Somebody put a box of donuts in the coffee room at work this morning. When I walked in I saw them and I actually heard my mind say, “Oooh! Donuts!!” against my better judgment. I had no control over it whatsoever.
I have a thing about donuts. I cannot imagine a more delicious, desired food item that I should not have. There’s absolutely no redeeming value to donuts, but they are the item that my mind has fixated on as The Thing I Love Most.
They’re awful – grease and sugar and fat. They make me feel yucky when I eat them, they have absolutely no nutritional value whatsoever, and they almost never live up to my expectations, yet still my lizard brain wants them. And somebody had left a box of crappy grocery-store donuts in the break room this morning.
So, after I got past the initial “Ooh! Donuts!” which I cannot control from springing forth out of my subconscious when presented with unexpected donuts, I did a little systems check.
- Are they any special kind of donuts? No.
- Are they going to taste good? Probably no.
- Am I even hungry? No.
- Are they worth a setback on all the good work I’ve been doing this week? Hell no.
That was easy.
And yet, I still have to reason myself back from the “Ooh! Donuts!” moment almost every time. I’ve always loved donuts. When I was a child my father would bring home donuts every Saturday morning as a treat, it was a ritual for our family. He died when I was 7, and after he died it stopped, but my mind had imprinted donuts as something denoting happiness and special feelings of safety, security and belonging. I remember as a teenager riding my bike to the local donut shop and buying a whole dozen which I would eat all by myself, desperately hoping for a few moments of that fleeting happiness I was sure that just one more bite would bring. It never did. But I still have a donut complex. I can’t help but have a flash of that emotional desperation I knew as a youth when I see them. But I can stop myself and have a reasoned dialogue about why I so desperately want this thing, and whether it would be worth the trade-off. It almost never is.