Ellen Langer

The life well lived is best lived effortlessly. I know I may be going out on a limb with this, but it is where my thoughts effortlessly lead me. Trying, in many instances, is based on mindless evaluation. If we find something aversive, we may try to overcome our feelings and do it anyway. Given that evaluation is in our heads and not with the thing we are evaluating, thinking differently about it is likely to be more successful. No matter how hard I try not to overeat, not to be stressed, not to be angry, I am likely to overeat, be stressed and angry at some point soon, if not immediately. Sometimes I overeat because no one, not even me should push me around.

If I frame food as irresistible it’s hard to resist. If I mindlessly think my state of mind depends on anyone other than me, I may be stressed. If I forget that what you did that made me angry has positive consequences and doesn’t say anything about me anyway, my anger will feel out of place. Given that I virtually always put my whole self into whatever I do, it may seem like I’m trying to do it well, while all I’m doing is doing.