Settings Matter

“We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then, is not an act but a habit”. - Aristotle.

People are similar to electronic devices. We all come equipped with default settings out of the womb. For example think about one modern day conundrum, which is engrained in people, due to ancestral heritage - food is scarce, so eat as much as you can. Most people never change or update their default settings. Most people ardent even aware of their default settings. Wait, what are default settings? Default settings are the preprogrammed settings running in the background, they underlie everything you do. Such as which choices you make ranging from the consequential to the mundane.

Why would one want to change their default settings? Overeating is often enjoyable, skimming through pictures delivers dopamine, and procrastination alleviates stress, right? Don’t we want to maximize our desires? Are we not good Westerners that maximize utility? This is the wrong lens to use when viewing this situation. These are simply default settings that you are wired with and may not be fully aware of. However, other designers are fully aware of these inherent faults, so these faults are exploited for gain by others. Default settings are ingrained through genes, tradition, and culture. But what is best for YOU? Cultivating your default settings is what is best for you.

If default settings are never updated or modified they will continue to operate in a way that was designed or heavily influenced by someone other than you. Said another way you are not in control, you are a puppet being pulled along by external forces. Be mindful of your default settings and cultivate optimal habits. Own what you think and what you do. Attention is your most valuable resource and myriad entities are vying for it.

One should establish default settings that are aligned with their long term goals and aspirations. The best remedy for resentment is aspiration. If you are not where you want to be physically, financially, or spiritually, aspire to be more and devise a plan to reach your aspirations. The first step in planning is to uncover what your default settings are. Do you snack when you shouldn’t? Do you scroll social media instead of reading high signal information? Do you sit on the couch rather than exercising? All of these are examples of default settings one may use on a daily basis.

In short, it is imperative to establish what your default settings are. By uncovering all or many of your default settings and planning how to optimize them you will be well on your way to living a healthy self authored existence. Take the time to reflect and self examine, be the demiurge of your existence.