Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Incentivize your Brain while you're away

We like to think our rationality is in charge, but most of our decision making is made by our subconscious. I didn't think about whether I should sit down and write a blog post, my subconscious decided that and then afterwards my conscious made up reasons why it was a good idea. My System 2 played press secretary for my System 1. This leads to some mistakes, but ultimately if our conscious had to make every decision we'd take too long to get anything done.

One of the best ways to improve your life is to take those moment of levity - when system 2 is brightly shining - and use it to modify the incentives your System 1 will face. Late night snacking is a regular indulgence I wanted to stop. So I started brushing my teethe at 7pm. After the Listerine rips my mouth apart the urge to eat goes away.

The average American brushes their teethe 1.1 times a day by the way, of course it's hard to get good evidence because of social desirability bias and the rest. My morning brush became more consistent after I moved my toothbrush's home to the shower.

There are more creative ways of manipulating your subconscious to obey your conscious while it has gone fishing. System 2 knows that if you invest in a little bit of exercise in the morning the whole day will go better, but System 1 isn't feeling it. So throw your car keys in a tree the night before.