The Groundhog Day Principle

Simon Baars
2 min readAug 7, 2023

What would you do if you were stuck in the same day, living it over and over again?

Suddenly, actions have no consequences. We can do what we never dared to do and act on our darkest desires. But before long, you will realize that your actions do have consequences. Although the world resets itself every day, you carry your thoughts along with the restarts. And it is that exact realization that we should take as a lesson into our non-Groundhog-Day lives as well.

There are no decisions without consequences. It’s what I call The Groundhog Day Principle.

Let’s imagine a scenario: you arrive home to your apartment after a long day of work. You have to go to the third story to access your apartment. In front of you are two doors: an elevator door and the door to the staircase. Which one do you choose?

At that point, you might think: “What the hell. I’m exhausted! I deserve a little rest.”

Gleefully you step into the elevator.

Small thing, right? Pretty much free of consequences?

Wrong.

You just changed your brain chemistry. You just became more discomfort-averse. And if it was just this little occurrence, it would be fine. But decisions lead to follow-up decisions. And it’s not just the elevator. Any source of discomfort is now easier to avoid. It’s hard to exactly quantify the future implications. But perhaps it leads you to slack off at work more and thus miss out on that awesome new position. The possibilities are endless.

The difference between turning into a ‘bad person’ or a ‘good person’ is absolutely in little decisions like these. Every decision we make trickles down like a waterfall through the rest of our lives. There ain’t no such thing as free lunch.

Let me write down some ‘extreme’ examples:

  • Taking the elevator is a gateway drug to laziness
  • Eating fastfood is a gateway drug to wide-ranging addictions
  • Winning an argument is a gateway drug to being an insufferable person

But just as well, the opposite is true:

  • Taking the staircase leads to being a high-energy person
  • Eating healthy leads to being fit and agile (both physically and mentally)
  • Compromising an argument in middle ground leads to being a thoughtful and understanding person

That doesn’t mean that we should live our lives in extreme discomfort. Just to be mindful about the potential implications of decisions. Whether we’re stuck in the same day or not, we always carry our mental state with us, and it affects everything we do or don’t do. Better make it the best mental state it can be :)

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Simon Baars

Yet another guy making the internet more chaotic with random content.