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I wonder if it took 30+ years because your young adult brain was geared toward perceiving 'carrots and sticks'.

How would a young adult go about breaking this perception?

I don't know, and I'm not sure it's a good idea. I think it's a feature, not a bug, though it has very clear downsides, which you can take steps to ameliorate. Talking of steps:

Walking and talking are pretty ancient ways of taking stock and finding new perspectives. Talk to people outside your usual age range and social class. Get out into nature. These things usually help in ways I can't explain very well, but I find them vital to sustainably integrating who I am in here with where I am in the world. In my experience, major health crises of the mental kind tend to be down to this.

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