Brown Rice Principle

“So there’s this life principle that I live by– I don’t know if I’ve told you yet but it’s called BRP.”

It stands for Brown Rice Principle.

Every day in college, my friend would eat the same lunch at the same restaurant. The restaurant El Gallo de Oro is basically a cheaper and shittier version of Chipotle, he explained. In essence, you pick your base (i.e. bowl, burrito, taco, etc.) and move onto rice, type of protein, and other accompanying condiments.

He picks the salad.

When it comes to picking the rice, there are two options: brown vs white. He knows the brown rice is ultimately the healthier choice, but he also knows that the white rice tastes significantly better. He wants to make the more healthy conscious decision, so he asks for the brown rice. He goes through the same process every day and always ends up eating brown rice. Over time, he conditions himself to forget what the white rice tastes like. “I’ve been eating brown rice for so long, I don’t even remember what the other alternative tastes like. But I’m okay with that, because then I don’t know what I’m missing out on. I’m so used to brown rice tasting normal and good that I’m happy with the choice (or lack thereof) I made.”

He explains to me that he tries to limit the amount of decisions he makes in a day. With a reference to Steve Jobs, he says that he’s someone who wants to spend more energy on making more important decisions in his day rather than wasting time deciding what he wants to wear or– in this case– what he wants to eat.

My friend is a very technical person. He studies computer science and sees the world in a very one-dimensional way. This is not to diminish his thought process as I believe he is thorough and not in any way superficial. But he’s someone who finds comfort in routines. He’s okay with the mundane and ordinary, because he prefers to not think about what he’s missing out on. He feels that if he gets accustomed to a certain lifestyle or habit that is not beneficial to his end goal, there’s no reason to even test it out in the first place.

I have a hard time believing that there are people who follow this sort of regime. I think I find comfort in knowing that I practice my decision-making skills on simple things such as what I want to eat later in the day. However, I admire him for sacrificing so much for his future. Granted, I think he’s missing out on a lot of experiences, but he is really content with where he is now.

Most people tend to view their options with opportunity cost, as in, what will they be giving up for doing something. If I choose to stay in rather than going out with friends, my opportunity cost is that I lose time to create fun memories. If I choose to go out rather than study, my opportunity cost is that I lose precious time to study and ace my test. Every choice we make carries a cost and a benefit. To my friend, his choices are only beneficial without a real cost.


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