Implementing Advice

Nov, 05 2020
2 Minutes

This is a stub of a post, which I intend to expand with examples over time.

A few years ago, I watched a YouTube video called "Marty Lobdell - Study Less Study Smart"

When I listened to the ideas from the video, they felt invigorating. But there was a line in there that struck me hard:

Technically as a psychologist, if it doesn't change your behavior you haven't learned it.

Almost as if to say: "You're not going to learn anything from this video, because your behavior isn't going to change".

And he was right. The video didn't change my behavior. Any good practices I've picked up from the video, I was probably already doing them in the past and simply needed a refresher. Most of the ideas I didn't implement.

Real Behavior Change

"Show me the incentives and I'll show you the result"

It's a great quote, as it suggests that there are forces in this world and everything seems to fall in place around those forces - reaching some equilibrium. Identify the forces, determine the equilibrium.

I think a similar concept can be applied to our personal lives. Maybe it's something along the lines of: Show me when your dopamine receptors activate and I'll show you the result.

I know very little about neuroscience, but I really do think it's that simple. When does your brain want to reward you? When does your brain try to protect you? If you know those things, you'll find your equilibrium.

You're Probably at an Equilibrium

Most people are comfortable. We find a situation that is "good enough" and stay there, far longer than we should.

There are good reasons for this. Needless risk taking is a bad idea. Our ability to imagine negative outcomes helps to keep us alive and keep us in check.

Thus we stay in our comfort zones - our brains help us visualize the downside, and we keep doing what we always do.

Behavior Change

Behavior change often gets prompted via some form of advice. Atomic Habits. YouTube Self Improvement Influencers. Blog posts like this one.

They might be inspiring, but they don't actually cause behavior change, just the tantalizing potential that there might be something better.

To really start behavior change, we need to start rewiring our brains.

In the coming weeks, here are topics I'll look into:

  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy
  • Trauma
  • Exposure Therapy
  • Meditation
  • Yoga, Taichi
  • Exercise
  • Breathing
  • Habits and Addiction
  • Massive change (i.e. starting a new job, quitting a job, breaking up with someone, moving to a new country)

I believe that true behavior change means we need to understand what's going on in our brains. A book, or a video, or a blog post won't actually change anything. The information is great, but so many times we don't ever get to the point of application.

I'll flesh out this article, as well as the related articles as I live them myself.

Just a placeholder post today, but it's a commitment to start implementing all the advice I've heard.