: I do not send a single signal to my brain telling the opposite. Nothing in me seems to see it as 'a struggle': I told myself it was going to be easy and fun, ergo: it is

That could explain why some people who stopped smoking can be so spookily casual about it, as though it was no big deal. It wasn't a big deal for them, for they didn't see it as a big deal at the time. They didn't have superior willpower, but they just found a helpful point of view.  

Whereas if you prepare - The Right Time, The Arguments, The Replacements, The Self-Help Book, The Support - you might as well tell your brain: "OMG, we're going to cross the Sahara!" 

Edit: quitting smoking is not the problem

The weight gain is.

I'm one month further and love the human brain: it can only be obsessed about one issue at a time. I'm so busy with healthy food and jogging that the whole smoke stop seems to have taken a backseat. 

If I think about it, it's for 5 seconds and then my mind jumps to the 'real' problem again. After all, smoking doesn't have a single advantage, any advantage our mind comes up with is a fantasy or one of those childish tricks of addiction, so we don't have to exhaust ourselves in taking that decision again every 5 minutes - it's literally a no-brainer. All we need to do is to not smoke and further not waste a single thought on it.  

That doesn't mean it's a piece of cake

I lit up over a hundred thousand cigarettes in my life, hell, it's part of my branding!

So it's only natural that our lungs, hands and brains can be at a loss.

Everything in my body seems to be asking: Eh, hello there, what's going on?? 

It makes me laugh. Something that nags so much should not be part of my life in the first place. 

There are suspiciously many that talk of how difficult it is, making me wonder just how many people give up before even trying. Or meticulously plan it 3 months in advance, as though it's not something we can do right now, or have a little try-out this afternoon, or whenever we want to.

Not to mention all those articles saying that You Need Replacements, or that talk of 'Power Of Will' as though it's an invincible force of nature, not just one of the many little traits we all share. 

You don't need Willpower with a capital W, only your sense of humour. 

Being human means having all solutions in you: you're a superb tool that has been fine-tuned over the course of hundreds of thousands of difficult years. Don't let yourself be fooled into thinking something is not within your reach, or only with the help of aides. 

At one point or the other, you too might sit somewhere and then suddenly think: "hey...", put out your cigarette and laugh a month about the funny but useless tricks of your body and mind: it's all just readjusting and you could see that as the most important Spa you've ever treated yourself to.


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