Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg held his first ever public Q&A session at Facebook’s California headquarters on Thursday, November 6.
Over an hour, the 30-year-old billionaire answered questions about the messenger app, his feelings regarding David Fincher’s The Social Network Movie, and why he wears the same grey t-shirt every day. (See the whole talk below) The response to that last query is the one that caught our attention.
Zuckerberg explained that there are, in fact, several of the same shirt, which is good because otherwise he’d be kind of smelly. (He doesn’t actually wear it every day either. There are many pictures of him wearing different shirts, but he does usually look like he’s wearing some variation on a theme.)
He then went on to say:
- “I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community. There’s actually a bunch of psychology theory that even making small decisions, around what you wear or what you eat for breakfast or things like that, they kind of make you tired and consume your energy. My view is I’m in this really lucky position where I get to wake up every day and help serve more than 1 billion people, and I feel like I’m not doing my job if I spend any of my energy on things that are silly or frivolous about my life, so that way I can dedicate all of my energy towards just building the best products and services and helping us reach our goal and achieve this mission of helping to connect everyone in the world and giving them the ability to stay connected with the people that they love and care about. So, that’s what I care about. Even though it sounds silly that that’s my reason for wearing a grey t-shirt every day, it is true.”
He then pointed out that others throughout history have done the same, like Steve Jobs, who was usually wearing a black mock neck.
There is actually a term for what Zuckerberg is talking about – “decision fatigue.” Research has shown that we only have the capacity to make so many sound decisions in a day, because making decisions is exhausting.
One study by researchers at Stanford and Ben Gurion Universities found after analyzing more than 1,100 court decisions that judges deciding parole cases were 70 percent more likely to approve parole for prisoners who appeared in the early morning than for those who appeared later in the day.
What this means for the rest of us? We can all learn from this. Simplify as many decisions in your daily life as you can, so you can have optimal decision making capacity for the important things. You’ll experience less stress and make better decisions. Also, if you’re a prisoner seeking parole, try to get your hearing in the morning.
Here’s the whole session;