« Good Life Project

Becoming Indistractable | Nir Eyal

2019-09-03 | 🔗

Five years ago, Nir Eyal showed the world how tech-companies build apps, games, and platforms that highjack your attention and become near impossible to stop using in his book, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products. That book became a global phenomenon and opened people's eyes to the power of technology to not just help, but consume our lives. His new book, Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life (https://amzn.to/2KXnkMx), serves as a guidebook for getting the best of technology and reclaiming our attention, without letting it get the best of us. In addition to writing and speaking, Eyal has also lectured at Stanford's Graduate School of Business and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. You can find two tools references in the conversation here: schedule maker tool (https://nirandfar.com/schedule-maker/) | distraction guide (https://www.nirandfar.com/distractions/).


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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
I first stumbled upon the work of my guest today near I out when he came out with his book about five years ago, called a hot hoped. Was this deep dive into constructing how some of the biggest tech companies an app developers develop their platforms, their acts, their tools that programmes to make them sort of irresistible like you start playing them and you can't stop and then you keep going back over and over and over again and in that book he laid out sort of a force that process that all of these he's already know about, but as a reader, you can actually see what was happening in a kind of arms to understand what was going on and then to make different choices and to understand, and maybe step out of the. with streams of them devices and technologies and programmes, he hasn't new, got now called indestructible which,
in my mind, is almost the port to two hopped, because it picks up where hook left off, as is ok, but what do we? really do you like me more of a detailed science back road map to actually be able reclaim a sense of agency and intention and control over my life without having to clean completely step away from technology like I want to engage with this on a daily basis, but how do we in a way which is conscious and constructive and intentional conversation both covers a bit of his background, how he came to these explanations, and then we really deep dive into the depths that we take an deconstruct them. He does a lot of really powerful myth, busting that open my eyes to suicide. Did you share this conversation with you on jonathan field, and this is good life project? the how does a I even work where it is creativity, come from
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So the ten percent happier podcast has one guiding philosophy. Happiness is still that you can. It's a why not embrace it. It's hosted by dan harris journalists who had a panic attack on national television and then send out on this journey of transformation and he's now on a quest to help others also achieve peace and happiness, and every week Dan talked you top scientists, meditation teachers. Even the odd celebrity in wide ranging conversations that explore topics like productivity, anxiety and lightness, psychedelic and relationships. The interviews cover everyone from bernay brown to cerebral ass to SAM Harrison more. I love learning from his questions and experiences and incredible guess think of listening to ten percent happier as a work out. For your mind, fine ten percent happier where every listen to pot casts a cut a relish turning over applegarth a little bit myths carried out throughout my work that they have always done it's kind of two to look for either deeper insight
its or unconventional inside so counter intuitive insights, and that's what I really enjoy So what were you into as a kid, and I always think, did you have a thing watching tv villa gas shadow right. This is the eightys we didn't know right. We Herod S, advice, genes or big big body. I was clinically obese. Kennedy. I remember going to fat camp and my mom taking me to the doktor and near the doktor, showing me a chart and sing. Ok, here's Normal, wait. Here's overweight hears you here in the obese category. And I think there was another experience. A cut of looking back in retrospect really shaped my view. world in that- I remember being having this feeling that food was controlling me. And it wasn't until I got control back that in retrospect they could- get that situation analyzing, oh, what what was going on in my life and its actually, not that far of leap from how food controlled me too. What I-
the research and write about about how technology affects our behaviour yeah, I mean it all serve these things at our body- gets wired into in various ways and dependent on like, depending on he talked to using the word addicted to it, to a certain extent, for you when did that when it Your relationship, your understanding and your weight, starter shaft! Was it earlier or was it much later in life? It was a when I got interested in girls and they weren't interested in me. So I you know in Florida everybody has employee we we didn't, have a pool. We had, we lived in a condo complex and there was one pool for the entire complex and I would get together with my friends for school or on weekends, and we would go to the pool and I I'd never take my shirt off. I would go into the pool with my shirt on because I didn't they will. You see my roles and you know when I notice that the people are getting girlfriends, friends- and nobody was paying attention to me if you have something to say so, lonely frank
and I wanted to do something about it. So slicer researching had had a lucid wait yet what was I mean as a kid to take that on yourself is kind of big burden, but it's also a need to do to do that. and to be successful at it. Now is unusual. I still struggle where I wait. I'd still something that I have to think about on a daily basis. I think my natural tendency is one example, this book about distraction and the natural reaction is oh, you must have a lot of self control. You must have a loss of discipline, know exactly the opposite. I do not have a lot of self discipline. That's why I need to write this book, because I wanted to look for the answers, for how do I do I say I want to do It took me a really long time because I went down a lot of dead ends. One of the most common mistakes? I would made his eye. I would go on these binge diets as many we'll do right out. Ok, three days, no fast
thirty days scene of vinegar and current pepper, whatever in the networks of course it it's? This whole idea of a temporary diet doesn't work. Why would we do a temporary diet? If we do, we want to be healthy temporarily? No, we want to be healthy for the rest of our lives and so I will do. Is these fad diet for thirty days? And then you don't happen on day thirty one it all comes back. Are you you eat in excess when, when near off the diet, and then using these? That's exactly the advice we here given today when it comes to our digital distractions. Death, do a digital detox right going to thirty day plan and its wrong, and it doesn't work for the exact same reasons, because it doesn't look at the real reasons why we over use some, whether its food or technology. I wasn't eating because I was hungry right. I never aid because I was hungry. I ate
because of what I was feeling and what I couldn't deal with inside and that's really the source of why we over use technology that was gonna. My and it was an obvious to me at first but the more I I deauville into this field of distraction, not just technology distraction but all distractions quest. Why don't we do what we say we're going to do This is a really old question right. Socrates and Aristotle talked about a twenty five hundred years ago. They called it a quasi others tendency to do things against our better interest, it's really instant question right, we know what to do. We know we should eat helpfully. We know we should exercise we know if we want to have a good relationship with our our loved ones? We have to be fully present with them. We know that if we want excel at our jobs. We have to do the work, especially the hard work. Why, We do it that's an interesting question and it turns out that the court, all that. Are what we call internal triggers, these uncomfortable emotional states that we seek to escape from and if we Don'T- deal with those internal triggers we use.
distractions as passive fires. There is as yet. It's a everyone's looking for more information. Like the next thing, like the new thing, I need to learn something new or something bigger, something different cause. That's going to help me solve the problem room, we're reading couple years ago, Derek overshoot the sentence which something like if, if more information was the problem, we'd all be billionaires with six pack abs. So true, so that's exactly the point. There is no information from we all know. Basically, we know that chocolate cake is not as healthy for us as we should be exercise writing all this stuff is not a knowledge issue. That's right, and so I didn't see. I only write books that I look for and can't find it. So I read everything else on this topic and didn't find the answer I was looking for because many books tell you what to do. They dont tell you how to now, do the things you know you shouldn't do, and so that's really what I what I wanted to write about, yeah and I jump back into it and a lot more detail. Yeah. Let's fill a little bit more of your story in the massage circle. We'll work our way back there and you
been emory universally would actually study. I studied political science econ and because you wanna two or because forty eight hours always I audio, and that was most people I knew ended up. There were just like. I can't figure anything out before I know I so I had. I did a gap year between high school and college. I was the second class of Americorps, which has a domestic peace corps, korea, so this was nineteen. Ninety six and Clinton had when this into law is domestic peace corps, so I said: for a year in south west atlanta, the slots and in an underprivileged school, and it was a really eye opening experience in that you know. Basically, you get paid minimum wage plus a scholarship at the end of five thousand dollars, and and it it. You know I I, into the experience thinking, direct service was the solution, a kind of of
If I can get in there, I can fix things, and I was by the end of the experience. I was surprised that too There were systemic problems that I didn't appreciate and I think, because of that awareness. That's why I got interested in place. I and ii kind at it, because it's it's not that simple and and with many of our problems in life We always wheat. We tend to want the simple solutions. We want the simple story. This is called approximate cause as opposed to the root cause of the problem so I I remember going to college one. I was really invigorate right, so that europe, I hadn't, realized fortunate I was how had won the scene of genetic lottery of growing up as a heterosexual white male in a family that could send me to go to college and then taking that year off and doing direct service and seeing what it's like to live on minimum wage and seeing the lives of the kids I work
with me, some of them literally. This was this- was in a pretty rough part of atlanta dirt floors, like literally, I would go to their homes and they have turret floors in the united states if you can believe it, and so I felt of real responsibility too, can do something with this opportunity of going to college. I'm so glad I went because I'm sure had I not had that gap here I would just said? Okay, this is more school is just a continuation of high school. I suppose when I landed first week, a school to get very seriously, and I wanted to figure out like how can I haven't I systemically change some of our problems in the world. Yet I made such a powerful shift in the mindset you bring to the whole college experience rain physiology go there with a sense of purpose right right then a sense of all figured out the way, which is what most of us in doing so you get at it at a memory, though, and you that may not be fiji right, don't get somewhere near. So I went from being, ah very politically
liberal too, I am still socially quite liberal, but when I took my first economics classes and I I kind of learned again that the proximal versus the root causes of problems it. I I became a what I would I mean to me. Of course everybody says they're a realist, but I think I got to have a more realistic view. Of how many times good intentions go awry that its it is really incentives I mean I I saw first hand in the public school system how insane is for teachers create some pretty crazy results and that's not my area of expertise. So I don't want to go into a ton of depth there other than my my gap year. That's that's what I know of the experience, but I I I remember kind of through these economics classes having a much greater appreciation for the power of business, to change people's lives and that when people are empowered to start companies to build products to help their customers through it
sent through the profit motive through the incentive of the profit motive. We have more choice. We have technological innovation, and so that became, I think, my vehicle force. Seeking to change the world? Ah through better products and services that that serve more people? Of course, capitalism is perfect by any. I had the imagination, but That was kind of a vehicle that I that I chose. Sir. I beseech you to answer question beseech tee. Was I didn't plan to be a consultant forever? long, the passing insulting group was away a kind of get my footmen door in the business world, because economics is very different from the practical ba they business air, essentially also you bring the surely the idea of business It's as a mode of genuine social change. One can have an effective social change has, which is not the easiest thing in the henderson its tension around that having so many of us see, so many people aspire to try and make about marriage work.
