We love to debate minutiae
October 11th, 2005 - 14 Comments
If you’re below the age of 125, you have heard people saying one of more of these phrases about losing weight:
- Don’t eat before you go to bed because fat doesn’t burn as efficiently
- If you cut your carb intake and raise your protein level, you can lose lots of weight quickly
- If you eat fruit in the morning, it’s easy on your digestive system and your metabolism will speed up
I always laugh at these things because they’re so absurd. Maybe they’re correct, or maybe not, but that’s not really the point.
The point is that we love to debate minutiae.
We love to debate details at the completely wrong level of analysis.
When it comes to weight loss, 99.99% of people only need to know 2 things: Eat healthier and exercise more. Only Olympic athletes need to know more.
But instead of accepting these simple items and acting on them, we debate calories and trans fats and Atkins and South Beach.
Why? Because we love to debate minutiae.
When we do, we somehow feel satisfied with ourselves. We might have just spun our wheels, and failed at changing anyone’s mind (and our ideas certainly weren’t changed because who knows more about trans fat than us?). But we feel like we really expressed ourselves, and it’s a good feeling.
The problem is that the feeling is totally illusory when it comes to getting anything done. Ironically, debating minutiae is the easiest way to get nothing done: Imagine the last time you and your friend talked about this stuff. Did you go for a run afterwards? Of course not.
Because we love to debate minutiae, which absolves us from actually having to do anything.
I prefer to do it another way. Let the fools debate the details. I’d rather get something done by keeping it simple and actually doing it.
Who wins at the end of the day? The self-satisfied people who heatedly debate some obscure details? Or the people who sidestep the entire debate, recognize the underlying essence of the issue, and quietly get it done?
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