I have discussed Parkinson’s law in a few previous posts. Realizing its significance over and over again, I started to notice that this is a special case of a more general law that governs several different areas of our life as well. I will call it The Law of Self Elasticity. Here it is.
Expectations get adjusted according to their allowed limit.
Let us explore in detail what its various implications are.
- Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion: This is the well-known Parkinson’s law. In a previous post, I have written about a technique on how to utilize it for our maximum advantage.
- Necessities expand so as to fit the money available for their satisfaction: As far as lifestyle is concerned, most people are usually operating just beyond what they can afford. Suppose that a person A earns a salary of 50 thousand dollars a year. They will buy a house, car, gadgets and stuff that will just stretch their budget, believing in it as being necessary for a happy life. On the other hand, another person B who earns a salary of 150 thousand dollars a year will buy a better version of similar stuff, thinking of them as minimum necessities.
- Social boundaries expand towards the limits available during an interaction: In any social circle, some people have the tendency to become a source of amusement for everyone. On the other hand, there are also people in front of whom even a jokesmith will think twice before stepping into their personal zone. This is also true in other social interactions. People will exploit you as much as you allow them to. And before sympathizing with yourself, remember that without knowing, you too exploit others as much as the available limit.
- Fitness improves so as to comply with the exertion a body is expected to perform:
- Achievements expand so as to fit the goals set in life: I learned this concept in the great book The 10x Rule. A person who sets higher goals in life is likely to achieve much more than someone who wants to obtain a degree, get a job and spend their life in it. The more one tinkers with the universe, the more probable they are to find something meaningful. As they say, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
Much of the tiredness we feel in our bodies comes from what we expect it to be capable of. Assume that two persons with the same age and health perform very different kinds of physical exertion. Person A enjoys sports, hiking the mountains and expects their body to be capable of bearing the pain it afflicts on the body. Person B will think about getting tired and will avoid exerting themselves into physical pain. The arrow of time will take their healths into completely different directions. This might not be possible for every single person but certainly true for most.