Charles Duhigg

  • Aired:  01/22/14
  •  | Views: 9,728

"The Power of Habit" author Charles Duhigg explains how habits play a constant role in human behavior. (6:01)

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK,EVERYBODY, MY GUEST TONIGHT SAYS

OUR HABITS CONTROL OUR BEHAVIOR.

HERE'S THE PART WHERE I RUN OVERTHERE.

PLEASE WELCOME CHARLES DUHIGG.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE).

>> Stephen: HEY, CHARLES,THANKS SO MUCH FOR COMING ON.

NICE TO MEET YOU.

YOU'RE THE PULITZER PRIZEWINNING AUTHOR, YOU WRITE FOR

THE "NEW YORK TIMES."

YOU'RE A BUSINESS INVESTIGATIVEREPORTER BUT YOU ALSO GOT THIS

BOOK CALLED "THE POWER OF HABIT:WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO IN LIFE AND

IN BUSINESS."

IT'S OUT IN PAPER BACK NOW.

62 WEEKS ON THE BEST-SELLERLIST.

DID PEOPLE STILL WANT TO BUY ITOR IS IT A FORCE OF HABIT?

>> IT'S ABSOLUTE HABIT.

>> Stephen: WE DON'T NEED TOTALK ABOUT IT.

WE'LL JUST KEEP GOING.

EVERY HABIT HAS THREE PARTS,THERE'S A CUE, WHICH IS A

TRIGGER.

THEN THE BEHAVIOR ITSELF THENFINALLY A REWARD.

>> Stephen: I'LL GIVE YOU ANEXAMPLE --

>> SO FOR INSTANCE WHEN YOU BACKYOUR CAR OUT OF THE DRIVEWAY

YOU'RE PROBABLY TO THINK ABOUTOTHER THINGS.

>> Stephen: I CLOSE MY EYESAND GUN IT.

>> (LAUGHS)THAT'S BECAUSE SOME PART OF YOUR

BRAIN IS ANTICIPATING THE SENSEOF RELIEF YOU'LL HAVE WHEN YOUR

CAR ACTUALLY MAKES IT INTO THESTREETS.

>> Stephen: OH!

>> AND EVEN IF YOU'RE NOT AWAREOF THAT, THAT DEVELOPS A

NEUROLOGICAL HABIT THAT YOU CANTAKE ADVANTAGE OF, CLOSE YOUR

EYES OR THINK ABOUT CHANGING THERADIO STATION OR TALK TO YOUR

KIDS.

HABITS -->> Stephen: SO I'VE -- I GET A

PLEASURE RESPONSE WHEN I'VEACHIEVED THIS TASK?

>> ABSOLUTELY.

AND YOU ANTICIPATE THAT TASK.

THERE WAS A STUDY THAT WAS DONETHAT SAID ABOUT 40% TO 45% OF

EVERYTHING WE DO EVERYDAY IS AHABIT.

YOU MIGHT NOT BE AWARE OF MOSTOF THEM.

>> Stephen: THOSE KIND OFHABITS, ISN'T THAT LIKE AN

ADDICTION?

DON'T YOU NEED A HIGHER ANDHIGHER DOSE EVERY TIME?

>> (LAUGHS).

>> Stephen: SHOULDN'T I GET ALONGER AND LONGER DRIVEWAY?

(LAUGHTER)>> ABSOLUTELY.

>> Stephen: OR BACK OUT OF MYDRIVEWAY ON HEROIN?

>> THAT MIGHT DO THE TRICK.

>> Stephen: SO 40% TO 45% OFWHAT THE AVERAGE PERSON TKPHUZ A

DAY IS OUT OF HABIT, WE'RE NOTTHINKING ABOUT WHAT WE'RE DOING?

>> THIS IS AMAZING BECAUSE ITLETS YOUR BRAIN --

EVOLUTIONARILY THIS HAS ALLOWEDUS TO SUCCEED.

OUR BRAIN CAN TAKE PATTERNS ANDMAKE THEM AUTOMATIC WHICH MEANS

WE HAVE TIME TO INVENT FIRE ORSPEARS OR VIDEO GAMES OR

SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

>> VERY SIMILAR TO THOSE THREE.

>> ABSOLUTELY.

IF YOU DIDN'T FORM HABITS WEWOULD BE IN TROUBLE EVERYDAY.

THE TROUBLE IS OFTEN TIMES YOURBRAIN IS BAD AT CHOOSING HABITS.

YOU LIKE TO EAT DOUGHNUTS ORCOOKIES HABITUALLY.

>> Stephen: COOKIES AREWONDERFUL.

>> UNLESS YOU'RE TRYING TO LOSESOME WEIGHT.

AND THE PROBLEM IS THAT WHEN WETRY AND STRUCTURE OUR BRAIN IN

CERTAIN WAYS SO THAT WE DON'TDEVELOP BAD HABITS, WE TEND NOT

TO PAY ATTENTION TO THESE CUESAND THESE REWARDS.

THIS IS THE REAL INSIGHT IS THATIF YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT'S

TRIGGERING THE BEHAVIOR AND WHATREWARD IT'S DELIVERING TO YOU

THEN YOU GET THIS CONTROL OVERSHAPING THAT HABIT.

>> Stephen: WHAT'S TRIGGERINGMY BEHAVIOR WITH A COOKIE IS

THAT COOKIES ARE FANTASTIC.

>> (LAUGHS).

>> Stephen: RIGHT?

THEY'RE DELICIOUS.