and sometimes it do sometimes down something to do with like really noble intention and they go in and realize await. Ashy didn't really understand the problem on the level that I thought I did them, potentially even causing more harm, without intention at all, but it's it's been injured Is he sorta, like that dance and the awakenings in the learning over the probably decade, or so as a lot more? People are waiting in the sort of four purpose business space now near, I think, there's also need to realise that dumb, Innovation and social change through business doesn't promise that everything will be smooth sailing. Where we get this notion that if we have a problem, The socialist system that, with a system out, we do with called stumbling through technological progress, is always a process of stumbling through sophocles at twenty five hundred years ago that nothing vast,
the life of mortals without a curse. So whenever you have a huge technological change, you are going to have problems, and so what you do you continue to innovate? You fix problems of the last generation of technology with the next generation of technology. That's how it works. There's a certain amount of sorted continued grace. There has to be relevant to the process of right go from there, then into your own business, renewable energy near. I started within the solar energy business, so this is when we were was two thousand three. with the united states was going into the second iraq war, pretty good hunch that fuel prices would increase, as they always did with wars. In the middle East- and had not brought to go into the solar energy business back when I saw this opportunity that I had learned reich, I was able to identify because it makes beers beseech tee. I learned about this idea of economies of scale and I base
They had an opportunity to create a professional, solar energy. installation and distribution company. Can I solar city with diversity that does today now it's part of tesla, but this way before source it to get started, the timing is really good and I started business with my wife and we can avert. Did the sails and getting in distribution with folks who are already on long island, we did right here in long island and we saw the company fears later and ghana gun on her feet. Financially from that, and then you end up back in school, then yeah. So I applied to one business school I applied to Stanford, and the reason I mean what was the? Why at that point I remember reading these stories about these people in silicon valley. Who were you know doing really well, I'm building these amazing companies and they had oh inventory and I m everything there's really allows us about all the things I had a warehouse fully other animals that I would have to fill.
if you do it in the spring, in anticipation of the summer installation season, and then we had to sell down all that inventory and if the inventory didn't sell, it was on my back right and I'm thinking. Oh, my gosh. You can make a living selling bits instead of physical, good. That's amazing I guess understand this, and so you have the hotbed of of of this was in silicon valley, and so I was trying to figure out how to how to get into silicon valley with some kind of you know programme, and so had I not gotten into stanford business school, I would have just continued to to stick with the solar business down, but the the acceptance letter came through yet was at the time one was it that will, I guess beach if I was errors or italy in his back when they called it, the persuasive territory. I don t live here: did you spend it with him. When you were there, I did. I went to a workshop that he conducted at his home years ago. Week end that long workshop,
and also good timing right. I had good timing with solar and I had a good timing when it came to persuasive technology, because this was two thousand and sixty thousand seven, so facebook was just hitting its stride and, and my some of my friends were launching at is that the abs back then, by the way didn't mean cell phone apps cause nobody had an iphone back, then this was two thousand and six and apps meant facebook apps, and these Look apps would be installed by millions of people. There are silly, you know, throwing sheep and mentally farmville type stuff, but it was amazing to see how big they could get and how Some of them became very engaging while others flopped, and that was that was very interesting to me. I want to figure out why that was happening. yeah I may as it is so ensuring the work that he is. He it's done over the years. It's really interesting. Also for those who don't know be J, ran this lab, which really deconstructed behavioral design, especially in in the relationship with technology and
many of the developers, something must didn't addictive and broadly used apps out there on the planet now actually were students of his at one point, whether his class, so you come out of that and sure intention leaving their so I started a business with some classmates, and my wife as well would start our second coming together and that the gaming in advertising space. So we were, we were putting virtual goods which at the time We were. We raised several million dollars from milk, kleiner perkins and a few other investors, and they kind of that. We were crazy Equally, we have for those who didn't invest your virtual goods. We talking about ray you're selling, nothing in cyberspace people are paying you money for like these little icon things that are, of course, today some malta. billion dollar industry, but back then it was Nathan and so they were. There wasn't really much much to prove in terms of market size and by we. We ran that company for a few years
we saw that company and but in the course of starting that company, I saw the intersection of gaming and advertising these two industries, that are we dependent on changing people's behaviors advertisers. Don't and all that money for their health. They do because it persuades people in game companies, design, experience, interactive experiences to progress. You through a game and so I had his front row seat to see how price were designed along with, though the work of each a fog it has exposed to their and dumb. When last company wrapped up. I had a hypothesis that, ah, as the interface shrinks as we went from desktop in a big screens on the desktop to smaller screens on the laptop to mobile device is to wearable devices like the apple watch and now auditory devices roy. You like the amazon alexa as the screen.
and shrank and eventually disappeared habits would become more important that as a company, if you're not on the first screen of someone's phone, if you're not top a mind, if you're not a habit, you might as well not even exist. right, because they're gonna forget about you and they're, not going to use your product or service. So I spoke at this is gonna, be really important. Habits are going to matter. To probably designed a to business in general is a huge competitive edge where's the book, how to build habit forming products- and I couldn't find it and so on and researching this, and I spent a lot of time in the snow. Library librarian talking to experts, and I had access to a lot of these people who were making these like the services and talking to them and I started blogging about it just means for my own edifice. As a as I was learning I started blogging about. It, then, I had. I got an email from a professor mind, mine baba at Stanford, who were eyes very highly regarded neuroscientist and teaches at the business school, and he said. Look I really like your model. I really like your stuff. Let's teach a class together
and so he was very gracious and kind of allowed me to to design a curriculum for a first class and that led into teaching for many years at stanford it is a school and then later the design school and what I taught that class became hooked became my first book and that first exposure to you actually was. I found her toward a comment. Twenty levity, Fourteen zoology self published two doesnt thirteen, but both professionally published edition was due, doesn't work in vienna and I found that book in the book basically lays out, relate the four key elements. Do aid, sir, like a product which has which will use built into it where you, sir, you start using it, and you can keep going deeper and deeper into britain. It literally becomes a part of you are your identity in your daily life and it's kind of like an automated thing, and I read that book and- and I had this this- the split reaction to a one on like this. And brilliant like now. You know I can see how all these things are working making, potentially
myself against, but also that we can learn from matrix, inter alia, and then the other hand- and I'm also thinking of somebody Who'S- an entrepreneur who's, always making stuff haha like this is really like. Now I can sorta like deconstruct me. Constructing and diagnose, like you, know, different things, especially if I want to create offerings that are in some way constructive for people's lives. I would love to see ternata habits and the other side of my brain is saying but this is also a road map for people and businesses who are looking to create product frames outer similarly habit forming that may not be constructive in people's lives. when an m sure your thoughtful guy that that you grappled that on some level, surely surely cretin. How do we bring this public in a way which is actually beneficial circling, although we that your time in america or in likeness Underline drive to actually do eleanor. I write so You really hit on the two reasons why I wrote the book. The first reason was to help democratize these techniques that people reading hooker,
the social media networks there, not the gaming companies. They have known these techniques for decades. What I wanted to do was to democratize these techniques, so people we could use them to build all sorts of healthy habits, so you know the the. In the five years since hooked was published, I've received thousands of emails from people or companies like a fit bod that builds an exercise habit the gym for folks products like there's education products, there are used by millions of children these days that use the hook model products People save money to exercise more to eat healthily may in a five year. Addition has come in the fall. I talk about all these products and how they ve used the hook model and dumb unite. That's the problem with business. Today's is by and large not that price.
