Affecting Others


The Power of Habits


Lesson Info

Affecting Others

So far we've been focused on your own habits but of course I started this section with the title that this was about influence which means that that we can not only affect our own behaviour we can actually affect the behaviour of the people around us and we can do this by influencing other people's environments okay? So all of these same principles of creating consistent mapping is for people when we want them to develop desirable behaviors and blocking behaviors we don't want them to perform all of these are things that we can do by influencing people's environ that's right? This is why you know you put up a little strip of fence somewhere you plan to bush and it influences the path that people take when they're walking you slow the elevator down in the building and more people are going to take the stairs. My favorite example of this over the last forty years is the the change in in smoking behaviour in the public over the last you know, since the nineteen sixties so in ninety if you...

watch mad men right then then then you might believe that every single person in the world smoked in the nineteen sixties and it wasn't really that that extreme but it was approximately sixty percent of adults in the united states were smokers in the nineteen sixties and now the smoking rate in the u s is approximately nineteen percent so it's a it's an enormous reduction and if you ask why is it that we have succeeded at bringing smoking rates down? You know there are there are many different factors that came into play but but one of the factors that didn't come into play was knowledge. So even in the nineteen sixties people knew that cigarettes were bad for you okay? And they put warning labels on cigarettes and that didn't influence smoking rights at all in fact, there's some pretty good evidence now that the cigarette warning labels actually make addicted smokers more likely to smoke not less likely to smoke because they kind of tune out the negative ass speak to the ad and it just there there reminded of cigarettes and so they have a concept of smoking in their head without really having paid attention to the negative element of it it actually increases the need to smoke so it isn't it isn't the information again, right? When was the last time somebody told you something to change your behavior? Almost never. Okay, so what was it that made that helped to bring smoking writes down well one of the big elements was the changes to the environment right make desirable behaviours easy but undesirable behaviors hard. Well, if smoking is an undesirable behavior, how do you change the environment to make it harder? Well, jack up the price of cigarettes literally I was walking through new york city and it was like thirteen dollars for a pack of cigarettes, right? How I mean that's awesome right? I mean and then was done through cigarette taxes because cigarettes themselves aren't that expensive but the city decided they wanted to cut down on smoking is they just made it really, really expensive that's influencing the environment it's making an undesirable behavior hard to perform another thing that they did um there's almost no public building anymore where you can smoke not only can't you smoke in many buildings anymore, there are lots of businesses now where you can't even smoke on the entire campus, right? So, um the cleveland clinic right there all their campuses smoke free universities now that want to take money from the national cancer institute they have to be smoke free. So as of last summer, the university of texas is a smoke free campus which means if you have a gn office somewhere in the middle of the campus and you want to smoke, you gotta walk off campus to smoke a cigarette and the campus police are empowered to give you a little ticket if you're smoking on campus okay, so they're changing the environment, right? They're making it very hard to do the undesirable behavior now that's the not the only thing right it's not that they just affected the t think a little bit forward about what we're going to be talking about in the next unit there's a lot of of social disapproval that goes along with this is well right? So it's it's smoking is now something that's just it's unacceptable to do in many different environments so you know, when I was a kid, parents would smoke around around they're they're kids like if you know kid, you go over to a friend's house in the parent would be smoking and whatever and that was fine and now you know, adults just they don't they don't smoke around kids as much right there's just so there's much less visible smoking going on and so it's you know, I had item I was on a baseball team I'm just thinking about this house on a baseball team is a kid in the guy who was managing the team would smoke in the dugout, right? You imagine that now go to a little league game and there's somebody smoking to the dugout, you know what you're doing to our kids, right? It's just right? So there's just utter social disapproval in a span of a generation, right? I mean so it's not, you know, it's a we have another example that just came in from roddy pause in the chat room saying cigarette lighters and ashtrays no longer come in cars around encouraging people to smoke in the car yeah that's right that's right right so they're just making it hard to do uh to engage in this behavior and so you change up the environment like that and and it and it changes people's behavior because if you make it hard for me to do something I'm going to find something else to do and that's an incredibly powerful way of influencing other people's behavior so I want to actually do a little exercise on this because I just think this will be fun I need everybody to get a little active here it's the post life you've got to keep people away so so here's what you don't have a little worksheet it's on page thirty five of section two of our of the booklet here if you've downloaded the pdf with and then please take a look at page thirty five and and if you if you if you haven't done it I'm stay if you don't have the works the pdf here I'm gonna I'm gonna walk you through this anyhow because I think this is kind of important to do I want to think a little bit about dent l've lost okay um I don't desperately need to think about dental floss it's just one of my favorite examples so I would venture to say that if you took a poll basically everybody brushes their teeth and almost everybody brushes their teeth daily right? And not only did they brushed their teeth daily they probably brush their teeth twice a day but I think the motile behavior is that almost everybody is brushing their teeth twice a day. You know, that's wonderful many fewer people than brush their teeth daily floss daily despite the fact that dentists tell you that you're supposed to floss okay, now why is that a big part of the exam of the reason for that is because the environment that were in when we deal with our oral care needs yeah is more conducive to brushing your teeth than it is to flossing because your toothpaste toothbrush out your dental floss is and always out so what I want you to do and we're gonna do this I want you all to do this here and then you're gonna give me some of your suggestions but I want everyone to do that's although we'll probably talk about some stuff anyhow, um uh is I want you to think about what is the environment in which people flaws. Okay, um what are some of the changes you could make imagine that your job in life was to get more people to floss you were going to be floss man woman okay, um super flaw ce there we go that's it there's a good that would be great and I am super flaws um so are there changes the environment that you could make that would promote this kind of regular flossing and wood that what kinds of changes with that require would that require additional products? Would it require additional? Would it require changes? Teo the environment would change it required changes to the packaging? What would be required to get people to floss more? So that's I want you all to spend a few minutes thinking about that, right? Right all that out if you have page thirty five of the booklet and we're gonna get your answers to that in just a second. And in the meantime we'll see if