Limit your choices

What skills to learn, what tools to get
Peanut
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Re: Limit your choices

Post by Peanut » Thu Dec 13, 2018 2:11 pm

@luxagraf: And it’s not an option in Mexico to return something that you bought right? (Not that you’d do that with food, or course.) A Mexican friend of ours once rather sardonically identified the best thing about America as being the fact that you can return things so easily here. Nobody hassles you about it. Online offers free return shipping, etc.

The probable effect is people then buy and consume more because they know they do not really have to commit to it in moment, but only to give into the impulse. And when the thing is found to be unsuitable they don’t get around to returning it anyway. Brilliant corporate strategy on both ends.

luxagraf
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Re: Limit your choices

Post by luxagraf » Thu Dec 13, 2018 7:07 pm

Peanut wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 2:11 pm
@luxagraf: And it’s not an option in Mexico to return something that you bought right?
I've only returned one thing, it was from a pharmacy and it was no problem. I haven't heard anyone talk about it being hard to return stuff, but I could see that, receipts are rare. The thing I returned was about 5 minutes after I bought it so the guy behind the counter knew who I was.

BRUTE
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Re: Limit your choices

Post by BRUTE » Thu Dec 13, 2018 10:31 pm

wolf wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 10:42 am
and do those artificial restrictions on brute's freedoms (aka discipline) lead to more freedom eventually?
more freedom in other areas. total sum of freedom hard to measure, but brute continues doing this, so he must perceive some value?

J_
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Re: Limit your choices

Post by J_ » Fri Dec 14, 2018 3:15 am

I like jennypennys suggestion too. Limiting my choises through my commitments. Eg. When I enter a warehouse with zillion products I smile and think: how glad that I know precisly what I want: only some (fresh) vegetable food. I only check by canned food if there are additions which would hamper health. All the rest is of no interest to me.
As today in Hawaii in a Target shop looking for a piece of soap. Three lanes of liquid soaps, and only at the very bottom of one of them I found a piece of soap. So glad that I could neglect all other things.

In the same way I choose clothing and other things, by my wish for simplicity, durability, thirty days rule. But not so rigourous as done by Brute, although I like his clear examples..

BRUTE
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Re: Limit your choices

Post by BRUTE » Fri Dec 14, 2018 9:37 pm

the thing is that brute doesn't find this rigorous. he likes the idea of "Discipline equals Freedom", but discipline is probably not the right word. brute doesn't believe in willpower, and discipline can evoke that idea. brute is unsure if "commitment" is the right word either, as brute HATES commitment and avoids it at all costs.

it feels a bit like the old zen master joke:

- Why become a Master?
- Because it's easier.

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Lemur
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Re: Limit your choices

Post by Lemur » Fri Dec 14, 2018 10:08 pm

BRUTE wrote:
Fri Dec 14, 2018 9:37 pm
the thing is that brute doesn't find this rigorous. he likes the idea of "Discipline equals Freedom", but discipline is probably not the right word. brute doesn't believe in willpower, and discipline can evoke that idea. brute is unsure if "commitment" is the right word either, as brute HATES commitment and avoids it at all costs.

it feels a bit like the old zen master joke:

- Why become a Master?
- Because it's easier.
It seems contradictory but my feelings are the same. I've always seen discipline and conscientiousness as the true path to freedom...having a focus and a psychological state of "flow" in work, writing, exercising, etc., to the point of your daily life is a way to feel freedom. Without these, my mind is bored. Willpower in itself is very fleeting. Sort of like a crash after a caffeine high. Feels great in the short-term and "motivating" but falls flat in the long-term. I dont' like "commitment" either because that just sounds like you're setting yourself up for disappointment. I like not having an strong end-goal; more like evolving goals. I finished my Master's Degree (a 2 year commitment) and got bored and slightly depressed when it was over which was ironic because I thought I would be so happy when it was done...which I was; I just returned to baseline super quickly.

daylen
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Re: Limit your choices

Post by daylen » Fri Dec 14, 2018 10:45 pm

Interoceptive information can alter behavior more subtly than in the pain/aggression link. One example concerns how much the frontal cortex has to do with willpower, harking back to material covered in the last chapter. Various studies, predominantly by Toy Baumeister of Florida State University, show that when the frontal cortex labors hard on some cognitive task, immediately afterward individuals are more aggressive and less empathic, charitable, and honest. Metaphorically, the frontal cortex says, "Screw it. I'm tired and don't feel like thinking about my fellow human.

