The Region-Beta-Paradox

Sometimes, being in a difficult situation is better than being stuck in comfortable mediocrity.


There’s a paradox governing our lives almost no one thinks about.

Just think about this:

If our job is good today, it'll probably be good tomorrow.

If it's just okay today, it might still be just okay in the future.

But if it's really bad, it could get much better. Because we work to improve it.

We jump into action and make impactful changes only when things become unacceptably bad. But when things are "just not terrible enough," we often remain passive and watch them go on.

The minor knee pain can bother us for years, while the severe shoulder injury will heal in months as we take action and get surgery.

Our just-okay romantic relationship could drag on for years, while an awful one that we actually end can lead to a much better one sooner.

After a party, being just a little tipsy can make us drive home and wreck both our car and ourselves, but getting completely wasted might be the safer move as others will prevent us from driving and will call a cab.

Sometimes, you’ll be better off if you’re worse off.

That’s the Region-Beta Paradox.

It applies to many different areas of everyday life — whenever we respond to our circumstances and change the link between what happens and the final result.

We usually take action and make things better when they are terrible. The 'beta region' is the zone before this point, where things are just okay and we don't feel the need to act — thereby preventing our situation from improving.

Here are 3 other concepts you might benefit from:

The Streetlight Effect

Via Negativa

Causal Reductionism