The biggest difference between Americans and Europeans, is that the Americans strive for convenience, and are not willing to simply accept life's difficulties. To my mind, that is praiseworthy. <br><br>Image Credit: http://kirity-kitty.deviantart.com/art/Only-in-America-132177826

The biggest difference between Americans and Europeans, is that the Americans strive for convenience, and are not willing to simply accept life's difficulties. To my mind, that is praiseworthy.

Image Credit: http://kirity-kitty.deviantart.com/art/Only-in-America-132177826

Why I Admire Convenience Loving Americans

The differences between Europeans and Americans hit me hard during my time in France and Iceland. By far, the biggest one is that Americans chase after convenience more than any  other country in the world.

While a typical European traveler will happily scale peaks and get the best hiking shoes, the American will ask “Where is the elevator”?

The European will purchase economically sized and efficient camping gear. They will get tiny little grills and fit everything into a couple of bags. The American demands a hotel room in the wilderness.

The European will scrupulously purchase extra food on Fridays and before 8:00 pm since all the shops close beyond those deadlines. The American on the other hand is outraged at the lack of 24×7 convenience stores.

Anyone who has spent significant time in these two continents will tell you the same thing. Americans prefer the comfort of their cars, despise walking, and pay with credit cards even when it’s a few dollars. Europeans are more accommodating of life’s difficulties. They take it in their stride.

This article may look like a knock on Americans. But believe me, the opposite is true. I deeply admire and respect a culture that glorifies laziness. That refuses to just sit back and let reality dictate terms to them. It’s a trait close to my heart and in my mind, epitomizes the essence of humanity.

When an animal like a dog or a cat wants to sit in a spot occupied by a rock, they move around and find somewhere else to lie down. The animal accepts its environment and molds itself to fit. Humans on the other hand, move the rock and sit where they damn well please. It is the defining characteristic of our species. We do not adapt to the environment. We make the environment adapt to us.

If a forest blocks our way, we don’t go around. We burn a road into the middle. When it’s too warm to preserve food, we don’t change our food habits. We create artificial cold. When a place is too far away to visit, we don’t sit around in our homes and give up. We build cars, trains, and airplanes to take us there.

This is how humans interact with their environment. It’s not in our nature to simply accept life’s realities as they are. It’s in our nature to change that reality. And this cannot be done without a fundamental quality of laziness. Those who are not lazy will put up with the existing situation and suffer. The lazy person finds a way to get the work done without putting in the effort.

I’ve noticed that Europeans are much more likely to simply accept life’s inconveniences compared to Americans. No wonder Americans invented the fridge, the practical cars, the airplanes, the Internet, and a host of other stuff that’s designed to make our life easier.

I have no doubt that one day, an American will find the pill or procedure to prevent obesity. While Europeans will struggle to eat right and exercise, the Americans will simply find a way to eat whatever the hell they want and still not get fat.

Everyone shits on America for being a land of fat, lazy people with no self control who are addicted to an easy lifestyle. But from my perspective, that is what makes the country great. You want life to be easier. You want people to find an easier way to do something. There is no moral benefit in suffering. And for that reason, the American lifestyle encapsulates the spirit of mankind far more than any other in the world.

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Comments

  1. Lol….loved reading this piece. Your observations about Americans and Europeans are spot on. Although I don’t necessarily agree, I must admit I love the American way of life too :)

    Reply

  2. Sir,

    Once more, a good article by you.

    My personal opinion however is that Americans try to find a way around every hurdle instead of living with it as Indians do. No wonder the US is still one of the most favored nations for migrants despite it having considerably fallen in several aspects like economy and military through the decades.

    Europeans and Japanese people as well are not too far behind, the only difference being that they don’t focus on being fed convenience 24×7 but rather prefer it for lengthier purposes while Americans want convenience in everything.

    On the good side, it saves time. On the bad side, it rather makes everyone too dependent. Everything anyway has good and bad sides, so why not appreciate Americans over this!

    Thanks.

    Reply

    • In reply to Iniyavel

      Some things are counter intuitive. For example, living in more clustered areas allows one to have an efficient public transportation system – which is often more convenient than a car. So it’s difficult to compare certain aspects…

      Reply

  3. Totally spot on.

    My first time in France, I had to starve the day after I arrived because I discovered to my horror that nothing is open on a Saturday. On Sunday morning, I gave in to hunger and took the train to Paris to find some food.

    Wait until you discover that the neighborhood grocer actually goes on vacation for the whole month of July closing his shop…I’m not kidding, this is a cultural ritual that happens in every commune in France. The baker and the grocer take turns going on vacation, one goes in June and the other in July…

    Try to open a French bank account and you will literally cry for the conveniences in the good ol’ USA.

    While in the US, I had become used to travelling totally “penniless” with nothing but my credit card. In Europe the cash tends to pile up, especially the change, because everything less than 5 Euro is coins and you cant possibly chuck 2 Euro coins into the trash.

    Germany is a lot better than France in most respects and keeps getting better. The shops are open longer these days in Germany, although waking up and suddenly discovering a holiday is still not uncommon.

    Here is my favorite observation that sums up the differences between Americans and Europeans. While flying across the Atlantic, US Airways (my usual airline of choice) would ask people to pay for headphones to use the in flight entertainment. The Americans would all complain and shell out $5 for them. The Europeans had checked in advance and brought their own headphones :)

    But then, my favorite thing in Europe is those rock bottom fares on Ryanair and WizzAir and Germanwings. The last one has become pricier though…

    Reply

  4. tarish kaushik says:

    Now the Bharatiya context:
    As the tale goes: An American was visiting India decades back, in the fifties, I presume. As he sat back in his deluxe a/c cooled car, his chauffeur toured him across the indian countryside.
    In the farms and fields on both sides of the country road he saw people working under the hot noon sun.
    Suddenly he saw a middle aged farmer taking a nap under the shade of a tree. He ordered his driver to stop the car and then he huurried over to that sleeping farmer and conversed with him in broken Hindi. The rich American asked the farmer what he was doing in the fields. The kisan replied that he was tired from labouring hard in his fields all morning and was resting. The amercano started lecturing him on how he should mechanise his farm to avoid labour and earn more money and have all the creature comforts as he himself had as a rich American. The kisan asked the amricano what he would do after mechanising the farms operations and having more gadgets and conveniences.
    Replied the American that the kisan could then rest more.
    “But that is what I am doing right now anyway, replied the kisan”.
    I rest my case for the state of mind called ‘ rest in peace ‘.

    Reply

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