Change is difficult. It doesn’t matter whether it involves rolling out a new corporate initiative in a large company or trying to eat healthier for a New Year’s resolution. It’s not that the change itself is complicated. Oftentimes, it’s very simple. What’s hard is breaking out of habitual behavior.
There’s a scientific reason for that, as it turns out. As well-known business authors and academics Chip and Dan Heath point out in their book Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by (Broadway Books, 2010), making conscious judgments about what to do and how to do it requires using a mental resource — the part of your brain that makes executive decisions — that is very easily depleted.
Let’s say you’ve been smoking for 20 years and want to quit. The main problem is not the fact that you enjoy smoking or the addictive properties of nicotine, according to the Heath brothers, although those could play a role. The issue is that every “touch point” you have with cigarettes is ingrained in your consciousness so that you can do it automatically and practically without effort. You pick up a pack when you go to the drugstore or supermarket. You carry it around in your pocket. You take periodic breaks from working to smoke. You light one up after meals. And all of this is done without your brain actively telling you to do it.
Conversely, giving all of that up requires the kind of mental fortitude and focus you might associate with solving quadratic equations. You may stay strong in your resistance to smoking for a few days, but there’s a very good chance you’ll backslide at some point. And it’s not because you’re weak or a bad person, a common sentiment among people who beat themselves up for falling short of goals. It’s because human beings are wired to be creatures of habit. Being completely cognizant of what you’re doing, or thinking deeply and creatively about something new, is the equivalent of running an automobile engine at high RPMs. It’s fine for quick acceleration, but you’re going to burn out your brain if you keep it in that state over an extended period of time. Continue reading »
By Katherine Tarbox, Senior Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
For years, social scientists have been using certain demographics such as age, income, and education level to determine how people make purchasing decisions. Scott de Marchi and James Hamilton argue that six core traits determine every choice we make from how we purchase stock to how we work or date to even if we’ll lie on our tax returns. In You Are What You Choose (Portfolio, 2009), the authors explain how by understanding these traits you can better market to your clients. The read is extremely insightful in understanding how different personalities make purchasing decisions, including homes.
THE SIX CORE TRAITS
Do you want things now are you willing to wait for a larger payoff later? The authors argue that those who regularly exercise and eat healthy will also look at the resale value of a car before purchasing it because they care about the value of something in the future before making a decision. Continue reading »