Pill here, the other day I was watching an interview with Jeff booth who is a very successful tech startup entrepreneur and he brought up a very interesting idea. That relates to behavior change and building habits you see a couple of years ago, Jeff attended a conference by one of the world’s leading behavior scientists here he learned about how companies are designing their apps to be as addictive as possible and these scientists laid out a special framework that they use to mold human behavior it’s called the PICNUF framework, the PIC part of PICNUF are things that you want to have more of in your app.
P stands for positive meaning that it must make you feel good, I stands for immediate meaning that this good feeling must come immediately and C stands for certain meaning that this good feeling must always come it, must be certain on the other hand. The enough part of PICNUF are things that you want to have less of N stands for negative meaning, that you should avoid what makes you feel bad U stands for uncertain meaning that you should avoid uncertainty and F stands for future consequences, meaning that you should avoid things that are not immediate now how does this framework apply in real life.
Well Jeff uses the example of smoking, why do people get hooked on smoking well when you smoke you get a dopamine hit that makes you feel good, so that’s the P for positive this good feeling also happens immediately which is the eye and finally you are sure that you will get this feeling every single time you smoke which is the C for certain smoking uses the pick part of PICNUF perfectly which is why it’s so addictive. Now the problem is most people will try to quit smoking by using Nuff they’ll tell themselves, “ Okay, smoking is bad for me it’s going to give me cancer.” And what they’re doing here is they’re focusing on the negative side effects of the action there’s the N for negative on top of that it’s uncertain whether or not you’re even going to get cancer. Right there’s tons of elderly smokers that never get cancer just because they’re lucky, so that’s the you for uncertain and finally the consequence of smoking is in the future you’re not going to get cancer immediately, After you smoke it can take years and even decades to develop so that’s the F for future consequence when you use enough to try to change your habits it almost never works.
The behavior scientists discovered that the key is to focus on just the pick you need to replace the pick with a better pick which basically means you need to replace your bad habit with a good habit that also fulfills the positive immediate and certain requirements. Jeff gives a good example of this in action with a story about his daughter so he was trying to get his four-year-old daughter to practice the piano and no matter how hard he tried, he just couldn’t get her to build the habit she would half as all her lessons and you could tell that she didn’t really enjoy it, so after learning about the piknuf framework. Jeff decided to sit down and ask her to play something she pressed a couple of keys with a bunch of attitude and it sounded terrible but jeff immediately said, “wow, that was amazing can you show me more of what you’ve learned he essentially gave her a compliment which feels good so that’s the P in PIC on top of that this happened immediately after she played her song so that’s the eye and Jeff continued to sit with his daughter every day and continue to compliment her every time after she played. So after a while the reward she got for playing became certain she would get a compliment which made her feel good so that’s the C now after a couple of weeks. Jeff could tell that his daughter, actually started to enjoy playing the piano her private teacher even said that she learned more in the past few weeks during her lessons than she had for the entire past year and of course this became a habit with ease over time. That’s what happens when you focus on the pick instead of nuff now how does this relate to your life well if you’re someone who is trying to change your habits you should focus on the pick aspect instead of going for the nuff which is what most of us instinctively do.
Let’s say for example, you’ve been trying to shake off your bad habit of jerking off . I feel like most of us approach this using nuff we think to ourselves, “okay, I need to stop doing this because it’s making me weaker” which is the end for negative and then we think to ourselves , “okay, if I’m able to stick to this for a long enough period of time I should be able to improve my social life and focus at least I hope so” right we’re uncertain whether or not the benefits will actually come so that’s the you for uncertainty and finally all the benefits that do come in the distant future right you usually don’t see the benefits for at least a couple of days or even weeks. So that’s the F for future consequence instead what you want to do is focus on the pick for example every time you overcome an urge you could talk to a friend you could tell them that you just overcame an urge to which they’ll probably say, good job so that’s the P this good job also comes immediately. After telling them that’s the I and it’s also certain assuming that they’re a good friend that’s the seat now. I’m not saying that this is going to work for all of you it’s just something that fits in the pick framework. So I think has a much higher chance of working as compared to feeling guilty and trying to logically convince yourself to abstain from jerking off what you should do in general is ask yourself how can I think about behavior change through the lens of PIC instead of NUF doing so will allow you to come up with many strategies that you can experiment with and finally let me leave you with one last example of PIC that I’ve observed a couple of weeks ago so there’s this video that keeps getting recommended to me on youtube by a guy called James Scholes this video is basically about how he was able to study for 12 hours every single day for months now of course this really intrigued me because, I’ve never heard of anyone being able to do that consistently but if you think about it through the PICNUF framework. It kind of makes sense every time he studies he live streams it this is a positive experience because people are studying with him posting positive comments this is also an instant and certain reward because the moment he turns on the stream he gets a couple of viewers that can cheer him on now I’m not saying that this is the only reason he was able to pull this off he clearly has a very strong internal desire to succeed and having a strong y like this is extremely important all I’m saying is that his current live stream setup made it even easier for him to build this habit because it uses PIC most people who want to study approach it with enough if I don’t study I’ll be a failure and my parents will yell at me that’s the end even if I study I’m not sure if I’ll do well I’m not sure if I’ll be able to succeed that’s the you and the benefits from studying won’t come to fruition until the day of the test which is usually days away that’s the F focus on the PIC and not enough so that you can make certain good habits as addictive as possible just like those apps that these behavior scientists have got us all hooked to spend more time on the apps.