A Little Less Comfort

If you can train yourself to accept even 10% less than the best version of anything, it’s like a superpower.

The modern world offers you many conveniences, luxuries, and pleasures. In general, I think that’s a good thing! Our society marches forward and we work hard to meet our own needs as well as those of our neighbors. In doing so, we create an ever more pleasant world. I certainly don’t oppose that, but I do think that on the individual level there can sometimes be benefits to taking a little less than full advantage of it.

You see, in order to maximize the benefits that society gives you, you generally also have to maximize your conformity to that society. Without any one person or small group of people needing to dictate it, society nonetheless trends towards very specific behaviors that it encourages or discourages – strongly.

But if you’re okay with a little less than the full buffet, you in turn provide yourself with significantly more freedom and choice. You don’t have to “unplug” and completely separate yourself from modern society (though more power to you if you do) in order to maintain your freedom. You can just be okay with used (but still very nice!) cars, or a restaurant that isn’t the most exclusive one around (but still makes a great steak), or a slightly less convenient shopping experience (that still gives you riches that kings of the past couldn’t dream of owning).

You can live an absolutely wonderful life if it’s 10% worse than the “best” life imaginable for your time period, and probably expend 80% fewer resources and experience 80% less stress. Just be okay with being slightly less than comfortable every second of every day, and other people lose almost all of their ability to control you.

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