Michael Easter: The Comfort Crisis, Embracing Discomfort to Reclaim Your Wild, Happy, Healthy Self | E290

Michael Easter: The Comfort Crisis, Embracing Discomfort to Reclaim Your Wild, Happy, Healthy Self | E290

Michael Easter: The Comfort Crisis, Embracing Discomfort to Reclaim Your Wild, Happy, Healthy Self | E290

Alcohol offered Michael Easter a cheap thrill. But when he got sober, he needed to fill the void with other stimulating experiences. So, he turned to travel, surrounding himself with brilliant thinkers and people living at the extremes. From hunting in the Arctic to living in the Bolivian jungle, his experiences have helped him uncover practical ideas for optimizing life. In this episode, Michael breaks down the power of discomfort, the scarcity loop, and how to avoid falling into the trap of excess and bad behaviors.

Michael Easter is an expert on behavioral change and a New York Times bestselling author of The Comfort Crisis and Scarcity Brain. He is also a contributing editor at Men’s Health magazine and a columnist for Outside magazine.


In this episode, Hala and Michael will discuss:

– The side effects of too much comfort

– How to infuse more discomfort in our daily lives

– How uncomfortable situations lead to better health and more happiness

– Why we’re overly competent but underconfident

– The upside of boredom

– Why thinking of death leads to better decision-making

– The problems of excess

– How the scarcity loop fuels bad habits

– Why we’re so obsessed with unpredictable results

– How can we rewire our brains to change bad behaviors

– Tips for avoiding scarcity cues

– How to deal with information overload

– And other topics…


Michael Easter is an adventurer, an expert on behavioral change, and a New York Times bestselling author of The Comfort Crisis and Scarcity Brain. He is also a contributing editor at Men’s Health magazine, a columnist for Outside magazine, and a professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. His research focuses on how embracing discomfort can enhance well-being. His work has been featured in publications such as Men’s Journal, New York, and Scientific American, reaching audiences in over sixty countries. He shares his latest insights through his popular newsletter, ‘2% with Michael Easter.’


Connect With Michael:

Michael’s Website: https://eastermichael.com/

Michael’s Newsletter: https://www.twopct.com/


Resources Mentioned:

Michael’s Books:

The Comfort Crisis: Embrace Discomfort To Reclaim Your Wild, Happy, Healthy Self: https://www.amazon.com/Comfort-Crisis-Embrace-Discomfort-Reclaim/dp/0593138767

Scarcity Brain: Fix Your Craving Mindset and Rewire Your Habits to Thrive with Enough: https://www.amazon.com/Scarcity-Brain-Craving-Mindset-Rewire/dp/0593236629


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[00:00:00] Hala Taha: [00:01:00] Young improfiters, if you believe in science, then you believe that humans started to evolve six to seven million years ago, and our species, Homo sapiens, what we are today, really started to turn up 200, 000 years ago. And the problem with all of this is that technology only turned up about a hundred years ago.

[00:01:39] So the world has totally transformed since the industrial revolution. We now have food in abundance. We now have cars. We now have computers, devices, and the whole world has changed, but yet we still operate with the same brain and bodies, and that can cause a lot of problems. We're living with too much comfort.

[00:01:59] And too [00:02:00] much excess. And that's why I'm talking today with Michael Easter. He's a New York times bestselling author. He's also an investigative journalist. He wrote the bestselling books, the comfort crisis, as well as the scarcity brain. And today we're going to talk to him about how we can live healthier, happier, more productive lives by using the power of discomfort and avoiding excess.

[00:02:23] Michael, welcome to young and profiting podcast.

[00:02:25] Michael Easter: so much for having me i 

[00:02:27] Hala Taha: yeah likewise so are not the kind of journalist to just pick up a phone and have an interview you like to travel en a lot of your work is en Exotic places so can you talk to us about how your Adventures as a journalist first started.

[00:02:50] Michael Easter: I journal the first place that i wanted to go have interesting experiences and learn new interesting things from interesting people so 11 i [00:03:00] got in the journalism office every single story that i would pitch would get me outta the office and i started to become the go to we him into this weird experience and my stories always did really well because the reality es if all of the reporting you do is from behind the screen.

[00:03:20] Everyone else. Has access to that too you're never gonna learn anything really new cuz it's already on the internet and so you have to go places to get the best story and you really have to go places as well because i would pitch stories thinking they were one thing but 11 i got there it would be a totally different thing and i think those experiences shape and color how you actually tell the story they you a story how people digest information 

[00:03:44] Hala Taha: well i want my listeners to understand just.

[00:03:46] How many places you've been to and how cool these places have been so what are some of the most interesting places you've been for your writing. 

