To find out more about Garrett, stay tuned for Episode 010 of the Brave Monkeys Speak where he discusses massive habit and lifestyle changes that started with taking control of his health (and losing over 40 pounds in just a few months) - it's a good one.
We all live in a world that is overflowing with convenience. Essentially, our evolution as a species is a story of trying to make things easier. Let me first say, as a principle, making things easier is not a bad thing, especially for early humans. Lets face it, biologically we are slow, weak, and very easy to chew, and doubtless to things with big teeth we seemed like a goofy, pink buffet of deliciousness. This wasn’t an ideal state for our early ancestors, and so we decided to use our main biological advantage, our brains, to make this existence easier. And to a marvelous degree, we have succeeded at this. We spread all over the world, became the dominant species, and developed systems to feed ourselves more and more easily. All of that to say, I enjoy things that have been made easier, and I think all of you do too. Sadly, that’s not the problem. Just like many of our other evolutionary throwbacks, we have come to the point where we have no real reason to keep making things easier, but keep doing it. We are an evolutionary broken record, and that is what has made convenience a detriment to our happiness.
The goal of convenience in our lives, I have discovered, should be this- use modern convenience to facilitate, not replace. If you love good food, use all our fancy gadgets to cook delicious things. DO NOT use modern society to replace your role in the process by eating at restaurants every day. Even worse, fast food because it is, as the name suggests, faster. If you like to learn new things, use the internet as a tool for research (and it truly is an amazing one), read books, and honestly think about how to synthesize ideas to learn. DO NOT go to Wikipedia to be told exactly what someone else knows in simple terms, and decide you need to know nothing else. Removing yourself from the process simply because you can may be easier, and may leave you with more free time. Here is the crux of the issue I have found- so what? I suggest that before you take the short way in anything, or before you default to convenience, ask yourself ‘so what?’ The ‘so what?’ will tell you if you really did anything that mattered. Beyond this, I ask myself two more things. What did I do with the time I saved? And did I feel fulfilled, or better off, having gone the easy route?
-I saved 5 minutes by going to McDonalds! “So what?” Did that meal make you feel satisfied? Did you plop on the couch and watch TV with that extra time, or did you do something you love?
-I took the elevator and saved 30 seconds! “So what?” Did that easy route make any difference? Did you really feel better because of it?
-I used Wikipedia to write an essay for class, and it only took me an hour! “So what?” Did that make you feel fulfilled? Is your life, or education, better for it? What did you do with the time you saved?
At the end of the day, we are the creative, upright apes that began the process of making things convenient. Saving time for the things you love is great, but removing ourselves entirely from a process isn’t saving time, it is wasting it. Save time where you can, facilitate the things you enjoy, but when it comes time, make sure you spend that saved up time on something you really enjoy. On a recent podcast from Bulletproof Exec, guest Yuri Eltaim said about weight loss “It’s not about losing weight. It’s about who you become along the way.” I suggest to all you fellow Brave Monkeys that the rest of life is the same. Maybe cooking dinner or walking a flight of stairs won’t result in a life changing epiphany, but go out and try it for a week. Ask yourself “So what?” any time the easy way presents itself. I promise you, somewhere along the way, you will become someone a little more fulfilled, a little more complete, and a little different than you could have been.
If time is a currency, working toward a fulfilled life is the only way to spend it.