Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Strollers, Love, and The Minimum Effective Dose

For about the past week I've been trying to pick out the perfect umbrella stroller to take to our DC trip in a few weeks. My husband and I talked about all the things we wanted in a lightweight stroller and I went out and found a few contenders. (In case you are wondering what made it to the final showdown: the Chicco Capri, Maclaren Quest, Uppa-Baby G-Luxe, and the Aprica Presto.) If you've done any stroller research, you would be like, "wow...that's a variety," because they really do have an extreme range in price and in correlating features. It's like trying to compare a Saturn to a Mercedes.

Yesterday, after spending about an hour at Babies R Us pushing my son around in several of the options, I finally just broke down and got the cheapest. It had the least amount of features but, well, the price just couldn't be beat for what we needed most, and the reality is that we just needed something short term.  Essentially, we bought the minimum effective dose.

Minimum Effective Dose (MED) is a concept I learned about in Tim Ferriss' 4 Hour Body. In it, he explains that MED is doing the least amount necessary to get the desired results. For him, working out for an hour every day was unnecessary because the same results came from working out for 20 minutes like every two weeks or something...(don't quote me on that, I don't remember the exact #s, but I'm close. You can check in the book. He also has a steroid use example; regardless the concept is the same.)

I couldn't think of a better example than what happened today, on Valentine's Day, when my darling husband got finished work and met me at the car with four carnations. Now, I wasn't expecting flowers and I was thankful that he thought of me on this loveliest of days but I was kind of surprised that it was just four carnations because my husband has typically put a little more effort into his flower selection (having them delivered or stopping at a store on his way home.) Plus, where do you find just four carnations? At an elementary school where you can send a flower-gram to a friend!? I thought maybe he had forgot about Valentine's Day and just borrowed them from a friend...and I asked him that too. He told me he didn't borrow them from a friend but how he got them is important. 

So some background information on my husband - my husband LOVES to take online surveys that give him a dollar every time he submits one. So every once and a while he gets a letter in the mail with a crisp one dollar bill in it and I always make fun of him. The last survey was a $2 survey but instead of sending him 2 crisp $1 bills they sent him a $2 bill! A $2 bill?! Isn't that cool!? I was impressed because who just goes around handing out $2 bills! So he jokes about me being jealous, that I can't make fun of his surveys and how he was going to keep it (away from me) forever. He has too - it's been in his wallet (as if it was gold or something) ever since.

Back to the carnations - so I was like, "how did you get four carnations?" And he told me that "these four carnations are equivalent to $2 worth of flowers, as in a $2 bill worth of flowers." I swear my mouth dropped! I never thought he would spend that $2 bill, especially on me. I seriously still can't believe it. I asked him why he didn't just use other cash and he told me "because I thought it would be cute and that you would appreciate it." OMG! Isn't he cute! Case in point: $2 of carnations = MED.

Back to the strollers: they were all awesome and I for sure had my heart set on the most expensive one and we could have easily just gotten it and been happy and out $200+ but is it really necessary? Especially when all the features we really needed were met in the cheapest option? Shakespeare wrote in As You Like It, and I may/may not be taking it out of context, "Can one desire too much of a good thing?" Heck yeah. The "good thing" was the lightweight stroller with some recline, back support, and a little suspension. The "too much" was the cup holder, the increased weight capacity, the ability to stand-upright; I desired the heck out of it but it's not essential. We just needed the MED.

The concept of MED can be applied to a lot of areas in life, especially parenting. As a type-A personality, I'm always focused on doing things to the max. My son doesn't need to be entertained by me every five seconds and I don't need to enroll him in every baby class in town. Trying to do all these things just gives me a whole lot of stress when all he really needs is the MED.

Happy Valentine's Day!


P.S. - I hope I'm not the only one who has issues with MED - thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. 1) Love the new background!
    2) The story about your husband and the flowers made me a little misty! So sweet.