any other questions came. Well, we have people charming in about they're they're brushing and their flossing and you're right I mean, the chat room is very much like you were saying a lot of people brush not as many people are flossing, you know, I always like to say I'm a two week year flosser I flossed the week before and after I go to the dentist the week before in fear and the week after in shame now here's an idea that just came in from the joy project they say out of flosser to the end of the toothbrush that does that come up yet? Is that gonna be your solution here? It could be my solution, I'm I'm I'm I'm creating product ideas here I want someone to get rich off of this I went to this class and I came up with an idea and the next thing I knew I was wealthy and I donated half of my money to the university of texas. Now this is interesting. Valerie says that flossing in front of the mirror makes her look unattractive doesn't like the way that flossing looks okay, so so okay, but this is good right identifying the problem right? One of the very last thing we're going to talk about is if you wanna you want to create habits to be smarter. One of the important things to do is to begin to identify the problem. So here part of the problem isn't the flaws it's it's what you look like when you're flossing yeah, now this is a comment from rambo and they said I could put the floss in my desk and floss while reading emails there you go. There you go. I like that to change the location who said I think flaw so it's not just for the bathroom I got your tag line that's good, I think people now we're just trying to come up with clever products to incorporate floss that's good the floss a matic one handed flossing that doesn't require sticking your hand in your mouth taped the box of floss to the bathroom mirror I guess just trying to keep it up oh, this is an interesting one flossing stations in commercial bathrooms oh yeah I see that you don't know that yeah yeah shared flaws yeah wall the spencers uh I like that yeah uh here's a comment matter if this is sure not but sure me says I always remind myself that flossing will extend my life by six years maybe there's some signs behind that but get you motivated absolutely I would get me motivated so all right so so let's let's take let's see what we've got here from the people sitting here if you were if you were in the floss department of your your local floss company what would you be doing? But I think it's just you gotta have it out and then also like accessible I read this article about this company's somewhere was making medical devices more accessible for kids so like cat scan machines we're freaking kids outside have to sedate the kids have to time and so some guy was like well let's make this a pirate ship so the kids and go we're excited to go into the cap machine and then so I just come up something real quick like a stick of dynamite with what's coming out the top so it's on the counter or like a frog and you pull the glass out of his mouth it's it's on tonight so kids wanna interact with it yeah, I got cool any other uh looked at for adults yeah, I would I would pull flush uh, something that's appealing to me is to be able to prepare the well to be able to prepare the floss with one hand I don't know why uh maybe like if I'm washing my face to just have a stand on the sink where I could just where it's sort of stuck to the sink and I could just do one hand sew them after don't want washing my face go ahead of us so there's a bad user interface to floss and I think we had somebody else so there was talking about one handed flosses one handed and you know, people are saying that they wanted to be just easier more accessible while the spencers air coming up once again ah floss machine that does the whole row of teeth at one oh doing old like like like like like the retainers yeah when you think that would be awesome like that? Yeah yeah also when I was thinking about that that when you have brush into the brush it's kind of like standing so usual flosses it's in the books and when you put in this carpet's just disappearing so maybe a I can develop some design that it's also it's like brush you know, like with handles and also think being society very like follow commercials but it's sexy or what's its formula like and you can often see, like who people brushing their taste still commercials, you know, a couple together or father teaching daughter, you know, it's cute, but you never would see somebody flossing kit that's can be like a family fun, so we don't we don't make way, don't we don't really, there isn't. There aren't a lot of great floss commercial, right chat room to say having movie stars, flossing and major films we don't see enough of that. Yeah, not a lot of them, just not enough flossing and films brushing its not necessary beautiful thing to do bad commercials and movies make that scene where there's somebody in the bathroom they're brushing their teeth that's like a typical thing you never get it and they're probably be something wrong with the character. If you saw the faucet in the bathroom like there like, why did they show us that character flossing it's because they're nit picky? Yeah, it is good. So let's all just take a step. I could draw a few lessons for this. I like this unlisted. Yes, I don't want I don't want to chat room, but just fire amazing right now how about this one incorporating flossing into your shower routine doing it while you're in the shower and then this one comes from j ward design they say I think of toothpaste makers made flossing more mandatory like making the toothpaste leave a substance behind in your mouth that you would have to get on with loss nice nice change your environment by making by making flossing beom or desirable behavior now this is really interesting right? I like this I like I like these examples so so notice a couple of themes here first of all part of the problem with flossing is that it's not out in the environment right so floss packaging is almost universally designed to be thrown in a drawer somewhere and when you throw it in a drawer it makes it harder to do it so so having a pretty design or having a wall dispenser or public dispensers public dispensers are interesting too because it makes people believe that enough people are flossing that they have public spencer's which is kind of interesting addition to that I like that you know creating the using the environment to create the sense of social acceptance right so the commercials of show you know in the movies of showing people flossing is a way of creating social acceptance but having the physical evidence that people are flossing shows you that people must be flossing I like I like that and I like this idea of making I mean so so it's true right? One of the things that makes tooth brushing so mandatory is that is that you know after like twelve hours without brushing your teeth your mouth feels niki right? I don't know if that's a word but um you know, I just feel you know, it's wrong so you brush your teeth, you feel better but there's, nothing flossing doesn't unless you have popcorn stuck in your teeth, there's nothing that makes, um, the flood you did you don't feel that much better after flossing you just feel better because the dentist isn't gonna be hacking at your gums of a hygienist is going to hacking your guns, so but if you if you're too paste made it made it so that when you after you flossed your way, you felt even better that would be that would be really interesting. So yeah, this is cool, so and, you know, and then and then things that would make flossing easier right devices like something with a handle or you know that that that you could so that you don't have to stick your hands in your mouth, which is just not the most enjoyable experience for most people, so this is fun, right? The idea here is every once in a while it's fun to tempted to try these kinds of exercises to begin to think about here's something I wish that that more people did how could I play around with the environment and what are the dimensions of playing around with that environment that would allow me to make that change and then having identified some of those elements of the environment now either take a step back into your own life and say, are there dimensions