By John Haltiwanger in Strategy
Have you ever thought about how much time you likely waste deciding what to wear in the morning? It’s probably made you late to school or work more times than you can count.
We waste so many precious moments concerning ourselves with frivolous details. An outfit will not change the world, it probably won’t even change your day.
This is not to say that fashion isn’t important, as it has an immense impact on culture and, in turn, the direction of society.
Indeed, fashion is where art, culture and history intersect. If we look at the 1960s, for example, the way people dressed was very much a reflection of the counterculture movement and the anti-establishment sentiments of the era.
Simply put, clothes can tell us a lot about sociology.
Yet, at the same time, we’ve arguably become an excessively materialistic and superficial society. Undoubtedly, there are greater things to worry about than clothes.
Similarly, as the great American author Henry David Thoreau once stated:
Our life is frittered away by detail.
In essence, don’t sweat the small stuff. Make your life easier by concentrating on the big picture.
Correspondingly, a number of very successful people have adopted this philosophy in their daily routines.
Decision Fatigue: Why Many Presidents And CEOs Wear The Same Thing Every Day
Whether you love or hate him, it’s hard to argue against the notion that President Obama has the most difficult job in the world. As the leader of the most powerful country on the planet, the president has a lot on his plate.
Regardless of what he does, he will be criticized. Simply put, he’s got a lot of important things to think about beyond his wardrobe.
This is precisely why President Obama wears the same suit every single day. Well, almost every day, we can’t forget about the time the Internet exploded when he wore a khaki suit. Although, that probably says less about him and more about us.
The majority of the time, however, Obama wears either a blue or gray suit. In an article from Michael Lewis for Vanity Fair, the president explained the logic behind this routine:
‘You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits’ [Obama] said.
‘I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.’ He mentioned research that shows the simple act of making decisions degrades one’s ability to make further decisions.
As Stuart Heritage puts it for the Guardian, “Barack Obama has pared his wardrobe down to such a degree that he can confidently walk into any situation and make decisions that directly impact on the future of mankind.”
The president is not alone in this practice. The late, great, Steve Jobs wore his signature black turtleneck with jeans and sneakers every single day.
Moreover, Mark Zuckerberg typically wears a gray t-shirt with a black hoody and jeans when seen in public. Similarly, Albert Einstein reportedly bought several variations of the same gray suit so that he wouldn’t have to waste time deciding what to wear each morning.
This is all related to the concept of decision fatigue. This is a real psychological condition in which a person’s productivity suffers as a result of becoming mentally exhausted from making so many irrelevant decisions.
Simply put, by stressing over things like what to eat or wear every day, people become less efficient at work.
This is precisely why individuals like President Obama, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Albert Einstein decided to make life easier by adopting a monotonous wardrobe.
Obviously, as these are some of the most successful and productive individuals in history, they are on to something.
Make Life Simple
Indeed, having a diverse collection of clothing is overrated. We waste so much time worrying about things that have no substantial consequences, and don’t even realize how easily we could change this.
This is exactly why President José Mujica of Uruguay rejects conformity and refuses to wear a tie, stating:
The tie is a useless rag that constrains your neck.
I’m an enemy of consumerism. Because of this hyperconsumerism, we’re forgetting about fundamental things and wasting human strength on frivolities that have little to do with human happiness.
He’s absolutely right. The vast majority of us are guilty of obsessing over material things. When it comes down to it, they bring no real value to our lives. True fulfillment is acquired by going out into the world and fostering palpable and benevolent changes.
Buying a new pair of shoes might make you feel more confident in the short-term, but it will not enrich your life in the long-term.
Undoubtedly, the world would be an extremely boring place if we all wore the same exact thing every day.
Yet, we might all consider simplifying our lives a bit more by reducing the amount of time we spend thinking about pointless aspects of our day. In the process, one might find that they are significantly less stressed, more productive and more fulfilled.
Life is complicated enough, don’t allow the little things to dictate your happiness. Simplify, simplify.
Posted by Nauman Jaffar, MarkiTech