Switch by Chip & Dan Heath

Your brain is not of one mind. We are all schizophrenics. We are just used to it. One side is our emotional self, the elephant, and intellect, the rider.

Freud wrote about the selfish id and the conscientious superego and also about the ego, which mediates between them. More recently, behavioural economists dubbed the two systems the Planner and the Doer.

Our emotional side has its weaknesses: It’s lazy and skittish, often looking for the quick payoff (Ice cream cone) over the long-term payoff (being thin).

The rider can’t keep the elephant on the road to reach the destination.

The elephant’s hunger for instant gratification is the opposite of the Rider’s strength, which is the ability to think long term, to plan, to think beyond the moment (all those things that your pet can’t do).

But what may surprise you is that the Elephant also has enormous strengths and that the Rider has crippling weaknesses. The Elephant isn’t always the bad guy.

Emotion is the Elephant’s triumph – love and compassion and sympathy and loyalty. That fierce instinct you have to protect your kids against harm – that’s the Elephant. He also gets things done. Making progress toward goal.

Rider tends to over analyze and overthinks things.

The gloves experiment. People in a company saw a table covered in gloves for employees. They were bought for £3 to £17, exactly the same ones. They realized the mistake and this experiment got the Rider and the Elephant too.

If the Rider and the Elephant disagree about something, you have a problem. Rider can get his way temporarily – he can tug on the reins hard enough to get the Elephant to submit. Anytime you use willpower you’re doing exactly that. But Rider can’t do it for long, he gets exhausted. Willpower is like a muscles lifting bench press, it gets exhausted.

Much of your daily behaviour, in fact, is more automatic than supervised, and that’s a good thing because the supervised behaviour is the hard stuff. It’s draining.

When you hear people say that change is hard because people are lazy or resistant, that’s just flat wrong. In fact, the opposite is true: Change is hard because people wear themselves out. And that’s the second surprise about change: What looks like laziness is often exhaustion.

If the Rider isn’t sure exactly what direction to go, he tends to lead the Elephant in circles. What looks like resistance, is a lack of clarity.

Shrink the problem or a goal to a minimum. If you want to make $1,000,000 a year, shrink it to $2,740 a day then

$114 an hour if you have 24h business

Or try 3 customers a day where each of them brings $900

Adam Wojnar

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