Is Convenience Always a Good Thing?

“Somewhere along the line we seem to have confused comfort with happiness. “― Dean Karnazes, Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner

We always seem to rush towards convenience, efficiency, and comfort. We like apps and devices that are more convenient to use. We like squishy, comfy sofas for watching movies. We like food that gives us a quick burst of energy and can be eaten anytime, anywhere.

But maybe we should ask ourselves “What do I need to be convenient?” Some things make us healthy, happy and productive when made more convenient. On the other hand other things make us sick, anxious, and lazy. For example, when healthy food is accessible in one’s house, you are more likely to eat it. But if highly processed, sugar laden foods are accessible we are more likely to eat this sort of junk food.

So we want to make health, happiness, and productivity more convenient, while making compulsive, unhealthier habits less convenient.

Do more of the following really make us more happy, healthy, and productive?
-Social media, email, and other distractions (I am not anti social media but constantly being distracted by notifications is not a healthy, happy, or productive way to live)
-Eating cheap, nutrient poor, processed food
-Passive input activities: web browsing, Netflix binge watching, and following a link to another link to another link…until an hour of life has passed and can never be reclaimed.

An important caveat, I am not suggesting that things like Netflix and potato chips are terrible! It’s just that they are very easy to use in excess and we tend to do so when they are more convenient. On the other hand there are things which take a bit more effort than unwrapping a package or opening an app. We don’t tend to do them naturally and will avoid them when possible.

So we should focus on making the following more convenient:
-Eating quality, natural whole foods (especially vegetables-almost nobody, including myself, eats enough of these)
-Intimate conversations with friends and family
-Reading time tested books like “Letters from a Stoic”
-Creative output: writing, painting, music, dance, etc.
-Physical activity and exertion (only 20% of the U.S. population meets the recommended amount of weekly physical activity )

Convenience, efficiency, and comfort are nice, but make sure they are applied to the right things.