I’m in the middle of reading Switch: How to Change When Change is Hard (highly recommend) is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath. It’s a really great read about behavior change. A key piece to behavior change as Chip and Dan describe is addressing the two parts of our brain, the Elephant and Rider.
Think of the Elephant as the emotional part of our brain. It’s often look for the quick payoff. The Elephant is impulsive. It’s the part of our brain that rationalizes hitting the snooze button or binge eating ice cream at night.
The Rider is the rationale side of the brain. It’s capable of looking at the pros and cons and sacrificing short-term gratification for long-term gain. The Rider excels at planning beyond the moment. Where as the Elephant is impulsive, the Rider is deliberate.
Compared to our impulsive Elephant, the Rider is relatively small. That’s the problem. In a pinch, when we’re exhausted and driving home from work after a long day, the Elephant can easily overpower the Rider forcing us to drive right past the gym and into the drive-thru at McDonald’s.
What in the world does this have to do with developers and end-users?