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Internal Consistency

When I was looking for an apartment here in Wichita, it was important to me that I find a home with good natural light.

Lightbulbs, today, don’t use too much energy. If you have a modern bulb, you could conceivably keep it on all the time and not do too much damage to the environment or to your bank account.

But there’s something about using energy that I don’t need—a purposeless expenditure of resources—that doesn’t feel right to me. Even when I know, logically, it’s not a big deal, I still feel better when I’m able to keep the lights turned off all day, the under-utilized appliances and devices unplugged.

Little adjustments like this matter. Not necessarily for the environment or to lower one’s utility bill payment in any measurable way, but to maintain external consistency with what I feel, internally. I’ve found that I feel more comfortable not using more space than I need, not consuming more resources than necessary, not not owning more things than I actually use, and when I’m able to align my actions with these preferences I feel more comfortable, less stressed out. It’s not a rebellious, impressive act, but rather a small, quiet, hardly-worth-mentioning proclivity that improves my life by a fraction of a percent.

Especially when it’s the result of a small act, a minute change, a tiny accommodation to a barely felt but definitely there preference, that fraction of a percent more happiness can be worth the effort.

This essay was originally published in my newsletter. Also, I have a new book coming out May 1, and it’s available for pre-order.