Listening to the right person in your head
For the past year or so I’ve been immersing myself in every type of material related to how organizations work and how to make it better. Surprisingly most of it centers around human behavior: biology, psychology, etc. It’s been amazingly interesting and exciting.
One thing I’ve noticed is that I’ve ignored a lot of this material when it came to applying it to myself. Articles or books that talk about “best ways to …” seem to blend into one big white noise. I needed to figure out what was going on. The logical part of me recognizes that all the material I was exploring was useful and that I should try to work on incorporating them into my life. Somehow it wasn’t happening. What I realized was that my emotional part of me was exhausted. It was exhausted from hearing what’s good for me.
Eat your broccolis
As a thought experiment, I looked for a simple message that talks about “what’s good for you”. Well, vegetables are supposed to be good for you but a lot of people don’t eat them. Most would agree with the message but they still don’t do it. Why is that? Agreeing that something is good for you and not doing it seems counterintuitive.
It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t to the logical mind but consider the other part: the emotional mind. This is the part of everyone that is biologically wired. It’s actually in charge for most of us. Can you imagine a logical person saying “I want that cancer causing stick that makes me smell like a campfire” ?
Talk to the person in charge
When you’re looking for a behavior change, I think you have to talk to the person in charge. Don’t talk to the logical “professor”; talk to the emotional “teenager” in you. Going back to the healthy vegetables scenario, imagine telling yourself that eating a cup (or two) of brocolli between meals will make you lost weight and look better. Technically you will lose weight since it will make you snack less on unhealthy foods between meals because you feel fuller. The main point here is that you tried to solve the more emotional struggle of “looking better”. You’re more likely to eat vegetables because of this and not because it’ll be healthier for you.
This is one thing I’ve been learning about myself but also have been thinking about when I’m trying to market Dialogue. You can’t just tell someone what’s good for them; you have to first listen and learn their struggles. If you want to change something about yourself, listen first. Listen to what you’re really struggling with.