Suck you in the way that facebook and twitter might the real problem for most businesses out there is that their products just suck. That's the real problem, nobody's getting addicted to sas software and are forced to use ass off where that awful, but they don't want to use, and so my idea was what, if we could democratize these techniques to build healthy habits in users' lives? That's really what hooked is for now and the other reason I wrote hooked was you know I wanted to his people to see how these products are built in hope it. You could do something about it you. Didn't like these habits, I wrote a section
called the morality of manipulation. Of course I've been thinking about the ethics of as for a very long time, which is a guide to help. You use these techniques effectively in an immoral in a very moral way to build healthy habits and user lives and the most important section. The book of of hooked is the very very last chapter, and the very last chapter is the only case study the only chapter devoted to a case study of one product and that one prime What is the bible app? I didn't choose to do a case study on a video game or a social network. I did a case. The bible app, which is one of the most successful acts of all time. Hundreds of millions of people use this ep everyday ellie had daily and they use the hook model. Essentially, when I talked about a grin while he didn't know he was using the hook model, the time to the junta wasn't published yet, but he used model essentially when we broke down his appy using it to form this habit. Infected, told me it is good and a good one
We then he got an email from one of his users that he was this user was about to walk into a strict club and at tat moment he got a ping on us own from the bible app, he said. Oh, my god, the lord is trying to tell me. So any turns around and leaves the strict club to think so. The reason I used the Bible ass. It was very intentional I want to say: hey, be like facebook, be like instant be like. Whatever wanted to show people that that this is a little bit more nuanced again. In binary thinking this isn't good vs evil? If you want good, vs, evil reduced a rita nursery rhyme right that that's not the real world. There's nuance here. So if you believe that the bible that organized religion brings people together, gives them purpose gives meaning ism connection. Then you think that the bible as a wonderful habit, but if you think that religion is a force for device-
nests among people that it's giving the misinformation that it's not true than you probably think the bible app is a bad habit, and so we really have to be careful about making these moral judgments about what's good for other people. I think that it really comes down to a few factors it comes down to who is using the product, how much through using the product what they're doing with the product and what they would be doing. Out the product. So, for example, if I told you page aren't you know what I'm thinking about starting a routine of running that a good habit? Is that a good thing for me to do we're running. That's it! That's a good thing! That's healthy! told you, you know what actually on the and I want you. This habit is because I can't stay in my work, and my wife is driving me crazy and my kids are are just unbearable and the only way I can get out of my head for a little bit is you going to run and not to think about. My problems may not have to deal with them within you.
To actually buddy, you know what that's not at a great habit. I would probably think about may be dealing with what's going on your life, but then, if I, you actually. You know what I'm running is what I'm gonna do, because I used to have a problem with alcohol eddie, to be the only way I could I I could deal with my problems was to escape them through drink and now I'm I can find some solace in a run and that's a much more healthy behavior. Well, he's! Okay! Great! That's! That's a that's! Not that's a wonderful habit so it's more complicated than just diversity, evil! It's it's not quite so simple For sure I mean it's, it's the buddhist lands on our right. Nothing is either innately good or bad. It's not like it's it's the contacts that makes it so much. I bet you got
this is a check from Carvana. I just sold my car to them. I went online and Carvana gave me an offer right away, then they just picked up the car and gave me this big check. Obviously you could put this towards your next car or we could finally get that jacuzzi or I could start taking tuba lessons or I could quit my job and write my memoir or I can put it towards my next car with Carvana. Sorry, your check, I might sell your car to Carvana visit, Carvana dot com or download the app to get a real offer in second Good project is supported by new, so it's that time of the year, where a lot of oak start to think about their fitness schools getting their bodies moving myself included. I actually recently started playing a lot more attention to how I was fuelling my body and also really came to realize that I was carrying a lot of information in my body and potential disease risk in the form of weight. So I wanted and intelligent and sustainable and supportive way to increase my health lose the weight and info
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notes and user promo code. Good life choose. I herb because, while miss matters since that that book has come and, like you said, also the it's not like industry. Insiders didn't know this stuff and word deep down and actually building this into every here they were doing it's really the rest of the world that do not really understand what was happening, just kind of say I ha so to a certain extent it it gives people a sense of agency right Brenda knowing how the hook model works, means you can break the hook and so indeed practical. My my follow up is a more detailed guide that you, how to put all the strike in their places. So five years later, so hook comes out five years in the right way ahead of the studio, and now this new book indestructible comes out in the eu, this- is this is kind of the logical. This is this is building on the idea and sort of saying okay. So we're going to really map out this, this next exploration of how to take control. Why did you end up This is why now near
ass, so that led the tipping point to start exploring this occurred shortly after I published hooked, and I was sitting with my daughter- we had this afternoon together, she's an only child, and I had this beautiful afternoon together and what things we were doing together was was reading through a book of activities that daddy's and daughters could do together, and you know you could make a paper airplane or all. These different activities in the book in one of the activities was to ask each other this question. If you could have any- superpower. What superpower would you want- and I was to tell you what my daughter said, but I can't because, in moment when she was answering this question, I was on my phone ignoring her, and I was dealing with some stupid e mail. Or something on social media and she got them. such that I was sending that my phone was more important than she was. and the next thing I knew I looked up and she left the room, she went to go play with a toy answer. Instead of playing with her dad, and I remember thinking this is messed up there
thing wrong here and to be totally with you Jonathan. If, if I told you that was the only time it happened, I believe they happen happened quite a bit. It happened not only in my ships? It happened at work, I sit down and right and died I think it distracted. I couldn't do the work I want to do a dumb. I was neglected, my health, I wasn't working out. I wasn't taken care of myself, and so I kept getting distracted, and so that's where I kind of when I chewed on this in this bother me for quite a while, especially because look I know as an insider who wrote the book, I know how things worked, and so I figured I need to figure out how to deconstruct this stuff. How do I understand how to put in place and dumb that's my started. Exploring solution to this Robin hood in such a fasting problem right weedin talked about earlier, but we know what to do. Why? Don't we do it right? I know that its round her
to ignore my daughter when we have time together? I know that I should do the work I plan for myself to do, and yet I get distracted, googling or sea going on slacker check email. Why don't I do this? As I say, I'm going to do, and so that's when I started dive into this whole topic. This was This was five years ago. My my first step was: I don't write a book unless I can't find, but as a book authority, but about this. As I read everything on this topic in every other book on this basically said, the problem is the distraction, so I bought rebook. I could possibly find, and they said it's technologies- fault technologies, melting, your brains was looking. Let me take their vice, so I went and alibaba about myself a twelve dollars, flip phone that heads no internet connection, no apps all was send and receive calls and text messages, when on ebay- and I brought by myself- and I were processor that day you did to make any more but has no internet connection. All you can do is type on it and, as a great I got rid of technology problem solved and sit down right
then I look behind me on the bookcase and others that Look. I've been meaning to read, and you know my desk kind of messy here? Let me just organise modest for an hour or the trash needs to be taken up and I'll costly destroy. Myself again and again without the technology is so clearly wasn't technologies what let alone the fact that I need this stuff most of us don't have the luxury of some college professor, this issue just stop using it. No are livelihoods depend on this stuff, so I need to find a better way So that's what I said. Ok, I want an answer for myself. First and foremost, Do I get this superpower of doing what it is. I say, I'm going to do. How do I live with personal integrity? I would never dream of lying to up to someone else. Why do I lie to myself all the time? And so that's really what the this process was about how do we do we say we're going to do. I mean it's interesting also to make that distinction between its technology. Doing this to me Verse is no actually
doing this. To me, the technologies is that those related device that I'm pointing to The reason why? But it's also disconcerting is so we have to stand in the centre of responsibility and potentially blame and also action taken and- and you know it like- you mention it's it's real. I'm a good bit: it's not like. You have an addiction to a substance where you know nuke and if you go through programme- and you can get yourself offered it, you can leave the rest of your life, never doing it and be clearly fine with technology it is so woven and in many ways so beneficial note. It give so much good to them, we live our lives and very often its necessary to the way we do our work and our livings. We can't just completely cut it out. go on for the rest of our lives, unless we want to become hermetic to a certain extent suits, you know the idea of completely eliminated from life and I'll be? Ok, it just doesn't.
work anyway? No is exactly what we talked about early with those binge diets here, right thirty days of of digital detox is I know effective than thirty days of no fastfood it. We have to deal with the root causes. Technology is the proximate cause, it's not the root cause. I think that that so that's a big theme of my work is is always look for. The root causes not approximate causes, because when we blame the proximate cause, it limits our understanding and it doesn't fix the problem, and we see that this is so prevalent today in our society, that we want an easy scapegoat to blame. Is technology that hijacking my brain. This term addiction my god. Everything is addictive. These These were all addicted. No, that is not true, and addiction is a pathology that is not what us experience with technology now? Why do people keep using this term? Why do people love saying the technologies addictive because when you haven't addiction, you have a pusher, you have a dealer, somebody's doing it to you,
whereas if we call it what it really is over use that right, hours now wait a minute. That's something I can do something about now little aspects here, a big aspects. Actually, some people do get a dick for sure some of you will get a ticket all sorts of things right. Many people drink alcohol, we're not alcoholics. We gamble we're, not our problem. Gamblers many people have sex are not sex attics, so lots of things can be addictive to some people, but not to move. people are used to say that the aim bogus had this quarter. I would repeat a lot saying that the technology is the secret of the century, and it's not true. It's not true, because cigarettes have nicotine In writing. When we end when we're smoke, we ingest nicotine and that affects our prefrontal cortex in a way that creates this chemical dependency. Apparently. what technology is much more like is not like cigarettes. It is much more like cannabis cannon.
