J.D. Moyer

beat maker, sci-fi writer, self-experimenter

Easier Life Maxims

Take a long walk down Easy Street.

Some people relish hardship.  Others get a sense of satisfaction out of enduring difficult and painful situations.  There are even connoisseurs of suffering, who appreciate different flavors and textures of misery.

I’m in the opposite camp.  If life presents itself as easy and enjoyable, I don’t ask questions.  I don’t mind working hard, or experiencing discomfort, if there’s a clear reward to be had (or a worse fate to be avoided).  But overall, I like to look for the shortest line between two points.  It’s just the way I’m wired; a little lazy and more than a little hedonistic.

Still, I’m conscientious — I don’t like to let things slide.  I don’t like feeling out-of-control, or disorganized, or discombobulated.  Obviously, to avoid entropy, a person has to stay motivated and get stuff done.  So where’s the balance?  Are there ways to save enormous amounts of energy and effort in life, but not be a slacker?  To be effective without gritting your teeth or losing sleep?

I’ve been compiling the list below for a few years, but I haven’t added anything recently.  It’s as good a time as any to publish it.  Let me know what you think.

Easier Life Maxims

1. It’s easier to forgive than it is to hold a grudge.

2. Apologizing and making right is easier than trying to justify or cover-up a mistake.

3. Learning new things is easier than defending your intelligence and expertise.

4. It’s easier to do what you want rather than to do what you think other people want you to do.

5. Helping and loving other people is easier than trying to control them.

6. Working smart is easier than working hard.

7. Working hard is easier than procrastinating, worrying, or evading work.

8. It’s easier to socialize and network with people that you like, and easier to love people who appreciate you.

9. Learning from your mistakes is easier than constantly repeating them.

10. The easiest way to get what you want is to visualize and expect it (radical slack).

11. Doing only what you enjoy is easier than slogging through life.

12. It’s easier to change the trigger than it is to change the behavior.

13. It’s easier to find inspiration and refocus than it is to curb vices and distractions via self-discipline.

14. It’s easier to reach a big or difficult goal than an average or mediocre goal (less competition).

15. Easier doesn’t necessarily mean easy.

Most of the ideas on the list were borrowed (or stolen) from other writers and thinkers, but I’ve enjoyed putting those ideas into my own words so that the maxims would better resonate with me when going back to them.  I look at the list now and then to help me decide if it’s time to dig in and grind it out, or coast and look for the path of least resistance.

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4 Comments

  1. Elizabeth

    Great post, as always. Can you explain more about what this one means?
    “It’s easier to change the trigger than it is to change the behavior.”

  2. Thanks Elizabeth. I meant that it’s easier to remove a stimulus that leads to an (undesired) behavior that it is to control yourself through willpower. For example if I open the freezer and see ice-cream, I’m going to want some. So if I want to eat less ice-cream, I shouldn’t buy it and put it in my freezer. That’s easier than keeping ice-cream in my freezer all the time and burning through willpower not eating it.

    It’s not always an option to remove the stimulus … sometimes the cost is too high. Some people stop drinking but keep going to bars, because that’s where their friends are. But if there’s no major downside I think it takes less willpower to change the environment/trigger stimuli than it does to exert strict self-control in an unchanged environment.

  3. that’s a good solid list, and i agree and abide by MOST of them! 😉

  4. Elizabeth

    Ah, great advice. I remember that willpower column now. I may print out this list and tape it to my forehead.

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