This seems related to the metabolic costs of the frontal cortex doing the harder thing. During frontally demanding tasks, blood glucose levels drop, and frontal function improves if subjects are given a sugary drink (with control subjects consuming a drink with a nonnutritive sugar substitute). Moreover, when people are hungry, they become less charitable and more aggressive (e.g., choosing more severe punishment for an opponent in a game). There's debate as to whether the decline in frontal regulation in these circumstances represents impaired capacity for self-control or impaired motivation for it. But either way, over the course of seconds to minutes, the amount of energy reaching the brain and the amount of energy the frontal cortex needs have something to do with whether the harder, more correct thing happens.
Here is a relevant passage from Behave by Robert Sapolsky on willpower. Seems to me that willpower is referring to the initial effort that is required to focus on something long enough for it to become less conscious and effortless. We are constantly being bombarded by request from the more primal brain structures to satisfy our basic physiological requirements (drink, eat, sleep, socialize). When we want to do something that does not fit easily in those categories we come up with reasons(*). Willpower could be thought of as the process by which reasons force us into action. This process increases the connectivity between the frontal cortex and the motor cortex. After the action is repeated enough, then the action becomes a habit and the reasons become unnecessary. So, as a human becomes more habitual they may loose an awareness of the assumptions they structure their life with.

(*) Like this will pay off in X years.. or will be homeless if I don't.. or because my dad will hate me.. and so forth.

EDIT: Or instead of willpower being the process, it could be the potential an individual has to engage in that process.

oldbeyond
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Re: Limit your choices

Post by oldbeyond » Sat Dec 15, 2018 5:56 am

I've sort of found "good enough" options for clothing that I look for when something needs replacing, so I pretty much don't spend time shopping anymore. I buy quality when possible(lasting 10+ years), but some things like underwear/socks/t-shirts/pants seem to wear out < 3 years, and when they do I have a standard replacement.

For groceries, I always get the store brand, and I choose the organic store brand version for stuff that's grown in the tropics/mediterranean. And then there's a handful of stuff where I really prefer a brand(like Heinz ketchup) and always get that. We do online shopping were you get a list of "your most bought items". My routine is to start with the list of the weeks special offers, so if some other brand is on sale I get that instead. I then add what I need from "most bought". I do a search now and then to see if any new products have been added that are cheaper. This seems pretty Pareto efficient and removes a lot of the mental fatigue caused by grocery shopping.

Movies are filtered by IMDB score >7.0 if I don't get a personal recommendation. TV-shows >8.5

I know that the most effective ways I can improve my health is to sleep 7-8 hours, do my 2-3 workouts a week, keep stress down and avoid universally accepted crap food(soda, cookies, crisps, candy etc). So unless I manage all those I don't allow myself to fret about marginal issues.

fiby41
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Re: Limit your choices

Post by fiby41 » Sat Dec 15, 2018 6:24 am

We've discussed enough of the whys but I'd appreciate more hows as in how to go about limiting choices.

It is trickier with people as people hold grudges when you treat them like an option, choice. Being introverted, it can be difficult communicating and for people to understand that it's not that I don't like talking to them, but given the choice I prefer talking to noone than to them.

