Cognitive load and the convenience problem

Why do smart people trade away so much money and freedom for just a little convenience?

We do it all the time. We take the easy path, the simple shortcut or the long-term bad deal simply because it feels easier.

The reason? Thinking is not worth the hassle.

Cognitive load overwhelms us. Too many choices. The stakes feel too high. Every day, we make 1,000 times as many different decisions as our cavemen ancestors did. We’re exhausted from all the decisions, and more than that, from the narrative we have about making them poorly.

Over the years, marketers have offered us one wonder or another in exchange for just a little cognitive load. And those promises have often been empty. Not worth the hassle.

So now, we’ll press the re-order button like a pigeon in a lab. It’s easier.

If you want people to stop and think, you’ll need to do two things: Make a very big promise… and then keep it.


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