>> I HAD A COOKIE HABIT MYSELFAND I'D CALL THESE FANCY

PSYCHOLOGISTS AND AT THE END OFTHE CONVERSATION I'D SAY "I HAVE

A FRIEND WITH A BAD COOKIEHABIT."

AND WHAT THEY SAID IS "WHAT'STHE REWARD?"

I SAID "A COOKIE."

THEY SAID "NO, REWARDS ARE MORECOMPLICATED LIKE THAT.

A COOKIE IS 12 OR 13 REWARDS INONE BUNDLE."

>> Stephen: OH, YEAH, BECAUSEOATMEAL CHOCOLATE CHIP IS WARM

AND GOOEY AND THE MILK IF YOUKEEP THE REFRIGERATOR REALLY

LOW, THAT SPIKE OF FRESH COLDAROUND THE COOKIE.

DO YOU WANT A COOKIE RIGHT NOW?

>> I KIND OF DO WANT A COOKIERIGHT NOW.

SO ARE YOU EATING THE COOKIEBECAUSE YOU'RE HUNGRY?

WHICH CASE YOU COULD HAVE ANAPPLE WHICH WOULD WORK JUST AS

WELL.

>> Stephen: SHUT UP!

>> (LAUGHS).

>> Stephen: SHUT UP!

>> SORRY!

>> Stephen: YOU SEEM LIKE ALOT OF FUN.

"HERE KIDS, HAPPY HALLOWEEN.

HERE'S YOUR APPLE!">> (LAUGHS)

OR MAYBE YOU NEED A BURST OFENERGY AND THE SUGAR GIVES YOU

THE ENERGY, WHICH MEANS YOUCOULD HAVE A CUP OF COFFEE.

THAT WOULD DO JUST AS WELL ANDYOU CAN REPLACE THAT COOKIE

HABIT WITH A COFFEE HABIT.

IN MY CASE IT TURNED OUT WHEN IWAS GOING UP TO THE CAFETERIA TO

GET A COOKIE THAT'S WHEN I SAWMY FRIENDS FROM THE "NEW YORK

TIMES" AND WE WOULD TALK ANDGOSSIP.

THE SOCIALIZATION WAS THE REWARDDRIVING THE HABIT.

>> Stephen: SO YOU DIDN'T EVENKNOW THAT WAS WHAT WAS DRIVING

-->> I HAD NO IDEA.

>> Stephen: I DON'T LIKE THISTHEORY AND I'LL TELL YOU WHAT.

I'M SURE IT'S A GREAT BOOK ANDEVERYONE SHOULD BUY IT, BUT

EVERY MOMENT OF MY LIFE IS AMOMENT OF CLARITY AND CHOICE.

I'M NOT ONE OF THE MINDLESSJELLYFISH BEING PULLED ALONG IN

THE TIDE OF HUMAN AFFAIRS.

I WAKE UP IN THE MORNING.

I SAY TO MY HEART "CONTINUEBEATING."

(LAUGHTER)EVERY MOMENT OF MY LIFE IS A

CHOICE BECAUSE GOD GAVE ME FREEWILL.

IT SOUNDS LIKE ANTI-FREE WILL.

BUT YOU KNOW WE'RE DETERMINISTNATURE TO WHAT YOU'RE SAYING.

>> YOU'RE AN EXCEPTIONAL HUMANBEING.

UNFORTUNATELY, THE REST OF USHAVE TO LIVE IN THE REAL WORLD.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE).

>> Stephen: OKAY, ALL RIGHT.

IS IT -- THESE HABITS, THEY'REGOOD HABITS AND BAD HABIT,

RIGHT?

>> ABSOLUTELY.

AND YOU DECIDE WHETHER THEY'REGOOD OR BAD.

TO YOUR BRAIN THEY SEEM THESAME.

IT SEEMS LIKE A WAY TO SAVEENERGY.

I KNOW I LIKE THE THING, I KNOWTHERE'S THE TRIGGER FOR IT, I'LL

MAKE IT AN AUTOMATIC PATTERN.

>> Stephen: THERE ANEVOLUTIONARY COMPONENT TO THIS?

>> ABSOLUTELY.

>> Stephen: THEN WHY DO WEHAVE ANY PATTERNS OR HABITS THAT

OUR -- THAT ARE BAD FOR US?

WHY DIDN'T WE JUST EVOLVE TOONLY LIKE THINGS THAT ARE GOOD

FOR US?

>> WELL, IT'S INTERESTING,RIGHT?

BECAUSE TAKE COOKIES, FORINSTANCE.

COOKIES ARE GOOD FOR US IN A LOTOF WAYS, RIGHT?

>> Stephen: THEY MAKE USHAPPY.

>> THEY MAKE US HAPPY.

IN A STATE OF NATURE THEY WOULDGIVE US CALORIES AND ENERGY.

FOR ME IT'S A TOOL FORSOCIALIZING WITH MY FRIENDS.

>> Stephen: AGAIN, I DON'T BUYTHAT, BUT GO AHEAD.

>> (LAUGHS).

>> Stephen: THAT SOUNDS LIKE-- THAT'S LIKE A REALLY GREAT

JUSTIFICATION TO STAY ON YOURDIET.

"WHAT I REALLY WANT IS FRIENDS.

FRIENDS WITH CHOCOLATE CHIPS."

WELL, CHARLES, THANK YOU SO MUCHFOR JOINING ME.

>> THANK YOU!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE).

>> Stephen: CHARLES DUHIGG,"THE POWER OF HABIT."

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

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