599 - How Friction Can Help You Change Your Life

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By Gregg Clunis. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

In this episode, we look at the role that friction plays in personal development.

Sponsor: http://blinkist.com/tinyleaps

The Problem:

How many times have you thought to yourself, “I can’t seem to stop drinking soda, I just don’t have the willpower” Or maybe you blame it on a “sweet tooth.” Or you’ll say something like “If I weren’t so lazy, I would exercise more.”

Statements like this, whether we intend them to or not, reinforce an idea that our bad habits are determined by a set of characteristics we were born with. Our habits are fixed because “that’s just how I am.”

Let me make something clear – you were not born lazy, or unorganized, or with a sweet tooth. You developed those attributes later in life through a combination of factors but they are not inherently a part of who you are.

This means you can break them.

Digging Deeper

In 1936 Kurt Lewin formulated the statement: “Behavior is a function of the Person in their Environment.”

Lewin, who earned the unofficial title the founder of Social Psychology, was a German American psychologist born in 1890.

Lewin took a complex subject – what drives human behavior - and broke it down into one sentence. “Behavior is a function of the Person in their Environment.”

It is a formula for understanding how positive life changes can come about and highlights just why bad habits can be difficult to break.

So if behavior is a function of the Person in their Environment then there are two things that can be changed. The Person or the Environment.

The Solution

Whatever habit you want to change, one way to start is to look at how you could either increase or decrease the amount of effort, or friction, it takes to make it happen.

In this way you do not have to rely on willpower and can instead tap into the power of our unconscious behaviors.

We may take the brain for granted on a day to day basis but it uses an enormous amount of energy. This is why our brain takes tasks and turns them into habits. By shifting the burden over to the sub-conscious we use less energy while still allowing those tasks to be accomplished.

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