As we know, has nothing chemically addictive about it, and its ironic, by the way in an age when we are, deregulating cannabis that people are calling to regulate technology. There is nothing addictive about cannabis. The experts will tell you. There is no nicotine and in cannabis, teach sees not chemically addictive insanely. Nicotine would be an yet nine percent of people who use cannabis have a cannabis use disorder. How can that be? How can it be that a substance that is not addictive addicts, people, because the lesson here is that any analgesic is potentially addictive to someone anything that solves pain, Anything that solves pain that is used by a sufficient number of people will addict someone. So when we have a product like facebook, that is used by two point: five billion people. Of course some people are going to get addicted to it and vote
people require our assistants right. This is I've been running about this for the past four years. Companies need a use and abuse policy. This is the one time legislation when it comes to this domain that I do think we need to regulate that. If companies are not willing to reach out and help those attics, they need to be regulated to do so but for the vast majority of us, it is not an addiction, it is not. It is over use, and one of the worst things we can do is to convey sars selves, then it's hijacking our brain that is addictive and its doing to us. Why? Because this creates a phenomenon of learned, helplessness we stop trying to do something about it, because the algorithms are doing it to us, because these big bad tech companies are doing it to us. It is so pernicious that is so unhelpful. We do have the power something about it. We just don't know how or we haven't tried there. I mean it since and sort of frame it out that way
I think about addiction, a lot of the conversation that I've had around addiction- and you know if it's in the same sentence with technology- is sort of split two, okay, so there's there is chemical addiction and then there's behavioral addiction, say somebody is a smoker or their use drugs late. What most people in conversations and had with people were executed that will tell me, is within three to five days. The chemical addiction, essentially is washed out of you, but the behavioral addiction remains because you have this, this loop that has been processed in the rain. Years and years and years, but what's interesting is that so much with the behavioral addiction is about circumstance. Its text related to this is why we saw when here had therapy. Who were in war where they were around a lot of opiates and a lot of our soldiers were uses when they were there, but they came back and almost then they all just stopped. You know and and
research was well at the chemicals agency pretty quickly, but it was felt that it was just all over the place. Then they didn't have to actively create, you know that their own behavioral changes or circumstantial changes when it came back here it wasn't around anymore. What end user yours setting for the vienna that right studying right where they there. It was a huge north because a third of vietnam entrance were using and a great regularly, and it's it's more than just they'll billowy, it was actually the circumstance of why they were using if you are in the hell of war that Was the vietnam war isolated ino, taking orders from incompetent generals you're, saying death all around you. The only logical thing to do would be to get out of your head right is right. I would have use air win if I was in the vietnam war fighting at bay happened when they came home and they had support families, they had communities they weren't,
in the hell of war. They didn't need the escape any more and so one of the models. I I want to perpetuate out there that I want people to know about. Is this idea that that addiction is a confluence of three things? Nobody is it's never just about the product. We love to think just the product. We love to think in others, Nancy reagan, notion of just say no, that if you just don't do drugs that that's all You do every just needs to say no, we know that's be as we know that doesnt work at it doesn't work, because it's never just about the product, nobody, steps on a heroine needle becomes a heroine act. It doesn't work that way me while millions of people receive highly addictive substances, for example, sentinel fenton Elvis, is one of the most addictive substances we know on the face of the earth mill. the women receive internal when they deliver a baby, vs ie section time
the percentage ever become addicted. One percent ever become addicted. Why it's a highly addictive substance, because it's never just about the product, it's a confluence of the product, the person and their pain. So one, of course, that of the product plays a role. The second component is the person, as the person have a predilection for addiction. When I was doing this, this research I talked to many experts who work with children who have a so called gaming disorder or a gaming addiction or a computer addiction. They told me that one hundred percent of the time one hundred percent a time there are a confluence of factors. There's a coal more with obsessive, compulsive d or a d something or a trauma in their life, there's something else going on in their lives. That is a comorbidity. That's associate why they are escaping so it requires a product. The person was predilection for addiction and then the third part, third critical component.
Is a source of pain that they cannot escape. Otherwise, they dont know how to deal with and healthier fashioned, so the The veterans in the vietnam war, when they were in this very painful, psychologically painful situation that they could not cape, otherwise they were looking to get out of their heads and, of course, drugs provide that relief and that's that's a very important insight. that even for people who are over users not addicted before the rest of us who sometimes over use technology or any product for that matter, whether its boozer internet pornography or gambling. Whatever might be. We have to ask ourselves what the source of that psychological discomfort. What are we looking too ass, a fine satiate? What feeling are we looking to escape in this unhealthy manner and And what we do about it, we can do either one of two things: we can either fix the source of the discomfort right, get out of that health, cape of war, that's causing you the discomfort, but in real life we can always do that. We can always fix the source of the problem. Many times
yeah, but not always so? The second answer is to learn techniques to cope with that discomfort, and so I talk about in many ways that we can actually all learn to deal with our discomfort and healthier manner? But that's that's the that's the most important step is to understand why we are seeking escape from this discomfort, gas at and I think, as uncomfortable as it is for so many people to stop pointing at a thing as the source of everything as all the source of their demise to say, ok, so sure It may play a role, but there's more going on here, and I have more ability to step in and exert control and change the outcome and change my my experience, then I thought that I and then the thing is you have to accept responsibility? Does she take action which people hate fifa, it'd, be like that. But now it's on me. If maybe I'll just live with it, yeah exactly exactly and that's and that's that's where I want to call bullshit a bit
in what way? Because no doubt in this day age that it's easier than ever to get distracted. If you are looking to get distracted it it's right there in europe. easier than ever and they will take advantage of you. Absolutely these when you know how to make you click and what makes you take better than understand yourself, and so, if you are not armed with these techniques, we don't know how to put this stuff in place. Yeah they're gonna get you they're gonna get you they're. Gonna get your kid. They're gonna get your colleagues in less. We know how to become indestructible. The good news is section at the heart of that right. There's just four steps: do it and anyone can do it yet can we walk through sir, like a high level explosion of those those things assuring yeah? So the forced us to becoming industry
well I'll, go through them super quick, and then we can dive into the areas that you think are particularly interesting. The first step is to master our internal triggers, which we talked about the most so far. The next step is to make time for traction. The third step is to hack back external triggers, and the fourth step is to prevent distraction with pacts. So let me let me back up and kind of paint. This picture in the listeners mind for this model that this idea that helps inform the strata. Behind how we manage distraction not so much the tactics right strategy. Sorry, ticks are what we do strategies why we do it. So if I can get across the street, you were the people by the book or not. I don't care. What I want people to understand is this: this strategy, this framework that they can make up their own tactics that work for them. So here's the strategy before we can talk about why we do things we don't want to do my wide. We get distracted, let's start with
the definition of distraction actually is what are we talking about when we say we use us where distraction the opposite of distraction is not focus. The opposite of distraction is traction. Right, traction and distraction, actually come from the same, let route to horror, which means to pull and both words end in a city. I, when action, right, distraction and action both and inaction, reminding us the things we do not things that happen to us things that we do actions we take. So if you can think of a big plus mark and on the horizontal axis, you have to the right an arrow pointing towards, traction things. We want to do actions that we do with intent. The opposite of traction is distraction. Any action we take that moves us away from we want to do now. This is really important, because what this model says is that anything that you want to do with your time, anything that you do with intent. Anything that is consistent with your values is traction. Do it if you, and
playing video games. Do it, if you want to meditate, do you gonna, take a long, walk and think of nothing. Do it. It's all traction, if you do it on your schedule, not on somebody else, and so. freeze us from this ridiculous moral high ground that people take. This is oh watching football is somehow o k for four hours, but playing minecraft or candy crush. That's not ok that somehow melting, your brain, that's ridiculous, they're, both pastimes, so whatever it is. You want to do with your time is up to you as long as consistent with your values, its also pre, pernicious, actually work. About it. This is what I see a lot with business professionals, they'll, say yeah. I wanted to do that big project. Today I have to putting a finished my slides or after under this bitter research, it's really hard heavy lifting by die. I needed to check my email, so I emailed for three hours will email, if that's not what you plan to do
also just as much of a distraction or ain't? It feels work ie, but this is what we call pseudo work. It feels like that's what you're supposed to do. It feels like traction, but it's not distraction tricked you, because, unless you planned to do that activity, it is also just as much of a distraction. So that's the horizontal axis and attraction distract okay. Now we get the vertical axis and the vertical axis. I want you to think of two arrows pointing to the center of where these lines intersect k, and these represent the two things that drive all of our behavior the triggers external triggers, an internal triggers, so external triggers are the ping, the dings the rings all of these things in our environment that give us of some piece of information for what to do next, I so if a phone rings, that's an external trigger that prompts you either traction or traction if you were waiting for that phone call, and that was what's on what you wanted to do. Will great moving towards traction, but if you're in the middle of
