Convenience and Hard Work

First thing this morning I tweeted “Today I will perform 12 acts of heroism ala Hercules. Only I’ll do it in a more modern and convenient way. #ModernQuests” I followed up that pronouncement with several feats.
First feat: de-ice my car and drive to staples to fetch a printer cartridge so that @howardtayler can print Schlock
Feat of strength: admitting that I need to find a clerk to help me lift the box of printer paper.
Feat of Wisdom: Stepping away from the internet to work on layout via shuffling pieces of paper around on a table.

When I began the listing, it was mostly a way to psyche myself into going outdoors in the cold. Then I enjoyed the humorous contrast between epic heroism and the simple things I was doing with my day. My amusement petered out and I stopped posting because I was getting actual work done. However I did find myself pondering modern societies’ fixation on convenience. We’d all be heroes if it was convenient. The surest way to adjust crowd behavior is to make the behaviors you want convenient and to make undesirable behaviors inconvenient. I see used to see this all the time on my college campus. Students made paths right across lawns despite all the signs. The only way the grounds keeper could prevent it was by planting bushes to adjust traffic.

I wonder what effects the predominant convenience culture has on our psychologies. What effect does it have on me. How often do I make poor food choices based on convenience rather than nutrition. Logically I know that hard work is the way to get the things I want, and yet I still find myself paddling around in pools of convenience. I guess I just have to do as the grounds keeper did and try to adjust my lift to encourage the behaviors I want.

4 thoughts on “Convenience and Hard Work”

  1. I’m not sure it’s a fixation on convenience so much as a by product of the time, urgency, and priorities of the modern worldview. Or would that be better phrased as the Urban worldview? Somehow we feel compelled to pack our allotted time so tightly that the opportunity cost of every activity skyrockets.

    I did walk on the sidewalks at college, but I did so mentally deriding designers so fixed on aesthetics that they couldn’t put the pavement in the optimal travel locations. Functionality done right can be beautiful. It’s lack mars any long term appreciation of something pretty.

    1. The cost of time definitely plays into it. I know there are times when I deliberately choose convenience because of time constraints. Yet if the convenience were not so readily available I’d still find ways to solve my problems. Chicken and egg I guess.

  2. I remember one new college campus that waited a year before laying the sidewalks and used the paths the students had worn into the lawns as they were the optimal routes.

Comments are closed.