Choice architecture, punitive nudges, and pissing on house flies

posted by Eivind on January 19, 2010, at 11:32 pm

Another awesome episode of the New Man Podcast is out. Seems like I'm liking them more and more. Tripp Lanier is doing an excellent job with these shows. I've learned a lot from them!

This week they talk about why New Year's resolutions are like Vegas marriages. Good thing to contemplate in these days when so many of you probably have a lot of your personal integrity hinging on keeping them (making promises to yourself that you don't keep is the surest way to losing your personal power and vitality. Heck, it can even destroy your sex life).

They are also talking about choice architecture; how you can set up your environment to work with you, not against you. For me, that means not using my iPhone as an alarm clock. Leaving it on the nightstand means I end the day reading e-mails and checking the web and I start the day in the same way. And when I do that, I'm off on a tangent already. Not good for my focus. That's why I got myself a good old-fashioned alarm clock at a Brookstone store at Portland International airport in October. The concept is that even when you are unconscious, your environment should facilitate your movement towards success.

There's also some great stuff about why perfectionism is such a lousy thing (my motto is "progress is good enough"), how you should set up a punitive nudge system with a partner to force yourself to follow through (I've done this for several years, and believe me - it works big time!), why hope is the raw material of losers (unless you're Barack Obama), and a fun story about why house flies in a urinal at an airport reduced urine spilling by 80%.

All in all, a fantastic episode. Check it out.

Eivind

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