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Being Careful What You Wish For

Today, I’m working on my Chromebook in our living room. The house is quiet, it’s a beautiful day out, and I have a lot to get done.

Sometimes, when I have a lot on my plate, I notice that I benefit from a change of scenery. Plus, my Chromebook tends to help me focus a lot more on my writing and my work.

Working in my living room means I get to choose from a lot of sitting options – none of which are a desk, of course. I have two big recliners – one leather, one cloth – and a very comfortable couch.

For today’s writing, I chose my leather La-Z-Boy recliner. I bought this on an ill-advised purchase, brand new, 6 years ago. I put it on a credit card like an idiot.

But financial decisions aside, I love this chair with all my heart. Sure, it’s a little scratched up from my cats’ back claws, but it has served me well. It’s big, soft, comfortable, and everything a man could want in a big brown leather recliner.

As I’ve been working in this chair today, my mind is flashing back to 2008.

I was running a faltering business and just moved into the upper level of a duplex. It was a tiny, tiny apartment, but it served my needs just fine (really lousy landlords aside).

Because I was short on cash and space, and I was running my laptop as both a business machine and my home media center, I decided to set up shop in the living room. I bought a very small desk from IKEA. Not having the space or desire for a cheap office chair, I made what seemed to be an awesome decision at the time:

“I’ll use my recliner as my office chair!”

It was going to be great. How many people are sitting in amazing recliners while they work, anyway? I’d be uber-comfortable, and I’d get to work in the living room, which is what I wanted.

As the months rolled by, however, I realized I made a foolhardy decision.

There were a couple reasons for this. First, a recliner is not made to be comfortable at a desk. So having to lean forward to work on my little desk was not exactly the best for me ergonomically.

The other reason is that it totally took the pleasure out of sitting in this chair. If I’m working in the same chair I relax in, how do I relax? This was a time when my business-related stress was at an all-time high. Switching between working and relaxing in my chair just didn’t work.

It was too much of a good thing.

When else do we deal with “too much of a good thing”?

Off the top of my head, I can think of my diet.

In college and post-college, I reveled in the fact that A) I was a skinny guy and B) I could decide what I wanted to eat all the time!

Pizza rolls? Skittles? Soda? Chocolate milk? Chips? Cereal? All part of a weekly menu, right?

Jump to today and I’m a little overweight, I deal with various digestive issues, and I can’t chew consistently on one side of my mouth because I had a terrible cavity on my back tooth because of all the sugar I used to eat.

Too much of a good thing can be bad for you.

Sometimes, you have to bite the bullet and do things you don’t want to do.

If you want to relax whenever you want and eat whatever feels good, I hope you like being fat, because you will be.

If you don’t want to think about work past the 9-5 hours, and you just want to do the bare minimum to get ahead, I hope you like being in debt and always worrying about money, because you will be.

If you want to be happy long-term, sometimes you have to choose to be uncomfortable a little bit. You have to choose the less-desirable option.

Steve Kamb of Nerd Fitness talks about just getting over it and doing the work. He calls it “putting on your hard hat”. It’s a great way of thinking about this.

The unexpected benefit of choosing the less-desirable option

Choosing what you need to do over what you want to do is usually an unhappy decision, but there’s an unintended consequence.

That thing you like to do? You’ll enjoy it a heck of a lot more.

Those sweets taste better when they’re a little reward instead of a staple of your diet. Relaxing on the couch feels amazing after you’ve put in a day of work and squeezed in some exercise.

And this recliner is the most comfortable thing in the world when I’m not working in it every day.

So, as Steve says, put on your hard hat. Make the tough choice. Do what you don’t want to do and limit yourself a little bit. Life will be much more rewarding – I promise.

business, decisions, finance, perseverance, regret