and to concentrate on a big project that requires focus in that, and you want to do something else and you get a phone call. Now it's moving towards distraction, so those are the external triggers. The most important is that that first step, the internal trigger So it turns out when the revelations that I had writing this this book was that I subscribed to. I think what most people is the nature of motivation that nature motivation according to freud was the pursuit of pleasure, I voted- no pain. The right freud's pleasure principle turns out it's not true that Logically speaking, neurologically speaking, it's not about the pursuit of pleasure avoidance, pain, factually pay all the way down that all human behavior is motivated by desire to escape discomfort, all human behavior, even wanting something that feels good wanting to connect with a friend wanting something? What what? What pleasurable desire is itself psychologically destabilizing and
what that means is that if everything Do even the pursuit of pleasure is really about the desire to escape an uncomfortable emotional state wanting craving desire. That means that time management is pain, management it was a big big revelation for me. I hadn't seen it kind of express this way before that. Fundamentally, if we don't do we say we're going to do it. The first step has to be figuring out what uncomfortable sensation we're trying to escape, and so I give techniques from acceptance and commitment there be it's not tonight. I hate these self help books if they will work for me right, tickled showers goes that's what work for me now. I want to see that that the peer reviewed study, everything I recommend- and I wanna try myself and it. Some really simple techniques that we can use to help us deal with those internal triggers in healthier manner, so that we can do things that are helpful as a two hurtful yeah I've. It so interesting that yesterday, when you really deconstructed also that its pain, our way down example,
people would they don't want who actually believe it's in the region? out of hand. My life is an all about. Pain is like I dont up in the morning and every action I take is not about avoiding some degree, pain. Like my motivation, for some things is love, it's delight, it's service, it's it's all these different things, and I mean you could probably look at each one of those and say: okay, so so that isn't fat you're like the the positive friend that you're putting on it, but What's underneath that that you want less of right or what are you or is the desire for that positive state itself uncomfortable which it always is red? The brain doesn't get us to act because something feels good. It gets us to act because something felt good right, right so and in one of the things that I take issue with in the self help personal development community. Is this
ocean. This false notion that somehow, if we're not happy for not satisfied that something's wrong with us, nothing could be further from the truth. You are built for dissatisfaction let our species is designed to never be satisfied. If there was ever a branch of homo sapiens that was set, this fight. They got killed and probably eaten by our ancestors right. They didn't make it so we are perpetually perturbed and there is a confluence of different cod works like heuristic, hedonic adaptation, idiotic negativity, bias, border ruminations back exactly, but the thing is most people will go into too. Can course when they get that when they get distracted, I call them the blame errors or the shameless the blame rs get distracted they you what they say. They want to do and they say you see, I have a short attention span or an addictive personality, the thing wrong with me right. Those are the blame the shameless say you see that company, that did it
they're trying to a dick meets their fault, and the answer is neither knew those are correct, because what this really is is behaviour and behaviour change than about blame is not about shaming it's about learning. How do we do with our behaviors in a more helpful manner and the or is really aren't? We really can do this. when did start getting so complicated, buying a home, complicated home finances. certainly not a walk in the park race. Kids, she hath it's a lot, then there's insurance. What am I See doesn't cover this or what? If I have to make a claim in the middle of the night good news state farm. Is there for your what ifs you can reach them. Twenty four seven file a claim on the state farm mobile app or simply call your agent to ask anything. So even if life gets tricky, insurance doesn't have to be like a good neighbor state farmers there collar gotta farm dot com for a quote today, hey it's johnny,
from good life project. If you are in your thirties or forties with friends too busy to join you on a vacation, you have to check out flashback the only group travel brand, so low travellers, your age, the match. dining with sumo in japan, or basking on a private got in croatia. All with people like you, visit, flash pack, dot com, slash podcast, you say two hundred fifty dollars on your booking an offer only available until July fifteenth one of the things that you talked about. So we ve been focusing allowance chauncey. I dont know if a debate on the external stuff you mentioned this thing to other things, half backs and pacts. Tell me that or about the issues. I think these are really fascinating. Also! Yes, yes, it is. The first step is made. Is that manage internal triggers? A second step is make time for traction. The third step is to hack back the external triggers, so hacking back externally. Yours- is about removing all of these our environment, that prompt us towards distraction as opposed to try.
Not only the obvious culprits, like our phones and our laptops, which, by the way, I can show you how to fix and make them indestructible and less than an hour right very very quickly, I can teach you exactly how to make those things indestructible and, by the way, big bad mark. Zuckerberg cant do anything ones You ve turned off this notification settings two thirds of people, the smartphone, never change their notification things really. I do want to hear about your phone becoming distracted. If you haven't taken a few minutes to change your note of occasions that it will do if, firstly, I do at last arrived in cancer exactly and so there's all kinds of things we can do I, for example, do not disturb our driving all this comes standard on I'll s you can use, do not disturb while driving so that You can customize that message, so if you call me, for example, when we're having a conversation, I don't wanna be interrupted. It'll say I'm indestructible right now. If this is urgent, tex me the word urgent. So if that, god forbid something is really really happening and I need to and it needs my attention. Ok, that will come through, but nine times out of ten, it's not urgent. It can wait a little longer
all kinds of things we can hat due to hack back our technology. What many people don't consider. However, you know we like to beat upon technology but distressed. Are all around us pray if, if, if you set out to gun something in your kid comes in and interrupt. You will that's also a distraction. If a colleague comes by One of the most common forms of distraction is the open floor plan office, constant source of distraction to operate under. So I I found this beautiful anecdote that really illustrate this point. There is some money back up if I were to ask you what the third leading cause of death in the united states of america I'll, give you the first to number one: is heart disease number to cancer What's the third leading cause of death, would you think my mangoes two accidents, or something like that yeah. Maybe accidents or alzheimer's struggle, not even close. was a disease. The third leading cause of death would be prescription mistakes, people in high
petals receiving the wrong medication or the wrong dosage of medication from a health care practitioner? Two hundred thousand americans are harmed every single year because of prescription mistakes. Turns out. This is a one hundred percent preventable problem, most hoss, in amerika to sit well, that's fact of by following a do until brave group of nurses. At u c csf actually decided to take on this challenge and they wanted to figure out. Why were all these prescription mistakes occurring again? This is not something that you know the patient messes up. This is health care practitioners messing up and they found that of source of all of these errors that were killing people in and harming alot of people was distraction turns out what was in his when a nurse practitioner was was dozing out medication. Somebody would interrupt her. A colleague doctor a patient would interrupt her or him and they would get distracted and their work would degrade. Now. It's interesting here
The nurses didn't realize that this was happening, so the mistakes work every until much later, but- and this is exactly what happens to us- knowledge workers- we think our work is fine but you don't realize how much better our work could be if we were not interrupted all day long and so, was a solution, so this group of nurses came up with a solution that reduce the number of prescription mistakes by eighty eight per cent. Eighty percent reduction in prices mistakes occurred not with some multi million dollar app or technology. What they did. They had the nurse pray generous where bright plastic, vests. And these vests said on them medication. or dosing rounds in progress, and they told their colleagues don't interrupt me Now, I'm doing something that requires me to not be distracted
what they had remarkable result. So what can we learn from this it as knowledge workers? What can we learn from glean from this? So inside every copy of indestructible? There is a card stock, one sheet of card stock, with this bright red, a print on it that you tear out of the book you folded, words and you put it on your monitor and on your monitor it says so that everybody can see it every they can see. I'm indestructible please come back later, so it says essentially ok I can put on headphones, though not really because people don't know, if you listen to this by guessed right now, where we want to send a very clear message that no, this is the time that I cannot be distracted now, nothing. You should do this all day, but you, if you want to do your best work, you have to carve out time in your day to do that. Focused work right are: are output as knowledge workers is novel solutions to hard problems. That's what we do for a living in the fact is. We can't do it unless we make time
four focused work. If we don't make ourselves that time, we don't hack back those external triggers, both the digital kind. As well as the kind in our physical environment will constantly be interrupted and we won't do our best work and- build on top of that right. Not only do you become more focused, do best work and very likely and less time, but it also buys you certain a ban with the go and do some of those other things that you say a really constructive, invaluable in your life, but that you were either coming distracted by or your distractions, during the work. process made it takes so much longer and new consumers less affected. That legitimately don't have time for this anyway? So like buys you back not just that, but a whole bunch? other bandwidth to do these other beneficial thing. Absolutely absolutely in it. So this is where the second technique of making time for traction comes in that it turns out the two thirds of people. Don't keep a counter, and even the third that do keep a counter. Most of them, don't keep it. Let me say:
