Optimize for delight

You can optimize for anything.

A lot of people like to optimize for efficiency. I like this, too.

Efficiency is great. I like being efficient. I like not wasting my time or resources. I like getting through tasks in a streamlined way. Yes.

There is pleasure in efficiency for its own sake, sure: the satisfaction of a streamlined process, a fine-tuned system, a methodical, melodic routine.

But efficiency is mostly a means to an end.

Efficiency brings relief by freeing up other things, like time or attention or money. Then we can use those freed-up things to do what we want to do.

Efficiency is a means.

Delight is an end.

And I think it’s a good end.

When people are delighted, they’re doing things that are interesting and joyful. They’re playing, even if it’s work.

When I optimize for efficiency, I enter a spiral that tightens, becomes more granular, but never ends.

When I optimize for delight, I enter a spiral that widens and opens and makes me freer in a larger and more beautiful world.

Less escaping, more transforming.

I like that.

I also like how simple it is to identify delight. I know what delight feels like for me. It’s bubbly, it’s a little buzzy, it’s grinning on the inside, it’s a little adrenaline and a lot of joy. And when I feel it, I relax and expand.

The simplest stuff triggers delight. I am not a complicated person. You’re probably not, either, which is great news. If you’re easy to delight, you’ll encounter many sources of delight every single day. When you’re easy to delight, you get to live more.

Because when you’re delighted, you’re not trying to get through things or past things or over things.

You’re not rushing the task or the moment.

You’re not enduring the experience.

You’re not fast-forwarding an icky part to get to a good part.

You’re in the good part and you know it. You’re aware, you’re paying attention, you’re slowed down and tuned up and right there.

You’ve very, very much alive.