Recently, I started experiencing some back pain and started thinking about improving my work ergonomics. I had never tried a standing desk but noticed a number of the people I worked with had them and I’ve wanted to try it ever since reading about the perils of sitting to much. Fortunately, I was able to get a standing desk installed in my cube and try it out. As unpleasant as it sounds, it’s actually energizing. Of course, part of it is that I no longer feel stuffed in a box and can actually see a window, but there is something different, something more engaging.
What’s odd is that when I think about standing to work at a computer, it still sound patently uncomfortable. It’s not something I would want to do — sitting seems much more relaxing and comfortable. It turns out that I enjoy standing at a desk ONLY while I’m standing at a desk, but when I’m not, I can hardly imagine working while standing.
Reflecting on this, I realized that this isn’t my only misprojection of experience. Working in the garage to reduce clutter is experientially invigorating, but when I’m not engaged in doing it, I dread the thought. We so often spend much of our time doing things we think will be satisfying, only to find ourselves discontented. Yet our actual experience transcends what we think we will experience. It’s just very hard to do what we know feels good when we think of it as being uncomfortable.
I don’t know exactly how to switch this perception but I think it must come from choosing what we know is the right thing to do habitually. Over time, our perception will match our experience. What do you think?
[Picture from John Knox via Compfight – Wish mine was this cool looking]
I think you are right that over time our perception will change if we decide to turn a dreaded chore into a habitual task. You said that driving on the highway in CA would become easier with time. And you were right.