Intrinsic motivation and ‘doing well’ is sometimes caused by necessity. In other words, you end up doing the ‘right’ action because it’s the only one left on the table. It’s the lowest common denominator activity, and you can’t help but be good. The trick comes, then, in making the laziest option into the best option.
This past weekend, there was a hard snow here in Atlanta. unlike the northerners, we are not equipped to salt and scrape the roads, so any ice that sticks is fairly well stuck until thawed. We were blessed with a sloped driveway which gets no direct sunlight, meaning that we’re pretty well stuck.
The car has been safely parked in the driveway for the past four days, unable to move because of the ice. We’re trapped here, but there are some great things which have come from the loss of freedom. Aside from necessary bills, my mate and I haven’t spent a dime and we’ve eaten every meal here at home.
Essentially, we are doing all of the things that are nearly impossible to do under different circumstances. it usually takes a lot of willpower and fortitude to ignore the other choices, but when the best option is the only option, the road becomes much clearer.
Let me provide another example
Last week, my mate and I went to Gafilk, an awesome convention for singers within the science fiction community. We stayed at the Crown Plaza Atlanta Airport, a better than average hotel with better than average service. The staff there, most importantly Fernando (the hospitality manager) and Collette (one of the servers) made it incredibly easy to stay at the hotel and eat in the restaurant.
As you know, hotels have mastered the art of getting money from their captive audience. Prices are just a little bit more within the hotel environment and they receive that little bit extra because people understand that they are supposed to be charged that extra. There were several restaurants within the area, but it was easier to spend the money at the hotel than to venture into the cold.
These are two different circumstances, though certain variables are the same. There is just as much money in the house – it’s not a matter of affording the amenities. This is a matter of convenience, truly. We went, in each instance, to the lowest common denominator activity. In the first case, we went to making stuff at home and not spending money. In the second, we were spending more for the same amount of stuff because of the convenience factor.
There is really no limit to the amount of times that you’re told to purchase something during the course of the day. There are advertisements on nearly every single web page that you will view. Through these temptations, there are some advertisements which will be more appealing than others, but the general view is that you’re going to be forced to resist something all the time.
Limit your choices to the lowest common denominator, to the easiest activity. If you are concerned about money, then you want to leave yourself only so much money with which to work. If you are concerned about food choices, make sure that the easiest, most convenient thing is also the most healthy and desired thing that you want – and it’s easier to retrieve than everything else.
A lot of people are lazy. This does not mean that everyone’s lazy, but we are more prone to pick the easiest choice most of the time, saving the hard choices for a future date. Limit your personal options to where the best choice is the easiest one, and you will go far.