The Comfort of Consistency
There’s a few videos I’ve seen floating around the internet that are really fascinating to me. The videographer has captured a moment that happens daily or weekly, and it always happens the same way. For instance, here’s a video of a professor who walks into his classroom in the same way every day, saying “Hello” while holding a stack of papers in his left hand.
In another one a sibling picks up their sister from school, and she greets them the same way every single day – by shouting their name and running toward them. It’s super cute.
I find the public’s fascination with these videos fascinating in its own way. Why do we like videos like this? What is so interesting about them? Is that they’re slightly hypnotic? Watching the professor walk in the same every day is almost comforting, when you watch it for a while.
I don’t know if there’s a name for these types of videos, but I’d label them as “consistency porn.” The comfort that humans get from consistency is really astounding. So much so, that when I was a teacher and we were taught to provide consistency, we’d go as far as to make sure that if there were any changes to our classroom, that we rolled them out slowly so as not to upset the kids. It turns out that changing a kid’s environment too quickly can feel unsafe to the child.
A rhythm, a balance, the feeling of certainty… all of these are soothing to children. And if something is soothing for children, then chances are it is also soothing to adults. Why we pretend to grow out of such needs is a mystery to me. Ask anyone in your life about the importance of consistency, and they’ll all have some kind of daily routine that keeps them sane.
So to watch these videos, as cute as the content can sometimes be, is really a mind journey to a place of comfort. It’s a reminder that underneath all the stresses of daily life, there are little pockets of certainty and consistent action that keep our world turning.