All in Thinking Differently
In my economics class this quarter, my professor has often stressed to us the power of defaults. The basic idea is similar to inertia: set people on a path, and they will continue on it. This has far-reaching consequences in various realms such as financial policies, legal decisions, and business plans. However, you can also use it to improve your social life.
People often ask me why I go through the effort of setting up a virtual assistant like Alexa, and all the routines, groupings, and shortcuts that go with it. The answer is simple: so I can devote more of my focus to the things that matter most.
Last week I began the long process of completely redoing the way I use my iPhone. As someone who who grew up around these devices, it always seemed that each new update and feature was serving up better ways to be productive and stay on top of the important tasks in my life. However, I am beginning to realize that these features, developer intentions aside, do not actually make me more productive or allow me to stay more closely in contact with friends.
Over the past five or six years I have focused on optimizing my life. However, I have recently noticed that some optimizations do not always have the intended effect, and perhaps make things even harder than they were pre-optimization. While there is certainly something to be said for problems such as these arising simply out of an increased awareness rather than that they actually formed due to some prior change, I think it is worth considering the impacts such optimizations have on our lives.
A few days ago, I was looking for something to do with a friend back home. We only see each other a few times a year, so I try to plan special trips to make the most of our limited time together. Although I usually have no problem thinking of fun activities, this time I struggled to think of what we would do, until I remembered an article I read a few years back that talked about being a tourist in your hometown.
This past school year, I lived with my very own Pablo Picasso. The work, titled "Dreams and Lies of Franco I" ,was one of 75 offered to University of Chicago students through the Art to Live With program.