and the idea here is that we have no right to call him a distraction, We know what it distract us from. So I to This friend of mine, who I talk about the book where he came to me and she said you know you of this book hooked and now I'm completely distracted, I think raven done, you know twitter and I spoke in my boss and you know I'm constantly on slack channels. It's all your fault and I said Well, I'm really sorry can. Can you tell me what you got to strike from today. What is it that you wanted to do that? You didn't accomplish, show me your counter and she takes out or phone sheepishly handed to me, I can see in her counter up it's completely blank there's nothing on our calendar, regulated dentists, employment was there, so we have to plan our time because this day and age, a few don't plan your day. Someone else will the technology is to persuasive you're, going to use it right
Boss is going to reach out to your kids, are gonna want something you're significant other trump is gonna, say some that is going to get you off track. Unless you plan your day and I'm not gonna tell you what to put in your day, I don't care, I want the live your day according to your values. To make time self, for your relationships and for your work with time on your counter. Do things that are important to you there it, let you reclaim a sense of intentionality and that last thing pats facts yep. So this is the fourth and final step that some people have heard of this technique is a very old technique. And they use it in the wrong order and it backfires. So before I describe what it is exactly, I want to emphasize that you have to use this technique last. It is only effective after you've done the other three right. If you do this first, it will backfire. You have to first master the internal triggers make time for traction and hack back. The external triggers pacts are all pre commitment, so one one mantra that
To repeat is that the antidote for impulsiveness is for thought. The antidote impulsiveness forethought, if you are lifting the chocolate cake to your mouth, is too late, right too late. If you were sleeping next, your cell phone- and you find yourself up every morning to check instagram too late. You lost you have to plan ahead, so pre commitments this that the first documented use of it became a device was way back with the ulysses in the odyssey written by homer twenty five hundred years ago, so Ulysses is, greek hero he sailing his ship home and along his path. He needs to pass island of the sirens, the site Are these mythical creatures that single magical song? Anybody who hears the song crashes their ship onto the island of the sirens where they die? So Ulysses knows this is coming and he decides to the ethical temples. As for thought he decides to do something to prevent himself from getting distracted. He tells his crew to put these wax in their ears
to tie him to the mass of the ship and he tells them or what I do. No matter what I say: don't let me go and they abide, and you know what they say: right past the beyond the sirens safely. Returning home, we can use same lesson throughout our lives. We do this already, so the purpose of a four when K that has penalties, if you were withdraw your money before retirement of the purpose of a man, each ceremony. All of these things are pre commitments to make sure or that when we are tempted to do something, we add a little bit of friction to make sure we don't do something. We don't want to really do so. We can use three types of pats, effort, packs price pacts and identity packs ever pacts are when we insert some bit of work in between us and something we don't What so, for example, every day when I do my writing time and writing is is hard work, brain a consulate get distracted. I want
Actually, I should say I want to get distracted. I want to go and google, I want to check email, but I Don'T- and I don't because I use this free app called forest and forest- you set a little timer and as soon as you click go on you're on your phone, it plants a little virtual and if you pick up the phone and do anything with it, the little virtual tree dies. Stillman, Virgil, we, who cares, what is enough of a of a bit of effort there. That reminds me. No, I made a pact with myself. That's not what I want to do another example. So in my home we ve been talking for where I can get a little vulnerable here I can. I can tell you a personal story item. For twenty years and are almost twenty years and a few years ago. Our sex life is really suffering because night we were going to bed and instead of being intimate, I was fondling the ipad and she was caressing the year, the computer earlier the phone or something and night after night,
This would happen, we weren't getting enough sleep and we weren't having any time to be intimate together. So I went the hardware store and I got five dollar outlet timer. and this outlet timer plugs into the wall in whatever you plug into that outlet. Timer will turn off at any time of day or night you set so what I plug into that outlet timer my router so every night? At ten p m, my internet shut off again a bit of effort. If I really want to go turn it back on, of course, I could, but its a bit effort to to keep me from doing something. I don't wanna do such an effort pact. A price pact involves some kind of cost. To doing something you don't want to do so. as you can do that as well. We can go into, but my favorite of three packs is the identity packed the idea deepak is when we build a self image that helps us stay consistent with the person we want to be now. Where did this insight come from comes from organized religion when you think about how an orthodox jew
doesn't say to themselves. I wonder if I should have some bacon today: go they just don't eat bacon because they are that ox, observant, Jews, they don't eat it muslim observant. Muslim doesn't save him. I wonder if I should have a genetic, though observant muslims don't drink, alcohol is part of who they are. There's a joke that that goes how'd. You know someone is a vegetarian, don't worry! They'll tell you write it. part of their identity. I was a vegetarian for five years and I remember a time when I was a vegetarian. Meat was not something, had to struggle with it's something I just did not eat, because I was a vegetarian, and so this is why the book is called indestructible because I want people to have this moniker, how they identify themselves might that this is the kind of person I am I'm the kind of person who strive to do what they say they're going to do hey, I'm sorry, you know someone complaints tunes is who I didn't you reply to my text. Oh, you know what I'm indestructible: that's not what I do what he put up at crate
screen, sign on your on your modern to tell people that you can't be bothered. Oh you see, I'm indestructible: why is that any more or less crazy than saying. Oh, I am an orthodox jew or an observant muslim. No, it's not! It can be part of our identity, and so that's the third type of pact, creating identity for yourself. That keeps you consistent with what you want to do, because it requires no self control right. You don't have to expend any kind of self control, it's not something that is difficult any more once it's part of your identity. There. So I mean I better get it. It makes sense like their signs behind it and in the real world? letty work in an office right and you got your your yellow card. What's it like. I am yet like indestructible and you put up your computer right and or immediate supervisor walked by ripped off your computer's has no your available when I need to be available. That is your job, that's what you're getting paid for and the culture.
of either. Maybe the culture where you work is that that's not ok or maybe culture of this social group. You hang out with where that's not ok, maybe it's the culture of you volunteered whatever it is you if, if the police, You see either employment or belonging. normalize is distraction how You then, but you buy. everything we ve been talking about. Yes, I want to do this. How'd. You know I get that such and such a report- I am so glad you brought it up. Let's first acknowledge what the real source the problem with the proximate cause with the root cause, let's say you workin in office environment, where this is the case. People are constantly checking male all day long all day, long and slight channels, nobody can get any focused work done what's the real source, is it the technology or is it that boss? That doesn't let you get any I am for focused work. They won't leave. You like culture eclipsed the individuals in the culture, a culture. That's exactly right,
there's an entire section. The book, it's probably my fate, section in the book- that's titled. Distraction in the workplace is a symptom of cultural dysfunction. So let's first acknowledge that we need to let technology off the hook here. It ain't slack, doing it to you, it's your goddamn boss and it's a crappy workplace culture where people can't talk about them. problems. That's the real source of the problem. Now technology accelerate this fly wheel of responsiveness. That rightly so you, your boss, expects be always on that's who gets promoted as the person who is constantly checking every slack channel and every email all day long they get promoted so now, everybody's got to do it and it becomes a hellish place to work. The good news is is that we can do something about it it's not easy, necessarily some circumstances. We have extreme circumstances, you know what you're, just not in the right office culture, sometimes by the way, if you, if you're, ok with this right, if you wanna, be investment, Are you probably need to know what you're getting into you're gonna be working a lotta hours? That's just the the way that
three works right. If your allergic to paul- and you probably shouldn't be a forest ranger, so you should know you're getting into, but what I advise is if there's a miss alignment of expectations right so the way knowledge work, it is paid? Is I'm going to give you money? I'm gonna, give you a salary and there's an expectation of how much time you give me back right, correlated with some kind of output to your to your work product. If there is a lie there, you know, you thought you were work forty hours a week, but now you are expected to work the sixty hours a week and always be on call nights and weekends. There's there was a a fib here. There was a fraud that occurred that you didn't expect to be always available to that degree If that's the case, the solution is not get rid of the technology. That's stupid, that's not going to happen. The solution is a conversation, and so it turns out that organizations that have a
relationship with technology and do not get constantly distracted. It's not the companies who think of you think hey if techniques, he's correlated with all his distraction. Well then, the companies that should be that use technology, the most should be the ones that are the most distracted right. Take a look at slack, for example, it's a case study in the book. Slack makes this group chat product. If anybody should be constantly distracted, it should be people s like they use like more than anybody else right. That's not the case because at slack headquarters by the you go to headquarters at six o clock, the this empty all weaken long. Nobody is using slack because if you go dislike headquarters, you will see a big sign in big pink me on that says, work hard and go home its part.
of the company culture, and so what we see is three traits of companies that have a culture where were ticked, where distractions, not a problem, the three traits are: they give people psychological safety mean that people feel they can talk about their problems with, fear retribution too. They make a space a regular space for people to talk about these problems with psychological safety with point one and three leadership exemplifies what it means to be indestructible and without those three criteria you get crappy culture that leads to employ turn high, employ turnover. I had actually been correlated with with their symptoms of depression, anxiety, disorder literally, our work is making us crazy. But the point here is it's about the culture and thankfully the culture can change. it is made. As you talking I had this flash back years ago, I was doing some short term consulting for company under.
