The Paradox of Effort - Deepstash

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The Paradox of Effort

We usually believe that effort will be draining and that it's better to save our energy for when we really need it. Yet, more often than not, the opposite is the case: when we really use our full effort for something that truly matters to us, we feel more energized, not less.

The paradox is that life is often easiest when it is hardest. When you’re working on a pursuit that may fail if you don’t take it seriously, you find the energy to take it seriously. And you find the other troublesome things in life that needed effort weren’t so hard either.

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MORE IDEAS FROM THE SAME ARTICLE

Most of the thing we do that are related to self-improvement have an activation cost - it’s harder to exercise regularly, read books and work on yourself than to binge watch TV series all day. But, once you’re already doing those things, it’s easier to keep doing them.

The thing i...

The difficulty of the new challenge makes us take things seriously. With powerful time constraints, procrastinating is out of the question.

Taking studying seriously pushes you to do better than you might have, absent those constraints, for example.

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Motivation is just a kind of system.

If you can understand the system, you can change it and use it to gain a better outcome.

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Effort as Energy Expenditure

Effort represents an investment of a fixed resource, like calories.

For this reason, running takes more effort than sitting. It takes more calories and strains muscles and joints. If you run non-stop, you will need to eat more to stay alive, and you will wear your muscles out.

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Theories of motivation

  • Rational motivation, which reflects our preferences. We're motivated by the opportunities we can notice.
  • Biased motivation. We often ignore obvious ways to better our lives because we're short-sighted and lazy. We may be better off boosting our mot...

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