Monday, February 25, 2013

Make it difficult to do the wrong thing.

The other day my kids were watching my wife's cousin give a techie talk on YouTube or some other webcasty type of thing. I wasn't paying much attention to his talk but I overhead him comment that a goal of his "stuff" was to make it difficult for users to do the wrong thing. That short sound bite got me thinking.

Deep down and somewhat in real life I am a techie. My family keeps forgetting that I actually knew (note the tense) some things and I often have to remind the folks that work for me that I used to be smart. Normally this results in an eye roll or even a laugh/snort but I've given talks like his talk in the dark ages before every talk's video was immortalized via digital archiving. It is frightening that I would have to pay to get copies of some of the technical articles I wrote back in the day (assuming I would want them) but at least the patents that I've gotten more recently are still freely searchable. Why do I write all this? Perhaps I think my thinking about sound bites could be profound. Yup, that was an eye roll. I realized that I didn't want to write about this in terms of technology since that could cause me to go down a path of regularly writing about technology. That would have more detriments than benefits so I'll put this into an endurance sports slant.

Back on topic: the statement "make it difficult to do the wrong thing." I thought if the corollary "make it easy to to do the right thing" was valid or perhaps even more impactful of a thought. I realized that idea was valid but wasn't more impactful. Then I thought if it was hard to do the right thing and/or easy to do the wrong thing, what would happen. That, I thought, was the cause of many endurance training failures. The right thing to do seemed too damned hard. Perhaps not physically. Perhaps mentally. Perhaps with life balance. Perhaps with everything else that goes on in ones life. Some times the right thing to do does seem hard. But is it?

Compare it against the wrong thing to do. Is it harder to do or not do a workout? Scheduling the right thing and the wrong thing takes the same effort.  The choices one makes while scheduling (the workout or something else) might be though. If you are doing the workout, you can do it right or you can do it wrong. I often try to make mental excuses as to why I can't do something then all of a sudden, I've done it.

Where am I going with this? The more I think about it the more I realize that if I make it difficult to do the wrong thing I will be more successful at what I'm doing.

Success, my friends, is the right thing.

Defining success is a topic for another day.


Kate Geisen said...

This is an interesting idea. I never really thought about it like this. One thing I used to do to make it easier to do the right thing/harder to do the wrong thing was to sleep in my running clothes. One less thing to do when I got up to run before work, and boy would I feel stupid taking off running clothes without having run.

TriMOEngr said...

I think I'm too tired tonight and brain-fried from a busy day of work that I can't quite follow this. Will revisit when I am feeling more focused.

Big Daddy Diesel said...

You are making me think really early in the morning!!

Kepa Wong said...

I find that as I get older I have create simple routines or habits that allow me to do the "right thing" without thinking. Hmm... I guess that's called training. Ok, I'm exhausted now. Too much thinking.

MILF Runner said...

When you can take the pebble from my hand...