We had him in there is in our hands meeting in our own leadership in to your leadership, recalled into this meeting by the ceo who the half an hour late when he walked in the door. His head was down. He never looked up from it device. He didn't say hello to anybody. He bounced his way, over to a sea sat net, sat at his table with his head down and his his lay just on his thing for another. Fifty minutes forty five minutes later he got in front of the earth and talked about how I was an all time. Low productivity is not another turn over was five times, industry rate and we need to make some big abrupt. Changes now to make things better. Right. This ship and I'm just I'm thinking to myself. Wow crazy right, but there he's not in what I've learned over the years is. That is not an uncommon experience. You know so much of this is built into the fibre of the culture. very often in organizations is top down. You know very true
and its if you are not at the top level, where you do have a lot of control, then, sometimes a really tough decisions at you, make within our organization about you know you may change, can you not may change and how genuinely constructive or destructive is the nature of this culture, not just to your productivity. two, your ability to flourish as human beings. So true I mean the the stays are remarkable. There's you know that we know that there is a confluence of two factors that not only correlated but have actually show a causal relationship with depression. Anxiety at work. These days were connected by stansfield candy. They find that the the confluence of work environments, where people have high expectations, coupled with low control these are the type of work environment that literally led to depression, anxiety, disorder and we ve all been and earn have factories exactly exact, where you could easily have super expectations and there's nothing you can do to get in control of that situation,
so what we will do this. Why does this lead to depressing thy disorder? It creates these internal triggers is uncomfortable emotional states and what it will do with uncomfortable motionless they look for solutions. So what do they do? They say more emails call more meetings in a desperate attempt to feel control over their circumstances and the prom gets worse and worse and worse. So what I recommend is, I do a profile of Boston, consulting group, we're coming full circle here, cause that's where I used to work as my first job out of college, and let me tell ya: our basic something group as quickly as I could, because back then church or employee turnover was very high. It was a very high stress environment. I mean I, I literally suffered from depression anxiety. I I didn't diagnose it back then, but I'm sure that's what I had, because it was the epitome of I expectation low control, work, culture and they have this massive transformation in the past few years and they
only very small, they started with a case team. One case team of eight people, and they asked this case team to come up with a solution to this problem. What would it take to give everyone on this team? One? predictable night off per week. That's it one night per week. Remember this is. this is a when they pose this question because it impossible where multiple times zones, where the service business? What if somebody needs us impossible, can't be done then they silky. What? If it's not us right, this isn't for beseech this is for one of our clients. Are clients comes to us it says, hey, we want to give everyone a predictable night off what what? What's your recommendation bcg, your strategy, consultants? What do we do and it turns out once they framed it in that sense, and they open dialogue run. He what would it take? What would it take here? Why didn't? I see a lot of companies say: ok, well, it's copy what somebody else's email, free, wednesdays or you know no slack fries, that stuff doesn't work. It doesnt work because not customized
the organization and it doesn't fix the real problem again It was three solution that I talked about earlier: psychological safety time to air concerns and an exemplification of being indestructible by company leadership, none of them involved email, free fridays, but it's about airing your and about having environment people can say without fear retribution, hey, you know what boss this isn't working for me right. I don't like the fact that I can't go to my kids basketball game, without fear that I'm gonna be needed back at the office and if you can Had a conversation. Here's the amazing part once beseeching implemented what they now call patio predictable time off. They heavy small groups that talk about the problem and when they talk of The problem? Guess what happened? They realise there are all kinds of other skeletons in the closet, all kinds of other things, that nobody wanted to talk about just like they didn't want to talk about the fact that they were constantly tethered to their devices, and so it improved not only employ returned and it improve customer service because people were talking
about issues that they had otherwise kept inside, and so that's that's. The real source of the problem is: is these companies that don't have a culture where people can air their concerns? The good news is that you can start very small casing of eight people now with something that's done throughout the organization that that's amazing and inspiring. And and hope, giving to a certain extent that even the largest organizations can dont small, run these experiments, and slowly that it ripple out, and I love the idea, also that it started a single focus in a single issue, but that, in a way telegraphed to everybody that we're we're opening the doors to hear you and it's safe. talk to us about this one thing: a swim, maybe it's safe to talk to us about other things, to bigger outing, slack dollars in a really interesting way. So you know uses slack a lot, this group chat service and they actually have all these slack channels. Slight tales about everything within the company. There's a slack channel four star wars,
and it s like channel for people who want to get lodge in all kinds of different nations, one other. why channels is called beef tweets and it's a channel to talk about gripes about the company was interesting. Is that that that year we turned with a three cartoon psychological safety a form to talk about your problems and and exemplification of being indestructible by leadership. So it turns out that I beseech you. They have these meetings of the world together in a room and talk at beseech you they do it over. I'm sorry slack, they do it over slack, and so that's the forum, and they do something really interesting. They actually use emerging to solve this problem. So management will look at this channel of gripes about the company. I don't like this, and only that whatever might be, and though you, the eyes emerging to let people know it. What better fill the ceo will come in, and I saw that put a point taken too. knowledge, economic, exactly that reason that we talked about how a high speed low control are these terrible workplace cultures? What is it you to your sense of
agency in control. When The sudden, the ceo, solid you said and acknowledged it and is doing something about it. Will your sense of agency control now rises, and so that part of creating this healthier were culture? I love that I have a friend who am runs a business and they day you slack also in He literally he created a slack channel called hand slap which was for his employees to call him when he's off mission or doing something intentional or distracted or doing something. That's you know they perceived. not being in line with the ethos and culture. What they're about in the mission of the business and he's like I want. I want a nellie, I'm gonna give you an actual channel to just tell me This is a virtual hand slot like hey. We need to talk so that the fund, nothing that and we ve konrad, talked about it, but things really relevant, especially or listeners, is the ideal. Of the
that we model behavior, you know for people who are either leaders of committees, leaders of organizations are parents in so many people look to us you understand how to behave in the world and especially his parents, you were both parents of kids, we can say all we want about the way to behave. Yeah the the way to feel good about what we're doing in the world, but yeah like kids, look to us as they just look at what we do. What have you looked at this yet so- and this is really coming full circle wreckers. When we started out, you said a lot of the impetus ratchik going deeper into this work. Was you sitting? with your daughter and just being tuned out, you know when the only thing she wanted was you to be there with her and that, of course, transmits to her that that's that's the appropriate way to behave as as a person in the world right. So when we come full circle, you're like okay, How do we? How do we effectively model this for kids this for had we had? We bring this into a way that we parent other any shifts that your art or deeper insight,
Absolutely so this is an area where believing and stopping with just approximate cause is really dangerous. Approximate cause. Being you see, This is what happened to our kid. This was happening to our kids technologies fault because that's what's changed and just as when I was with my daughter, looking at my iphone. when that when we were playing, we have playtime together. Wasn't the iphones fault there was stuff going on inside me that I had to deal with, That's why I was distracted. There were emotions that I did not to deal with in a constructive way. That was what was really going on and you're absolutely right. It's ridiculous! It's you! Kids, can smell hypocrisy from a mile away, and so, if you're saying a fortnight, while your checking email hate, they don't listen to you and we I feel so passionately about this area when it comes to kids, because again, if we don't get to the root causes,
problem. We are not only ignoring the real problem were actually doing real harm. So let me let me explain why so, first of all its gives him historical company a context here that parents have had a whole laundry list of reasons why their kids act in weird ways. We always have right. So what are the rock and roll in raw and heavy metal and the the radio and television and video games the comic book omega, I was I was reading the transcripts for the nineteen fifties senate hearing around comics a comic books, literal the same language like them. Work her word for what people are saying in front of congress today about social media gaming and did not like the same exact words. Its causing depression has come suicides melting, the brains, same exact words, still not true, still not true, And here's wise matra, first Must we need to let let's talk about? What's really going on with our kids
We do see a rise in in suicide rates among teens in this country, but here's what nobody tells you about that statistic, and we talked about earlier when it comes to tech use. The issue was never black and white that we have to think about. Who is using what they're doing when they're using how much through using in what they would do as an alternative. So when it comes to this rise of suicide, kids, which, by the way, is not at an all time high it's at a at a high. Since about two thousand and six two thousand and seven it was a. It was much higher than eighty nine? We don't know why. It turns out that almost all of that rise in teen suicide doesn't come from cities. It comes from rural areas. It comes from from country, and we dont know why there is something going on in the heartland of this country in the rural areas of the country. That is a cancer we don't know what's going on exactly, but if the hypothesis is the tec is, is leading kids to suicide,