Only method I have found useful so far is putting the bare minimum required to keep the friendship going... Stretching it out across time so when you need them you could up the intensity. Exit strategy is to still give them enough leeway to commit one offense you can use as an excuse later if you need to get rid of them.

jennypenny
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Re: Limit your choices

Post by jennypenny » Sat Dec 15, 2018 9:14 am

fiby41 wrote:
Sat Dec 15, 2018 6:24 am
We've discussed enough of the whys but I'd appreciate more hows as in how to go about limiting choices.
Be mindful of things like anchoring. The first option you look at will color your opinion of any subsequent options. I think internalizing ERE to the point where the first option you consider is always the 'ERE' option is an underrated aspect of consistently living an ERE lifestyle. If your anchor is always ERE-friendly, you're less likely to choose something outside of normal ERE boundaries unless the reasons are compelling.

Another strategy is to limit how far out into the future you look. I know that's anathema to ERE but I believe trying to over-plan can also lock us into perpetually looking for the optimal choice. I think this was discussed a little in the BIFL thread when people argued against the BIFL idea. Look for options that serve your purpose right now _and_ are easy to swap out for a different option when your situation changes. That should help to limit choices by limiting the parameters.

When it comes to the big choices, you have to learn to lower your standards. I don't mean that to sound negative. What I mean is more ... you choose a place to live because it's the best choice at the time, but as time passes it's not the best place anymore. Instead of moving, ask yourself if it's still workable. If it is, why make another choice? There's a cost to that. I'd argue that as long as something is workable it's worth holding on to until reasons to change become compelling. While big changes are common when adopting an ERE lifestyle, they don't need to be made quickly or frequently.

^^This is true regardless of the choice. There's so much to be gained from sticking with something longer than is comfortable (a topic for a different thread).

On the flip side of that, making decisions and following through with them will hone your decision-making skills. That doesn't mean changing jobs every six months, but consciously practicing your decision-making on lesser things that normally wouldn't require that much effort. (example ... when you're shopping for a coat or work boots or something, use that as an opportunity to develop good skills regarding choices)


I also think people need to learn to trust themselves and their choices. When people find themselves dissatisfied with a choice they've made, they need to examine why that is. Is it that [insert whatever] isn't appropriate for them anymore, or is there something going on inside themselves that's making them feel dissatisfied? It might be easier/more advisable to adjust your own thinking to be happy with your choice again than change your situation. In that respect, limiting your choices lowers the opportunity to feel (unnecessarily?) dissatisfied with something. (IMO, comparison should be kept in pandora's box and only taken out when necessary.)

J_
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Re: Limit your choices

Post by J_ » Sat Dec 15, 2018 3:43 pm

Thank you for elaborating jennypenny. I would add: keep always space in your mind for unexpected possibillities, serenepidity. My stay now in Hawaii for 5 weeks was such a thing.

BRUTE
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Re: Limit your choices

Post by BRUTE » Sat Dec 15, 2018 4:20 pm

anchoring is a great point, or maybe even just knowing options. this is what brute loves about travel and living in different places/cultures.

simply knowing how it could be done by having seen and lived it leads to very different perspectives on what brute "values" and "needs". there are countries where practically nobody has a bed, the whole family eats dinner together off the floor, then rolls out mats on said floor and sleeps there in giant human heaps.

these humans are fine and healthier than most western humans. they are happy.

having lived in a place without paved roads gave brute a very different perspective on just-in-time grocery shopping. it's raining? not only would brute get wet, he couldn't physically make it through the mud to the store without ruining a pair of shoes. cars cannot drive in the mud unless they are 4x4 trucks, which nobody there owns. thus, when it rains, the house is a prison.

still, humans live there and are happy.

having fasted for 10 days, brute knows nothing terrible is going to happen if he ever runs out of food for a day or two.

another interesting observation: most places/cultures are "the best" at only very few things, and grossly inferior (compared to everything else) in the rest. this increases as brute has learned about more places/cultures.

in a sense, this sounds bad: no matter where/how brute chooses to live, most things are not at their best. yet it also has led brute to a somewhat calm, zen feeling about his place in life (both physical and mental). because no matter where brute ends up and what choices he makes, the alternatives would have been fine in their own way, and many humans make them every day and are happy.

brute's choices are half chance. so are every human's.

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