Create Lasting Change | BJ Fogg on The Knowledge Project with Shane Parrish

Check out The Knowledge Project Episode Page & Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • Behavior happens when 3 things occur concurrently (MAPS):
    • Motivation
    • Ability
    • Prompt
  • There are 3 approaches to helping people perform certain behaviors:
    • 1) Train the person: Skill them up so that they know how to do something
      • E.g: If you want someone to eat more vegetables, teach them how to cook vegetables 
    • 2) Redesign the environment: Put tools or resource in the person’s environment
      • E.g: Get tools to chop up vegetables and recipes to make them taste good
    • 3) Scale the behavior back: Take whatever action you’re trying to do and scale it down
      • E.g: Instead of working out for an hour, scale it down and workout for a few minutes
  • There are 3 core motivators of motivation:
    • 1) Pleasure & Pain: It’s what you’re sensing at the moment
    • 2) Hope & Fear: It’s if I do X, then Y will happen
    • 3) Social Acceptance & Rejection: Wanting to belong or being afraid of rejection
  • Motivation and ability have a compensatory relationship, meaning they compensate for one another
    • “If motivation is low for any given behavior, then the ability must be high. In other words, it must be easy to do, otherwise, you won’t do it.” – BJ Fogg
      • If your motivation is really high, it means you can do both easy and hard things
  • When your motivation drops, you need to scale back the difficulty of the task
    • “You’re adjusting the difficulty of the behavior according to the level of motivation in that moment” BJ Fogg

Intro

Books Mentioned

About Behavior Change

  • “Information alone does not reliably lead to sustained behavior change” – BJ Fogg
    • Seeing statistics or data won’t necessarily change someone’s behavior in the long term
      • “More information about why you should reduce your stress seems not to lead to lasting change so that’s not a good equation”
        • Information is a lot more convincing when you also include how to do something
  • Behavior happens when 3 things occur concurrently (MAPS):
    • Motivation
    • Ability
    • Prompt
  • If you’re specific about what you want people to do and you make it easy for them to do it, they’re more likely to follow that behavior
    • “Rather than try to motivate people through some information campaign, match them with the best behaviors and then make those really easy to do and then you’re on your way” – BJ Fogg

Three Approaches To Change

  • There are 3 approaches to helping people perform certain behaviors:
    • 1) Train the person: Skill them up so that they know how to do something
      • E.g: If you want someone to eat more vegetables, teach them how to cook vegetables 
    • 2) Redesign the environment: Put tools or resource in the person’s environment
      • E.g: Get tools to chop up vegetables and recipes to make them taste good
    • 3) Scale the behavior back: Take whatever action you’re trying to do and scale it down
      • E.g: Instead of working out for an hour, scale it down and workout for a few minutes
  • Remember that with environments, there are physical environments but there are also digital environments

Breaking Down Motivation

  •  Motivation is a drive to do something or an aspiration at the moment
    • “If there’s no motivation you will not do the behavior by definition” – BJ Fogg
  • There are 15 ways behavior can change
  • There are 3 core motivators of motivation:
    • 1) Pleasure & Pain: It’s what you’re sensing at the moment
    • 2) Hope & Fear: It’s if I do X, then Y will happen
    • 3) Social Acceptance & Rejection: Wanting to belong or being afraid of rejection
  • So how do you motivate people to change?
    • Align the behavior with something the person’s aspiration
    • Attach a benefit or punishment for an action (carrot & stick method)
    • Change the person’s environment
  • Motivation is often a wave, it can go up and down
    • You’re more likely to get someone to change their behavior when they’re riding high on the motivation wave
      • E.g: People are more likely to buy tax software during Spring
  • “If you need people to do hard things, you’ve got to prompt them when there’s a motivation wave, not after the wave has subsided.”BJ Fogg
    • “If you need people to buy candy canes, well, ask them to buy candy canes in early December. Come December 26, they’re going to be a lot less motivated by candy canes. ”

Motivation & Ability Are Teammates

  • Motivation and ability have a compensatory relationship, meaning they compensate for one another
    • “If motivation is low for any given behavior, then the ability must be high. In other words, it must be easy to do, otherwise, you won’t do it.” – BJ Fogg
      • If your motivation is really high, it means you can do both easy and hard things
  • When your motivation drops, you need to scale back the difficulty of the task
    • “You’re adjusting the difficulty of the behavior according to the level of motivation in that moment” BJ Fogg
  • You can tell someone’s level of motivation by looking at how hard they’re working at something
  • Motivation also depends on the context
    • When BJ is at Stanford, he’s a professor
    • When he’s at a family reunion, he’s an uncle
      • “What motivates me is different in each one and I’m behaving in each one based on that role that I’m playing” – BJ Fogg
  • “The feeling of success is what wires a habit and it keeps people going” – BJ Fogg
    • “When people feel successful, even on tiny things, it changes how they see themselves”
      • You don’t have to do massive things to have a shift in identity or self-talk, it can be done through lots of tiny habits
        • That’s why BJ’s book subtitle is: The Small Changes That Change Everything 

Groups Have A Big Influence On Your Behavior 

  • Our behavior is massively influenced by our environment, including the people around us
    • “If your friends are really into…studying and doing homework, bam you’re probably going to study and do more homework” – BJ Fogg
      • If some of your friendships are having a negative impact on your life, you may need to turn them down or end the relationship
  • The people you live with also have a major impact on your behavior
  • If you’re part of a community or social group that’s taking you in the wrong direction, it’s going to be a lot more difficult to change your behavior
    • You want to join a group of people who are trying to develop the same behavior you’re trying to develop or join a group of people who already do that behavior

3 Phases of Breaking A Bad Habit 

  • Phase 1: Set the bad habit aside and focus on creating a good habit
    • “In the process of creating good habits your identity will shift and that may push out some of the unwanted habits” – BJ Fogg
      • You’ll also develop more motivation because your fear of change will be reduced
  • Phase 2: Look at habits you want to stop and untangle them
    • See if you can remove the prompt that makes you want to perform the bad habit and find ways to make the bad habit harder to do
  • Phase 3: Swap the bad habit for another habit
    • “What you look for is something to swap in that will be more motivating or easier to do or both than the existing habit you want to untangle” 

Additional Notes

  • As a young adult, BJ became interested in helping people become happier and healthier
    • One way of doing that was to research habits and help people create better ones
  • BJ tries to spend some time in nature every day because it brings him a lot of happiness
  • When it comes to creating habits: Emotion > Repetition
    • “It’s emotions that cause our brains to rewire” – BJ Fogg
      • In BJ’s research, he’s found that people report they were able to develop a new habit within 5 days
Knowledge Project : , , , ,
Notes By Alex Wiec

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