Well, then, it should be happening everywhere. Kids are using tech, right should be here in urban areas which, by the way, have higher penetration so cell phone, the social media, then urban rural areas. It should be happening other countries, And yet it turns out. This is a home grown american problem. Teenage suicide rates are not rising in any other OECD country in Japan. There going in nordic countries, their falling or their staying stable, and all. Other o e, o e c d, countryside and quality is still through the roof and, of course, they've been using social media and facebook and and the technology just as much so that doesn't make sense. We should also acknowledge, by the way that, if we're going to blame technology for these poor, ones- and I think this is this: correlation between people love, finding causation. Well, then, why aren't we looking at all the other statistics? You know what's also happened since two thousand and eight since the the the adoption of the iphone is that all the bats, does, the kiss used to do is is way way down truancy,
incarceration, murder, drug use, pregnancy, all of these things are at record lows there are. Probably this was the generation of the super pressure. There are prisons empty because juvenile didn't commit the crime they were supposed to commit. So I would our if you are going to invent a device to keep kids off the streets off the roads, writer preventing driving fatalities and safely at home? You would invent these technologies, so we also need to let that that fourth point around. What would they be doing as an alternative to my daughter? Had this list of one hundred best movies? You should watch and one of the one of the movies was american graffiti. Have you seen this movie? It's like from ninety something right. Classic name is richard dreyfus and it's about like good old days right, the happy they based happy days television series on this movement- and I thought okay- this good old days. The nineteen fifties when kids were innocent and had good fun, it's horrible, it's about how kids used to
grace, add you know, drink and drive. All these terrible things are kids used to do, which are all at record lows. It is statistically this it is time in history to be a child. Today, we're gonna blame technology for all these things, we should probably also look at some of the potential good aspects. Now, let's get into the weeds here little bit, just because it weed I think, pretty conclusively we can. We can say that technology is not causing these problems. doesn't mean we shouldn't find ways to help our kids manage the use of the technology because The real problem is not that it's melting, your brain. There has been zero studies, zero studies that show the two hours or less of extra cougar screen time has any negative effects on our kids. It's only when you get into the extreme use five six hours a day. That's when you start seeing small negative correlations with well being the real cost. The real harm done is the opportunity cost It's what you could do instead and we explain to my daughter staring at a very young age. Some of her first words were ipad time. I bet
if she constantly wanted to use the ipad- and so we could talk to her in this way of saying, look, there's nothing wrong with these things, but it comes at the cost of being with your friends being with us going outside right. All those things are the price A spending. A lot of time on your ipod watching a video or playing an app his lungs. It was age appropriate. Of course we have to monitor, and so we gave her the keys. We said how much time is good for you to spend watching netflix, for example, these age of prohibition- and she said forty five minutes right was he actually set to episodes to episodes in her mind, that so that carefully that before them, it's great so now she has the responsibility now she's eleven years old. She has responsibly to monitor her own time. So I do advocate for helping kids monitor over use, but here's
the real heart of the issue, we talked about a lot about proximate causes verses, root, causes. We need to ask ourselves why those kids who are over using do so, and my conclusion, after looking at all the research out there that I could possibly find is that our kids today are deficient in psychological nutrients cycle. So we have, we have physiological nutrients, we have come hydrates protein and fat and it turns out there are three psychological nutrients. Now I didn't make this up. This is forty year old research from desi and ryan, called self determination. Theory and dessin ryan say that the three of these three pillars self determination. Theory. This is the most widely studied theory of motivation out there that all of us need a sense of competency, autonomy and relatedness. These three things are critical, everyone, psychological well being especially our kids, but when we look,
the world our kids inhabit. Today they have a deficiency in these three psychological nutrients. So the needs displacement hypothesis says that when you don't get these psychological nutrients met in the real world, you look for them in the virtual world so competency, for example, what's also correlated with the rise of increased tech use is the rise of teaching towards the test right. The right to standardize testing means that our children are told multiple times a year that there incompetent that they can't cut it, and so, when we test the hell out of them a mean kids in public schools are tested constantly that these are interested fourthly and exactly, and so for some kid, that's fine for minority of kids. They do well they're fine, but a lot of kids get the message you are not competent and they needed the psychological nutrients aware they go. The gaming companies are very happy fort. I comes along and says: hey guess what
this virtual world, you are a god yeah. You are super interesting, so that's where they go. That's the proxy for competent! Exactly let's take the next one autonomy. We know that kids today are hyper, regulated and scheduled. My more than any time in history of peter great disinfecting studies. We showed that the average time today has, ten times more rules imposed on them than the average adult waste as many as an incarcerated felon. There are two places Are we allow society to tell people what to do what to think where to go, what to wear who they can be friends with what to eat and that's school and prison? And so is it any surprise when we treat children like animals in cages that they behave as such? They do things that are very.
they social and counterproductive, and so, if they are starving for autonomy, if they are starving to control their behaviour and do what they want to do with their time again, is it any soup? eyes they go online and go play minecraft where they can they can have autonomy to do whatever they want in this virtual world, of course, that the proxy that's where they get, that psychological nutriment and finally, relatedness there has been a crisis of play in this country, dot, John, in height talks about this, and in I know you, you ve, talked to him wonderful called the calling of american mine, We want a green all our conclusions, but what he points out, as I and I agree with, is that we have seen a precision drop off the amount of free play, the kids are given today, neighbour, this country used to seeing with the sound of kids playing outside. You don't see that anymore, because parents are tariffs. I ve been told by the media that somebody's gonna kill your kid and abduct cannot turn up, is the safest time to be.
Child in american history, but we don't let our kids go outside either because we're too scared to let them outside or We think we're doing them a service by getting them into coup and mandarin lessons and swim lessons and we schedule their entire day and they have no two to do one of the most psychologically beneficial things that could possibly do with their time, which is to play without supervision from coaches without Supervision from adults play is where we learn our place in the world. Where our peers tell us hey, you know what you're, not so great. If you to be nice to you. You have to be nice. To me. Play is critical, but when kids can't find that time to social, to get that vitamin relatedness fulfilled, guess where they go: social media, snapchat, instagram, that's where they go. If we don't make time for our kids to socialize with we play well, we can expect it to sit there and red shakespeare chaucer in their free time. They need to interact our generation we hung.
right, we went outside, we just played kids, don't do that anymore and that those three deficiencies in psychological nutrients of competency, autonomy and relatedness. That is why kids over use technology, yeah, so powerful, and, and it really helps you refrain, watch Is there anna anna anna, I think as a parent? You could wonder if you think, as a parent, you hear this like yeah. Get it. I wonder if you offer the same argument out to a kid to teenager if they were just rather eyes or if they like- oh how this is. This is actually causing me harm, and maybe I would make different choices. Now. I cannot understand what really going on here here. I you know we are. We have to think about what displacing any superimpose frankly like who am I to give advice to a single parent? who would much rather have their kid at home playing fortnight and on the streets married? So I get it it's not
It's a lot in Bulgaria. I do think there are some hard fast rules. For example, what the hell are parents doing, giving their kids the social media went before each thirteen. I dont get that if the companies themselves I will tell you do not let your kid use us before age, thirteen. They are telling you don't let them do this. Why would we let our kids use it? So I don't think kids need a smartphone before age. Thirteen give them a phone give them a gps watch? They don't need apps and all that stuff before age thirteen they definitely to be on social media before age. Thirteen, maybe not until college- I don't see no benefit to it and he oh, but all their friends are using it. So so we pay the the cell phone bill, and so, when it comes to the discussion of the kids, I dunno, if I would go into the source of information theory
it get. You can't do that with a fourteen year old right. What I would do is this argument that I do with my five year old around. How much time do you think is a good investment into these tools. How much time is okay for you to watch netflix because it comes at the cost of other stuff. You have to do your homework time with friends play with us all this other stuff, and, in those terms, I think they get it there. I think, and the interesting thing is you can actually use the same four steps of mastering the internal triggers making time for traction, hacking back to external triggers and using pact You can teach them how to be indestructible for themselves because look. When they leave the house. If all we do is No xbox, no fortnight, no iphone that that copies. We know what they're gonna do with the collar exactly so we have to teach them how to be indestructible now before they leave the house. That makes a lot of sense. so fascinating. I love that we have been able to weave the thread through your journey through the fundamental that these ideas and in brain full circle back to
can a where we started a sitting here in the studio. Thinking about these Isn't it might be your contacts to you in your life if they offer the phrase to live a good life? What comes up to live a good life? We should empower ourselves as much. Possible, to understand the root causes of our behaviors, much as we can understand the root causes of the un having the world around us. Thank you my pleasure. Thank you. Thank you so much for listening and thanks also to our fantastic sponsors who help make this show possible. You can check them out in the links we have included in today's show notes and while you're at it, if you've ever asked yourself, what shall I do with my life? We have created a really cool online assessment that will help you discover the source code for the work that you're here to do. You can find it at spark: a type dot com, that's s, p, a r K, e t, Y p e dot com or just click the link
in the shadows and, of course, if you haven't already done so be sure to click on the subscribe button in your listening app. So you never miss an episode and then share share the love. If there's something that you've heard in this episode, that you would love to turn into a conversation, share it with people and have that conversation, because when ideas become conversations that lead to action, that's when real change takes hold, see you next time the.
Transcript generated on 2023-06-26.