Most of the time, we seek to evolve and progress. We want to get better, not worse. We want to grow and improve, not decline and deteriorate.
When it comes to how I dress in my professional life, I’ve noticed quite a change over the past 25 years. I call it my de-evolutionary process. I started out wearing a suit and tie, or at least a sport coat and tie. Then it was a dress shirt, dress pants, and a tie. Then just a nice dress shirt and dress pants. Over time the shirt became untucked, still with dress pants. Then with jeans. Now my coworkers are glad I wear any clothes at all.
Even still, there are certain occasions when I’ll sport a suit tie (weddings, funerals, midday baseball games — just kidding about that last one). For special days like Christmas Eve, Easter, and Mother’s Day I’ll usually put on a tie and tuck in the shirt.
Here’s the interesting thing: Back when I had to wear a suit and tie all the time, I didn’t think much of it. It was normal. Now that I don’t have to anymore, it actually feels kind of special. To be honest, I kind of like it.
It is true, how you dress does impact how you feel and how you are perceived.
I’m still not ready to trade in my jeans and New Balance for an everyday suit and wingtips. But I am finding myself dressing up a bit more often than I used to — and, no, it’s not that I’m getting older and all my friends are dying and I have more funerals to attend.
I’m choosing to.
Just like I’m choosing to drink good coffee.
There’s a certain psychology involved when it comes to coffee. As you upgrade your coffee-making mechanisms, you simply feel differently. About yourself. About coffee. About the world in general.
The psychology of drinking good coffee tells you that coffee is not just a commodity to be consumed in the same way we fill up our tanks with gas. When the tank is empty, just add more gas. Corn is a commodity, which is why not many people track down the name of the farmer who grew their corn.
[Tweet “Psychologically, when you perceive coffee as simply another commodity, it lowers the value of the experience.”] We drink coffee not to savor it but to be fueled by it. It’s another habit like brushing our teeth (only we may drink coffee more regularly than we brush our teeth. Not you, of course).
When you make the jump from Folgers or Maxwell House to already ground Starbucks House Blend, the change is noticeable. It probably feels like an indulgence, in part because a lesser amount of coffee costs twice as much. But it’s also because of the improvement in taste.
Then you switch from already ground to whole bean. From a blade grinder to a burr grinder. Then you toss the drip machine for a French Press. After a while you add an Aeropress and a Chemex to your counter.
Just like the frog in the kettle, by increasing the temperature a little at a time, you probably didn’t even notice the change in your behavior and feelings.
But trust me, you are a better person — better to be around, work for, and live with.
Such is the psychology of drinking good coffee.