Dec 13, 2019
I am so beyond excited to
introduce you to Nir Eyal, author of the fantastic new book
Indistractable, which I have mentioned a couple times on the
podcast already because..well...I haven’t been able to contain
myself! I also wrote about some of my learnings from his book in an
article from my Inc. column. Nir is awesome, and he was so engaging
to talk to. His writing has been featured in Fast Company,
Entrepreneur, Forbes, TechCrunch, The Harvard Business Review,
Psychology Today, Time and The Huffington Post to name a
You may have heard of his first
book, Hooked, which became an international phenomenon,
loved by everyone from Silicon Valley and beyond. He’s taught at
Stanford and sold a couple tech companies…I could list the
accolades for ages, but I think you get the idea. Nir is awesome
and I can’t wait for you to meet him as we talk about brains, goals
and being Indistractable. So without further ado, Nir, welcome to The
Brainy Business podcast!
- [03:10] Nir calls himself a
behavioral designer. He uses consumer psychology and behavioral
economics to change customer behavior through the technology that
we use. As well as helping people shape their own behavior by
understanding their cognitive characteristics.
- [03:41] His first book
Hooked was all about how to build habit-forming
products and create habits. Indistractable is about how to break habits and how to make
sure we can get the best out of these technologies without letting
them get the best of us.
- [04:24] Nir writes because he
wants to know the answer. With Hooked, he wanted to uncover the techniques that tech
companies use to make their product so habit forming. He wanted to
allow other industries to use these techniques to help form healthy
- [05:40] He wrote
Indistractable, because the products can be so well made it's
hard to stop ourselves from using them. That was the situation he
- [06:40] He was using an
activity book with his daughter. There was a super power question,
and he missed his daughter's answer, because he was looking at his
phone. She actually left and went outside to
- [07:41] He decided to read
everything that was written about this problem. The answer in all
the books was to get rid of the tech. So he did. And...he
discovered that he still got distracted.
- [08:35] This is when he
realized the problem was much deeper than the technology. The
technology was a proximal cause or symptom of a larger
- [09:48] He decided to find an
answer that actually worked. We can find ways to get the best of
these tech tools without letting them get the best of
- [11:07] The opposite of
distraction is traction.
- [12:53] The best place to
understand distraction is to learn its opposite.
is an action that pulls you towards
what you want to do. A distraction pulls you away from what you want to
- [15:03] Tech tools aren't bad
if you use them on your schedule. We can turn anything into
traction as long as we make time for it.
- [16:42] Nir wanted to get down
to the root cause of identifying distraction and knowing what to do
- [17:11] Find out what prompts
towards traction or distraction. What are the
- [18:14] Our most common
triggers start from within. The real disease is that we are
uncomfortable with our emotions, so we let ourselves be
- [19:23] Why do we do what we
do? Our brain gets us to act by spurring
- [20:25] Motivation is spurred
by a desire to avoid discomfort.
- [21:11] We use distraction as
psychological pacification. Time management is pain management
unless we learn tactics to cope with discomfort. The first step is
to master these internal triggers.
- [22:50] People can become
addicted to anything from exercise to news. It's not about the
behavior. It's about what we are escaping from.
- [27:46] We were not designed by
evolution to be happy all the time. Constantly striving and craving
is what helped our species to progress.
- [28:21] We need to channel our
uncomfortable sensations towards traction (not
- [29:50] Step two to becoming
indistractable consists of three steps reimagine the task,
reimagine the trigger, and reimagine our temperament.
- [36:23] Our brain craves simple
answers which always get us into trouble. That's what's happening
with the boogey man of distraction.
- [39:04] Gum sales have gone
down since the iPhone has come out. We don't need gum to distract
- [40:01] If it's something you
are serving instead of it serving you...it's time to
- [41:06] Step number three is to
hack back the external triggers. Turn off phone notifications. Hack
back the open floor plan office.
- [42:31] Every copy of Nir's
book comes with a sign you can put on your monitor that says that
you are currently indistractable.
- [44:09] Nir's wife wears a
concentration crown to let her daughter know that she is
- [44:48] The fourth step is to
prevent distraction with pacts or commitments to stay on
- [46:05] Find one thing that you
can do to start the journey to become Indistractable.
- [48:00] The antidote to
impulsiveness is forethought.
Thanks for listening. Don’t
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what you heard, please leave a
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