We live with an unquenchable thirst for efficiency, a few clicks buys a plane ticket to the other side of the planet, gourmet food at our doorstep —and a hot date without interacting with anyone.

Welcome to the uber-efficient life that desires to streamline, optimize and hack your every waking hour.

And while there is no doubt parts of efficiency culture come with an array of benefits —I find myself asking:

How far can we take this —and is it making our lives better?

When I say better —I mean richer, more meaningful, and purposeful.

(Which is the entire mission of this blog.)

And the answer is clear:

In the pursuit of ease, we lose meaning.
In the pursuit of options, we lose freedom.
In the pursuit of happiness, we lose fulfillment.

Let’s dive into these and why they matter in today’s efficiency culture.

In the pursuit of ease, we lose meaning.

An easy life does not create a meaningful life.

We all have an inner drive to overcome adversity and grapple with challenge.

Stripped of this, we become comfortably numb —sure, we have everything we could need at our fingertips, but we’re unequipped and we know it.

Instead, square off with life and seek the challenge to tap into what it means to be alive.

In the pursuit of options, we lose freedom.

We think we all want more options —an endless buffet of choices to meet our insatiable demands.

And yet, with too many options, we become disengaged and disillusioned.

Sure, we want a couple options but if you’re anything like me —sitting down to pick a film to watch, or what music to listen to actually creates less freedom, not more.

Oddly enough, when we make a decision —now we have real freedom to experience what’s happening in front of us.

In the pursuit of happiness, we lose fulfillment.

People who obsess over being happy and are always analyzing their state of happiness are actually less happy and more neurotic.

Crazy, isn’t it? Happiness is elusive —the more we think about it, the more it tends to escape us.

When we’re engaged with our lives and don’t think about how happy we are, we tend to be much more fulfilled.

Scott Barry Kaufman, a PhD in psychology, expands on this concept:

The actualizing person is busy with the concerns to which he has chosen to commit his living and seldom stops to assess his happiness. It seems only the neurotic and the unhappy that expend their concern explicitly and directly on their happiness.

In other words by engaging with our lives and living in purpose and priorities —we tend to be much more fulfilled.

So, what’s the solution here?

We know technology isn’t going anywhere —and only going to accelerate exponentially.

Consider this an invitation to allow some inefficiencies back in your life:

Take a walk instead of driving.
Go for a drive without the phone.
Disconnect and engage the world.
Play vinyl records instead of Spotify.
Write longhand instead of digitally.
Buy some crafts and Make Good Art.
Write a long-hand letter to someone.
Take time to craft your own meals.
Speak to strangers without a phone.
Pour over a long book instead of TV.

My case against efficiency culture is that by doing these activities —you will feel more present, engaged and connected.

You will allow space for improvisation, random encounters with the unknown.

Anna Wiener, who wrote a brilliant memoir on her experience inside Silicon Valley —details her experience rebelling against efficiency culture:

But these banal inefficiencies—I thought they were luxuries, the mark of the unencumbered. Time to do nothing, to let my mind run anywhere, to be in the world. At the very least, they made me feel human.

I know this won’t be a popular post in an optimized world.

But ever since I started to embrace the inefficient life —my soul has felt “optimized” in a way none of the hacks could do.

And we need that more now than ever.

What is one inefficient activity you love doing?

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