like this that I can use to influence some of the habits I'm trying change or from a company perspective? If there's something that my company does are there ways of getting into people's environments? I mean, if I have a service company, you might think, well, how do I get in the environment if I'm if I'm if I'm trying to run, you know, five some kind of a service, right? But it's one of the joy of things like refrigerator magnets, right? You know, you put yourself into people's environments um in ways that makes it easier for people to access you right? And and I think not enough of us focus on what are the ways that we can influence uh, people's environments so good, good, good, good. I like this. Um right now one of the things I need to point out about changing environments, particularly when you're trying to change your own environment is that not everyone has complete control over their own environment that is, many of us share our homes and offices with other people so for example, I made the decision at some point that I was going to stop buying ben and jerry's ice cream but unfortunately I had three kids who were you know of ice cream eating age at that time and they were less thrilled about that particular decision of mine and so I had to actually negotiate with them that okay? You know I mean, because their view was well, if daddy's got a problem with ice cream daddy can find his own way of dealing with that okay um whereas my thought was I got a problem with this I'm going to fix it in you're gonna have to deal with my change but we needed to come to a compromise and so one of the reasons that we frequent places like amy's ice cream is that that's part of our compromise is uh you know, I'm not going to keep it in the house so that at ten o'clock when it was my prime ice cream munching time that it wasn't there for me to eat it but you know what when weekend comes if if you got if paul's been well, we're going to go out and we're going to get some ice cream for everybody because why should you suffer completely for what I'm if what I'm doing so notice that what we're doing here is negotiating a little bit in order to get some buy in from people in the environment so we have to recognize that when we make a change in the environment we're making changes that influence ourselves and others and sometimes we actually want to influence other people's behaviors as well right? So you might get rid of ice cream partly because you don't want it and partly because you think the other people in your house shouldn't have it as well you know, I respect that that's an opportunity to influence other people's environments but there are times where in fact you're not really trying to change somebody else's behavior you're just trying to change your own but your change in behavior is going to influence other people. So how do you how do you get uh that kind of buying and in those situations like I say you want to you want to really negotiate that you want to find out what's the pain point for the people when you when you make a change the environment, how really is that affecting other people? What can you do to to make sure that that other people are being able to achieve some of the goals that they need or want to achieve in that environment so that everybody is reasonably happy with changes that are being made? You know, sometimes you just want to ask for their support, right? You want to say, look, this is really important to me, you know uh, you know, it's much you know is maybe it's the case that that having getting ice cream out of the house is much more important to me than having ice cream in the houses to anybody else and so you could just ask people, look for your support I need I need your help with this come on, work with me, help me to do the thing that I need to do, and then you know, our their situations in which a compromise is possible, is it possible that you don't really need to clear the environment or completely changing the environment and in a particular way, but that there are some things that you could do that that will makes some of what you're trying to do more difficulty without necessarily removing something from the environment altogether, right? So are there some kinds of compromises you can make? So I think it's really, um, important to recognize that when you're making changes to the environment, that those changes may affect other people that you don't intend to effect, right? So sometimes we do want to influence people. Sometimes we're really just trying to influence ourselves, and we have to do that in the context of sharing that environment with other people, so we have to be sensitive to that, all right? So before we summarize any last questions about the environment well, we have a general question that came in about how does the personality discussion that we talked about earlier impact changing environment, I guess any sort of quick way to sum up how those two segments go together interesting, right? So so, obviously, you know, part of the reason we talked about personality was primarily to think about how these individual differences are creating habits, but one of the things that we can think about is, you know, to what degree does the environment, um relate to that? And one of the places where it relates to it is in this concept of need for closure, right? So remember, the need for need for closure was really a measure of to what degree am I in a thinking mode all the time versus in a doing mode? Part of the problem with it with being in a doing mode is that is, that if I enter this doing mode, then I'm very prone to engage in the kinds of habits that I have. And so when and so there are two things that my environment can do that relate to these to the thinking mode versus the doing mode, one of the things that the environment can do is simply to create environments in which, when I'm in the doing mode, the thing that's easiest to do is the right thing to do okay, so that's that's one of the kinds of habit changes that we want to make but then I noticed that a lot of these changes involved slowing certain things down, right? If you know so so I'm gonna avoid checking social media buy by logging out of my social media programs on my song on my phone, which slows me down locking the locking back in again if I slowed the elevator down, I get more people to walk on the stairs. What that's, what that's doing is is also putting people in a mode of you know, I have this habit where I walk and I press the button for the elevator instead of getting on the stairs and walking up or I'm walking down the hallway and so I logged into my social media platform and all of these things if they just happen automatically after that, I continue right on with my behavior by slowing everything down a little bit. I'm putting myself back in the mode where I have to think for a moment because there's some time to think and when I get myself into that thinking mode, it gives me a little bit more of an opportunity to engage some of that willpower to use that stop system and to get myself to do something different so that's one of the places I think where these two discussions really do come together so just to summarize how we can, we can use the environment, influence our own behaviors, we could use the environment to influence the the the the behaviors of the people around us, and we can do this by basically using the principle of making desirable behaviours easy, undesirable behaviors hard and the way that we do that is both we make the desirable behaviours easy by creating consistent mapping sze when we want to generate a particular habit for people, we want to make it easy to do that behavior. We want to make it easy to do it repeatedly, all right? So we want to maintain those kinds of consistent mapping, and we want to disrupt those consistent mapping tze and block those behaviors in the situations in which we don't want people to perform behavior. And so one of the things you want to do now is to get to know your environment, to think about the environments in which you're engaging behaviors and to figure out what are the ways that you can play around with that environment in order to affect the behaviors that you want that you want to create, right, it's it's, one of the most powerful influences you have.

