Start or Stop

The following post is remix of Kurt Lewin's Force Field Analysis, and Daniel Kahneman's interpretation of that Analysis.

Ok, sources named. Let's continue.

You own dinner plates, right?

I mean, they don't need to be dinner plates, you can eat any meal on them really, but when you read dinner plates, something comes to mind I'm sure.

Imagine holding two of your dinner plates. Palms facing up, one plate in each hand.

You own drinking glasses, right?

I mean, you might own mugs too, but when you read drinking glasses, something comes to mind I'm sure.

Let's say I come to your house, fill up four of your drinking glasses with water, and place two of those glasses on one plate that you're holding and two on the other.

Now you're standing in front me, and in each hand you're holding a dinner plate and on that dinner plate you're balancing two full glasses of water.

I think you will get more out of this post if you visualize this feeling as vividly as you can.

This post is really about one question.

Is it easier to start doing something, or stop doing something?

Let's explore.

Scenario 1: Start doing


You're currently balancing four full glasses of water.

Let's say I find a fifth. Perhaps it's a mug. I fill it up with water and add it to one of your plates.

What happens?

It'll probably take you a few seconds, those few seconds might be hard, in fact, you should expect them to be hard, and eventually you will adjust and find balance.

Scenario 2: Stop doing


You're currently balancing four full glasses of water.

Let's say I take one off a plate.

What happens?

It'll probably take you a few seconds, those few seconds might be hard, in fact, you should expect them to be hard, and eventually you will adjust and find balance.

What's different?


In both scenarios you eventually get back to achieving balance, but there is one key difference.

It's obvious, I hope.

In scenario 1, even though you eventually balance, you are carrying more weight than you are in scenario 2.

Back to the question


Is it easier to start doing something or stop doing something?

Perhaps it depends on your time horizon.

In the short-term, both are hard.

In the long-term, stopping might be easier.

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