You Default To The Easiest Path, Not The Most Enjoyable One

You Default To The Easiest Path, Not The Most Enjoyable One

In the absence of self-motivation, an inspiring deadline, your brain will choose its default path. You might think that path leads to the most self-indulgent, pleasurable choice, but it really only leads to the easiest one.

Photo by Nafis Ahmad.

As advice site Barking Up the Wrong Tree explains, the default state you reach when, for example, you hit decision fatigue is to take the easiest path possible. Instead of cleaning the kitchen, you watch TV. Instead of working on a project, you play video games. Since those sounds like fun things, you might assume that the easy path is at least fun. However, if you think back to the most fun, enjoyable times in your life, those probably weren’t that easy either:

Yes, it sounds stupidly simple but don’t gloss over it, internet skimmer. Research shows that often you don’t actually do what you enjoy the most — you do what is easiest. You might love going to the beach, but TV is quicker. If you want The Pleasant Life, make more time for the things that give you the most pleasure.

And for Pete’s sake, schedule pleasurable things. If awful stuff like dental appointments get a spot on your calendar, so should awesome things. (I enjoy seeing my friends. So I don’t “see’em when I see’em” I have lunch with them every Friday at 1PM, like clockwork. And “Burger Night” is every Monday at 5PM. Dinner with Jason and Lisa is every Sunday night. Nick and I go for a walk and discuss interesting things every Tuesday night. I’m sure you’re fascinated by my social schedule, but the point is, with a little planning, you can make fun the default.)

Video games and TV might be a little fun, but spending time with your friends and family or going on vacation takes work. Those are things that need to be scheduled, planned, prepared for, and they require motivation almost as much as any work. That doesn’t mean you can never do the easy things, but if you want to increase how much you enjoy your life, it’s going to take work just as much as anything else will.

This Is How To Have A Happy Life: 4 Proven Secrets From Research [Barking Up the Wrong Tree]

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