Class Description

Setting a goal is one thing, but actually doing the work to achieve that goal is a totally different endeavor. If you want to hit your targets and make lasting changes in your life, join author and psychologist Art Markman, Ph.D., to learn what it takes to build and maintain healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

This course won’t serve up superficial self-help tips; instead, you’ll dive into the latest cognitive science behind behavior change. You’ll learn how to build new, positive habits and break the cycle of existing negative ones. You’ll explore what it takes to sustain healthy habits over time and increase your chances of maintaining new habits by empowering your friends and family to make positive changes, too.

Don’t waste another day simply wishing you could make a change that really sticks — equip yourself with the techniques you need to transform your life in measurable, powerful, and positive ways.



Wow. Very engaging, entertaining, and enlightening. Art Markman is so much fun to watch and listen to during the entire 3 day class. His brain dump has zero fluff. The concentration of so much information is incredible, and how he gets it into your head is mind boggling. He's whipped my brains into a spongy soufflé. I am so happy I discovered this class. Thank you!

a Creativelive Student

There are many things that can be said about success, but it really boils down to habits. What we do every day, consciously or subconsciously, are the causes that result in the effects sculpting our life. As beneficial as many of the courses on Creative Live are, none of them will pay off if they don't impact our habits. Not just a great course, but a mandatory one to make the others happen. Art's presentation is easy to understand, well expressed, and incredibly useful. Remember his sax playing. What is it you want to accomplish, and what habits do you need to exchange?