Optimize for Delight


This was originally posted on The Pastry Box for 27 June 2015.

Last time I went to buy socks, I bought 32 pairs of socks, all white, all of the same style. These 32 pairs of socks replaced the remaining 10 pairs of white socks I had purchased years before. I had decided long ago to optimize for efficienty, both at laundry time and in the morning. By buying socks all of the same color and style, I didn't have to pair them when folding my clothes. I also didn't have to worry about grabbing socks in the morning, I grabbed two socks from the basket and off I went.

Last Christmas, I received a set of six pairs of short colored socks with bears on them. They're variations of pink, tan, grey and black. They are colorful and goofy and girlie and completely not my style.

And they are wonderful.

I smile every time I put on a pair in the morning.

I grin every time I see them when I cross my legs and notice the color as it peeks out from below my pant line.

I chuckle every time I take them off at night.

I might just wear out these socks by having them in full rotation every week.

They bring me unexpected moments of delight during my day. So much so that I have finally realized that for years I had been optimizing for the wrong thing. Instead of optimizing for efficiency, I should be optimizing for delight.

My new mission: find ways to optimize for unexpected delight.

I'm open to suggestions.


I don't even know how I found myself in this corner of the internet, but I love this story. Thanks!

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