Talk Impact: Changing your behaviour for the better.

How can we change people’s behaviour for the better? Just tell them. Tell people that they can be better, do better and they will. Yes? If you believe this, then you definitely should listen to the Ted Talk, “How to change your behaviour for the better” by Dan Ariely.

I like simple and efficient and in an easy, short talk he explains why there is a gap between the potential for humanity and where we are now. We all know (this is an assumption of course) exercising and eating fruits and vegetables is good for us yet how many of us follow through? How many people text and drive and are the first to swear someone else for doing the exact same thing? “Do they know how dangerous that is?!” one yells as they slowly slide their own mobile phone back into the car console.

So, why do we still continue with the same behaviour knowing that it’s not for the better?

As Dan Ariely suggests in his talk, it’s because we need a change in our environment. If we can people to change, the environment needs to be changed. This resonated with me. I recently have uttered the words, “I mentally know what you’re saying is true but I just can’t change what I do.” He talks about ways in which we can change the environment through some simple suggestions and ideas. The first suggestion seems like common sense and he goes through the how and why small things really matter. The second suggestion brought in different ideas like loss aversion, guilt, or reminders and how they can be used towards changing the environment.

Going through the examples, what worked and didn’t work and how we can apply them to our own goals and answers the question on how we can accept less now because we are investing in the future. This applies to whether you’re studying (so potentially less time for other activities) or becoming healthier (a little pain and sacrifice now for a longer, healthier life later) or literally anything that you’re trying to plan for your future life.

I do not find watching shows or talks or podcasts relaxing. It’s a task that I accept is for the benefit of bonding, learning or understanding but this talk I listened to several times. It’s simple ideas that we can implement with a little bit of thinking on what little things we can change…before we change the big things.