I have realised this truth:
Convenience trumps everything else.
If you think about it, almost everything that we do, we do because it is convenient, not because it is the right thing to do, not what we say we want to do, but what is convenient to do.
We want to eat healthy. But we end up eating fast food or canned food because it is convenient to order something on the supermarket aisle or order a fast food, than going to the market, buying vegetables, cook fresh food and eat it.
We want to read or write a book. But instead we end up watching cat videos on YouTube, parody videos on TikTok or binge watch shows on Netflix/Amazon Prime or even news channels. Because it is convenient to binge watch rather than sit down and stare at the blank page.
We want to have a lot of friends and a good social circle. So, we make friends and follow them on social media because it is convenient to do that rather than make the effort to take time and physically catch up with our friends in the real world.
We want to find someone to go on a date with. So, we swipe right or left on an app rather than going out and meeting people, getting to know them, because it is convenient to do this on an app rather than face the potential of rejection when we approach someone in person.
We want to build a culture of innovation but end up upholding the status quo because it is convenient to uphold status quo than trying new things which could potentially fail. Known devil better than unknown angel!!!
Pick a day when you decide to be consciously looking for the reason why you do everything that one day and list down the number of activities that you do because it is convenient to do rather than it was the right thing to do and you will realise the power that convenience holds over almost everything that we do.
Now comes the question, so what? What are we going to do, now that we know this truth.
Now, we need to consciously work towards making important things that we want to do, convenient to do. This by default means that we need to know what is it that we really want to do or is the right thing to do. Once we do, we need to design it such that it becomes the most convenient thing to do for us in that given context.
So, if you want to eat healthy, freshly cooked food, make that the most convenient thing for you to do. Maybe, subscribe to a service that will deliver healthy, freshly cooked meal to you every day. Get creative. If this doesn’t work, find out what could work. Experiment. Try different things out. Don’t stop till you make eating healthy, freshly cooked food the most convenient thing for you.
Repeat this for everything else that is important to you. Everything that you want to do but haven’t been able to do.
This is exactly what the most successful start-ups of the past decade have become really good at. We buy stuff online because it is convenient to do so. We make friends online because it is convenient to do so. We do virtual calls, even when we are in the same city because it is convenient to do so. We watch movies and other video content on our mobile devices because it is convenient to do so. We book an Uber or a Grab because it is convenient to do so. We AirBnB because it is convenient to do so. We order food on Grab because it is convenient to do so. The list can go on and on.
The question is the following – if the start-ups can figure out how to make things convenient for us, why can’t we. By allowing them to make things convenient for us, we are giving them the power to control our behaviour.
Let’s take back that power from corporates and start-ups and start designing our lives around the most important behaviours that we want to exhibit by making them the most convenient behaviour in that given context.