The difference between a 12% and a 99% organ donor rate is default no vs default yes (opt in vs opt out). Nobody is forced to participate, but having to take minimal effort to *not* participate is the difference between hundreds of millions of organ donors.
The harder and more complicated a decision is, the more likely the default is to be picked. I’m sure we’ve all experienced this in our lives: “ugh, i don’t know, just get that one”. When we’re tired, busy, distracted, annoyed, or just unsure, we get more and more likely to pick whatever is easiest.
This is efficient! We’re outsourcing our decision to past us, or someone else entirely, be it government, the store we’re buying from, or the significant other we told we didn’t care what they picked up for dinner.
However, the cost of that efficiency is it gives those entities lots of power. And frequently, the outcome isn’t going to be perfectly tailored to *your* wants and needs.
This is most interesting with our own habits! The better job past-you did at making good decisions, and practicing them so they become effortless habits, the easier life will be for current-you. So investing in good habits now, whenever you can, will make life better for future you. And it’s never too late to start!
(This same principle applies to law, social norms, and policy. it’s why the Bill of Rights has been so effective, yet very lacking in some areas. And why it’s so damn important to get it right: change is *hard*, and it’s way harder to fix a bad ‘habit’ when a million people’s livelihood relies on that inefficiency. Roughly the equivalent of giving up smoking, soda, and starbucks all at the same time.)