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De Minimis Non Curat Optimizers

Let’s Not Concern Ourselves with Trifles


As I’ve shared before, I dropped out of law school before finishing my first semester of contract law (go Boalt Hall class of 2000!). Although I’m thrilled I didn’t pursue law as my profession, I love some of the Big Ideas we can mine from the domain.

We’ve talked about the fact that good contracts have what attorneys call “Bright Lines” — everyone is super clear on what they’re agreeing to. Willpower researchers tell us we need those bright lines with the contracts we make with OURSELVES.

For example, I will NEVER eat Cheetos again is a nice, bright line. You know when you crossed it. Because your fingers are orange. Much better than “I will eat less junk food.” Way too fuzzy.

So… Here’s another one of my favorite legal gems: de minimis non curat lex.

That’s Latin for “the law does not concern itself with trifles.”

A good legal system needs to be detailed and comprehensive but it simply can’t attend to every single little thing that comes up.

De minimis non curat lex. The law does not concern itself with trifles.

Guess what?

We need to apply the same rule to our lives.

We want to have fun finding all the little places we can Optimize (go marginal gains!) AND we need to know when to ignore the trifles and just move on with our lives.

Those little annoyances that might get us triggered. Or the obsessive perfectionism when good enough is, truly, good enough.

Today’s +1.

Got any trifles you’re getting yourself all ruffled up about?

De minimis non curat Optimizers.