Due to loss aversion, people tend to be much more sensitive to losses than gains. Much moreso.
So, it can be interesting to model how people react to losses and potential losses and contrast that to how they react to gains and potential gains.
The first thing we can look at are incremental progressive results -- that's adding 30 minutes of focused work to your day on the most important project you've got in your life, vs. adding in eating a stack of candy bars in one sitting a couple times a week.
With either of those actions, you don't see much big change immediately. But the person who regularly chips away at important projects winds up with a huge stack of interesting things they've done and further opportunities to do more, plus greater pride in their work and enhanced quality of life. Whereas going through a stack of candy bars doesn't hurt so much immediately, but leads to lower energy and more lethargy and worse overall health and feeling over time.
People are quite bad at this. Hence, most people don't devote regular time to an important project that they're passionate about. And the obesity rates in the developed world are rising rapidly.
There's more factors to it than just loss aversion, but the need to block out time to the exclusion of easier and more pleasurable things stings right away as a cost (and working through important projects often requires confronting the ego, failing, and otherwise not having a good time in the short term at times) whereas eating candy bars is immediately enjoyable.
When the loss is immediate (doing something difficult), that action is often not done. When the loss is distant into the future (worse health, lower energy... at an unknown date) the action often gets taken.
There's no miracle cure to any of this, but there's a few that bear mentioning.
Just being mindful of the situation often helps choose better actions.
Making things more tangible through tracking can help -- what gets measured, gets managed.
Perhaps the best solution is the one Tynan shared with us -- learning to enjoy your day to day work no matter what.
Still, it remains a challenge -- maybe one of the most core challenges of building a really thriving life.
This seems more related to temporal discounting.
In the example you looked at, people are making a poor decision over a good one because they're valuing their present state over the future.
Loss aversion is when someone would willingly spend the 30 minutes per week to maintain a current client, but not to land a new one (assuming the results of their efforts were the exact same).
In other words, loss aversion is when both options are negatives (or positives) and our irrational minds make us favour one option over another more than we should. This calls for a reweighting of preferences. Temporal discounting is when we blatantly favour the present over the future and make choices that are indisputably bad for us. This calls for a complete upheaval of our decision making process.
Have you ever had an incredibly amazing day or week, with huge breakthroughs… and then thought it would be permanent, when it wasn't?
I've spent immense time investigating this phenomenon. It's as aggravating as anything else imaginable. You're flying along, doing incredibly well, it seems like you've turned up to a higher level of production, productivity, creativity, teamwork, whatever -- only to sink back down, and sometimes worse than before for a while.
What causes this?
Well, there's old fashioned complacency or overconfidence -- which is why Tokugawa Ieyasu made his famous quote that, "after victory, tighten the straps on your helmet."
Everything you eat is primarily made up of three macronutrients, or building blocks: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
Today I'm going to focus on what I've learned about carbohydrates, because they make up the bulk of most people's diets and they offer the biggest opportunity for diet improvement.