Choosing your future #2

Posted on January 24, 2012

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As outlined in the last post you can lock yourself into a life change by contracting to pay a very painful price if you fail to follow the plan. You can pay with money or a treasured possession.

Or, you can contract to pay a high psychological price,  by parading outside your place of work or Walmarts with a sign that says: “I can’t keep my word” or “I chickened out“.

That’s an example of recruiting cultural forces – public embarrassment – into your cause. Most of us would do almost anything to avoid that kind of pain. The ‘pain’ involved in writing a page a week is nothing by comparison. But what about giving up booze or desserts? One shame filled parade is soon over, whereas the pain of not drinking or stop  pigging out goes on and on and on. Unless… you contract to parade with your awful sign every week you break your contract!!!! Now that’ strong stuff, that potent cultural pain!

Beer buds

Case: Here’s a case of a guy who went to a regular beer session with his buds every friday after work. After the session had a one hour drive home. He’d already been stopped and given one ticket and if he got caught againn he’d lose his liscence. So…. he contracted with his friends to buy their beer for 6 months if he drank more that two beer at their weekly session. So he recuited  strong peer pressure to help him cut back. His beer drinking budies stood to gain if he failed so most of them were motivated to keep track of his beer consumption.

What if you get stuck  in a contract you can’t keep?

Fig: siflickr.com/photos/jtakai8429/5446294213

Fig: beer buds: flickr.com/photos/paulholloway/81536857

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Posted in: Sciencing