Introduction to guest:
Nir Eyal writes, consults, and teaches about the intersection of psychology, technology, and business.
He previously taught as a Lecturer in Marketing at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford.
He co-founded and sold two tech companies since 2003 and was dubbed by The M.I.T. Technology Review as, “The Prophet of Habit-Forming Technology.” Bloomberg Businessweek wrote, “Nir Eyal is the habits guy. Want to understand how to get app users to come back again and again? Then Eyal is your man.”
He is the author of two bestselling books, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products and Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life.
Indistractable received critical acclaim, winning the Outstanding Works of Literature Award as well as being named one of the Best Business and Leadership Books of the Year by Amazon and one of the Best Personal Development Books of the Year by Audible. The Globe and Mail called Indistractable, “the best business book of 2019.”
In addition to blogging at NirAndFar.com, Nir’s writing has been featured in The New York Times, The Harvard Business Review, Time Magazine, and Psychology Today.
Nir invests in habit-forming products that improve users’ lives. Some of his past investments include Eventbrite (NYSE:EB), Anchor.fm (acquired by Spotify), Kahoot! (KAHOOT-ME.OL), Canva, Homelight, Product Hunt, Marco Polo, Byte Foods, FocusMate, Dynamicare, Wise App, and Cutback Coach.
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Key quotes and takeaways from the show:
90% of distractions come from within you.
Internal triggers: uncomfortable emotional states that we seek to escape from. How you respond to these internal triggers is the most important thing to becoming indestractible.
Time management is pain management.
Only 3% of the population are addicts, 97% of people are just distracted. You have agency. You are not a victim. Break free of the victim mentality.
10 minute rule: You can give in to any distraction but not right now… In 10 minutes. Surf the urge.
Habit: A behaviour done with little or no conscious thought. Most activities take conscious thought, therefore most activities can never be habits.
The opposite of a habit is deliberate practice, when you are totally present and able to deal with the discomfort of working through the painful process of getting better.
Don’t expect things to be easy.
Learn to deal with discomfort in a healthy way that will lead you towards traction and away from distraction.
Behaviour change requires identity change. Create an identity that serves you.
Are you as honest with yourself as you are with others?
“A mistake repeated more than once is a decision.” – Paulo Coelho
I’m going to take steps today to avoid getting distracted tomorrow.
Envision what you will do when something gets in your way [when working towards a goal].
Start with tomorrow… How will the person I want to become spend their time?
We should be stingy with our time and generous with our money. It’s often quite the opposite.
Turn your values into time. Budget time for you, your relationships and your work.
We all know what to do. If you don’t, just Google it. The problem is, we don’t know how to get out of our own way.
Be a scientist: Make a hypothesis > run an experiment > run another experiment based on results > continue the process.
Remove external triggers.
Trigger (internal & external) > Action (simplest action done in anticipation of a reward) > Variable Reward (uncertainty/mystery to keep you coming back) > Investment (the more you use it, the more valuable it becomes).
Everything we do is predicated on the desire to escape discomfort.
Homeostatic response: the brain gets us to act by creating discomfort.
Homeschooling: work from home, one child and a good internet connection.
Autodidact: A self-taught person.
When you learn with your child, there is no expectation of perfection.
Links to podcast sites:
The full podcast:
For more podcasts on human behaviour and why we do what we do, check out these related videos…
- 00:00:00 – 90% of distractions come from within.
- 00:04:03 – Mastering uncomfortable emotions.
- 00:13:58 – Habits, practice & identity.
- 00:22:33 – Visualisation & goal setting.
- 00:28:08 – Choosing your life.
- 00:30:28 – Scheduling.
- 00:34:10 – 4 steps to becoming indistractible.
- 00:35:46 – How products hook us in.
- 00:37:33 – “The Hooked Model”
- 00:39:51 – How your brain forces you to act.
- 00:43:27 – Beware “positive” distractions.
- 00:45:49 – Homeschooling.
- 00:53:30 – Singapore & the war.
- 00:54:38 – Nir’s final thoughts.
- 00:55:53 – Behavioural science.