I have rarely used an elevator in the last 2 years. I distinctly remember the moment I decided to do this. It was February 2018.

I just decided to do it. There was no major reason behind it. Sometimes I'm crazy this way.

Always taking the stairs despite having an elevator helps instill micro-level discipline in you. It trains your brain.

Discipline

Note that I did it before it was popular, but this plays into the (now popular) idea of Atomic Habits.

You are faced with a decision: Elevator or stairs. Most people go for the elevator. This is more of a subconscious decision than a conscious one. It is in these instances where you have to train your mind. These small instances of micro-decision making will determine your life. I am not even kidding.

Every time you are faced with two options. Elevator or stairs. One easy and low-effort, while the other difficult and high-effort. Choose the hard action. Choose to take the difficult path.

Sure, taking the stairs is not as difficult as becoming a navy seal is, or starting a company, or climbing Mt. Everest. But, it is the harder of the two options. Apart from that, it also has longer term rewards attached to it.

Doing this trains your brain to take the hard path. It gets the brain used to choosing the difficult things. And in life, choosing the difficult things always has a great outcome. This helps establish and strengthen neural pathways in your brain that tell it to choose the hard option when faced with a choice.

The idleness problem

The truth is, most people just don't get enough physical activity these days. Modernity has made everyone weak, including me. We are half the men our grandfathers were.

At the core of it, we are monkeys. We are fierce monkeys that have the instinctual need to climb trees, lift heavy things, kill animals, have sex, fight. And we just aren't getting enough of it these days.

Always taking the stairs helps you train your mind and helps you satisfy your primal instincts. You are more human. Plus, if you aren't big on going to the gym, climbing stairs will help you get at-least some physical activity.

The Inspiration

One of my big-time favorites was Casey Neistat. He's an American filmmaker and vlogger. I used to follow his vlog series back in 2016-2018 when he was actively making videos. He has had an impact on my outlook of life, especially work. Great guy.

Casey

"Always the stairs, never the escalator" was one of his maxims. Man ran a half-marathon every morning, then used the stairs to get to his studio.

So there it was, I made my own: Always the stairs, never the elevator.

In the last 2 years or so, I've never used the elevator by choice. Of course, I have used it at times when absolutely necessary, when I am accompanying someone important, for example. One can't be too rigid. As long as you generally follow the rules you set for yourself, you are better off than most.

I've had sore legs from leg day. I've climbed the tallest mountain in Maharashtra. I've had a 10 kilo bag on my back. I've had no sleep for 24+ hours. I still came back and took the stairs to my house. I still used the stairs in my college. You can't choose the easy option because you're "tired".

Indirect benefits

It might be crazy. But I did it. And I'll continue to do it for the rest of my life. I can't highlight a direct benefit of doing this. Because most habits are not direct, they have indirect effects on other areas.

For example, sleeping early might help you wake up early which helps you get some extra me-time which helps you come up with a great business idea.

Similary, taking the stairs over the elevators helps reinforce the idea of choosing the hard things. Whenever in life you are given an option to choose between an easy and a hard option, your brain will choose the hard one, which will produce tremendous benefits in the longer run.

Good habits are not necessarily those that have a direct consequence in your life. The real, important habits are those that affect other areas of your life indirectly.

Identify these habits and execute on them.

Take the stairs, gentlemen.

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