Habits and Diminishing Returns (Ep. 64)

Habits and Diminishing Returns (Ep. 64)Coffee used to be amazing.

The first time I discovered that I actually liked coffee – which happened after buying a Keurig machine for making chai lattes and mochas, and receiving a bunch of free coffee samples – something clicked in my brain. I loved it.

Soon, coffee became an everyday habit. My head would pop up from the pillow, and not five minutes later a K-cup was popping into the machine.

Eventually I learned that these machines are pretty bad for the environment and don’t really make that great of coffee in the first place, so I upgraded – first to a French press, then to my beloved AeroPress.

After so many months, however, something dawned on me. While I still craved coffee in the morning, the euphoric (don’t you dare tip a fedora at me for using that word) taste and rush I’d gotten in the past wasn’t there. Coffee became… background noise.

A fixture.

When I started reading Gretchen Rubin’s recently published book Better Than Before, a specific passage in the book pointed the reason out to me. Essentially, habits can deaden experiences. 

They also compress time, which is why people often remark that the years seem to fly by. People fall into routines and don’t have a lot of variety in their lives, and their brains compress the memories accordingly.

The deadening effect was what really interested me, though. I realized my coffee habit had become a deadened experience; the question was, what should I do about it? That’s the subject of today’s podcast. Maybe you’ll be able to apply my thoughts to any deadened habits you might have as well.

Things mentioned in this episode:

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Thomas Frank is the geek behind College Info Geek. After paying off $14K in student loans before graduating, landing jobs and internships, starting a successful business, and travelling the globe, he's now on a mission to help you build a remarkable college experience as well. Get the Newsletter | Twitter | Instagram

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Kayla

This is interesting, but seems pretty true. Things like taking my vitamins and medication I’m really glad I don’t have to think about because I never forget. I’ve never really liked coffee, but I am obsessed with Dunkin Donuts and other iced coffees/lattes, it’s a good thing I don’t live near one. We recently bought iced coffee to keep in the fridge and I drink 3 or so a week, I definitely don’t want to get addicted or drink it without thinking because then those calories and sugar are going to waste. I’m not worried as much about the cost as I am my health, which is why I don’t drink them everyday.

I don’t think I have anything else that is a habit that is an expense or has deadened for me. Most of the daily-buys (like starbucks) are really out of the way on my commute and aren’t worth my time and the hassle. When I used to live in Orlando there was a Panera down the street from my apartment and their green iced teas were killer, that is something that could turn into this kind of situation really easily, though.

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