Judson Brewers excellent book, “The Craving Mind: from cigarettes to smartphones to love – why we get hooked and how we can break bad habits” and his TED Presentation, “A Simple Way to Break a Bad Habit” is focused on ending bad habits. Ending bad habits is helpful, however creating good habits can be even better because they help us improve. We can create good habits by intentionally taking action to develop specific helpful behaviors.
Dr. Brewer shared many great insights in his book. One I found important was when he suggested rather than focusing on our craving, a desire to do something, a bad habit we should instead become curious and discover what is happening. He suggests doing this so curiosity becomes our habit.
My focus has been on how to develop good habits that improve our life. I have focused on habits because habits require a lower cognitive load and therefore provide us with greater capacity and potential to excel. For example, I just came back from swimming. I have been a swimmer most of my life and I am able to swim and do laps habitually, it does not take conscious effort to swim. Since I do not need to devote my mind to the task of swimming, I can think about other things. Luckily, many of my ideas or answers to questions I have come to me when I swim. I discuss this idea of having more capacity at my Capacity Enables Creativity and Crisis Mitigation post.
Another insight Dr. Brewer shared that I found enlightening was how he discussed what I term, Selfish, Selfless, Synergy. If interested, see Experts & Joey Explain Benefits of Selfish/Selfless/Synergy, Making a Symphony with Selfish, Selfless, Synergy, Biology & Evolution Make Us Selfish, Selfless, & Synergistic, and many more. My point has always been that being selfish is being selfless or that they are these ideas may be the same. If you are interested in this perspective, Bill Clinton and Joey explain in the video’s below.
Dr. Brewer however clarifies the idea of being selfish and or selfless. He suggests acts are selfish when they are done for external or extrinsic rewards and selfless acts are when actions are taken for intrinsic reasons. For example, he suggests holding the door for someone to get a “Thank you” in return is selfish and holding the door for the intrinsic reward of feeling good for is selfless.
My thoughts about this are that there is overlap and both methods provide a reward. Dr. Brewer however helped clarify how we think about rewards for our actions may help make our actions more consistent with our intentions. Research by ETbHiggins would also suggest a consistent self-regulation style will also improve performance of those actions.
It also seems that intrinsic rewards can also be extrinsically rewarding at a later time, thus an overlap. It is also likely most of us know this at some level, even though we mostly do an action for intrinsic reasons. I hope this fits with my idea that money must follow, it should not lead. That is we should do good, and in time if our good provides value, we will be rewarded beyond just feeling good for doing good. After all, if we are not rewarded over time, we could not continue engaging in those actions. Does that make sense? In addition, research to date seems to suggest we will perform better and create more value when intrinsically driven than if driven for extrinsic reasons. A great amount of research supports this contention.
All in all it seems this could also support the idea of paneugenesis. That is we should focus on creating all good and can feel good for doing good because practicing paneugenesis is to generate comprehensive improvements for everyone and everything by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions.
Please share your thoughts. I recommend you read Dr. Brewer’s book and Practice Paneugenesis to create all good so everyone and everything benefits. Doing so should also help you feel good for doing good!
Make it a Great Week!
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