[00:03:54] Michael Easter: Oh, so i spent a en the [00:04:00] i

[00:04:05] to to i some time i went into this remote jungle location en Bolivia. Mon en new Mexico for a week so a of interesting

[00:04:27] Hala Taha: i love it and so i notice a pattern es insights from the edge and you that this is how you get the best stories but what else what makes you so passionate about that. 

[00:04:39] Michael Easter: I think that I'm just a person who has always been draw to extreme experiences to be quite honest that hasn't always a that i been for about and i think what initially Drew me before i what Drew me to alcohol that it was [00:05:00] a very cheap fast way to have an extreme experience and 11 i got sober i had to channel that into something else.

[00:05:09] And it really became the new experiences as a solo person often experiences that have some element that might keep the average journalist away and so yeah that's just kind how things work and it's just kind of a more productive way to scratch the Strange to explore and do interesting things i guess 

[00:05:35] Hala Taha: yaSpeaking of the of that inspir your work with the comfort crisis can you to us about how going away with this extreme explor you a on your hands 

[00:05:48] Michael Easter: the big

[00:05:54] more and more comfortable in so many ways happening [00:06:00] we. Climate control we no longer have to put effort for food our relationship to has engineer life we a lot less time en nature i mean i could just go on and on and on that's really changed us and not for the better because when you look at what improves people it's their Physical health mental its spiritu there element of discomfort that it takes to get the benefit so for example exercise.

[00:06:30] Es going to improve your health you have to exercise to do it and exercise is uncomfortable but you get this long term benefit same goes with mental health and asking yourself hard questions and having hard Conversations with others it's uncomfortable in the short term but beneficial in the long term and humans are very much wired to do the next easiest most comfortable thing because that in the past.

[00:06:57] In any extra effort you wanted to avoid [00:07:00] temperature swings you wanted to basically do the next easiest thing cause that kept you alive but now we live in a world where things are easy and things are comfortable that doesn't serve us and so the idea of going to the Arctic was okay, I've made this observation that you have to do challenging uncomfortable things in order to improve your life well let's test that out in a really grand scale let's go up to the Arctic for more than a month.

[00:07:23] Si what we can de an open mind i can tell you absolutely life at the same time from that experience my message is not hey you have to do these really crazy extreme things that are gonna take a month not at all a big message that i talk about and write about is this idea of what i call being a two so this comes from a study that found that only percent of people take the stairs when there also a.

[00:07:52] So a hundred percent of those people knew that if they just took the stairs they would get a better long term return house but ninety eight percent [00:08:00] of people take the escalator wire to do easy thing even when it doesn't serve my whole newsletter es based on thisw p. Do com i just write about this in a lot of different ways in ways that no 

[00:08:15] Hala Taha: definitely stick that link to the newsletter in the show notes so everybody can check it out.

[00:08:20] But i did wanna talk about i had woff on the show so this is actually not the first time that we're talking about comfort so i had woff on the show about a year ago. And he talked about comfort and how he uses cold and breathing to kind of Awaken the body to right and he talked to us about how we're so comfortable all the time that our body is just getting lazy and so we're not really leveraging our full health and body and brain just on auto being too comfortable so I'm very excited to go over this topic with you because I've been thinking about it for a year now and haven't really gotten to go super deep.

[00:08:56] So let's go deep right now what are all the different ways that humans [00:09:00] have gotten too comfortable and what is the problem with that 

[00:09:03] Michael Easter: oh, god say that all the comfort we in the space so we've made all this progress it's amazing but now we've kind have side Effects and have become victims of our progress so for example I'll just start listing some out in the past humans used to take about.

[00:09:25] Twenty thousand steps a day today the average person takes four thousand so that is one of the causes of the epidemic of heart and diabetes that we have for en the past people didn't eat that much because food hard de can by today eighty percent of eating es driven by just eat just cause food and we have this food system that is designed to.

[00:09:58] So [00:10:00] twelve to with digital media all that es new in the last in the past you would get bored and you would have to go on board what am i gonna do and you would come up with something productive well now it's like. Okay Tik to and that's not really moving your life forward so people say that they are uncomfortable en silence.

[00:10:21] But we recently for and when where they have people work en open office office the people who working in the office but when they look at the amount quality of work the group always beat the group in office. Back in your life can be important i could go on and on and on there's just so many examples of how this affect us en ways that i don't think we [00:11:00] ways de reduce not only what we're physically capable of also capable of business 

[00:11:08] Hala Taha: ya and i would say humans we were uncomfortable for a long time discomfort really only happened since the industrial revolution primarily right 

[00:11:17] Michael Easter: ya.

[00:11:20] Things you start to see different changes now people will think like oh eighteen fifty that's a long time not really in the grand sche of time space so humans as a been for two million so over we lived in uncomfortable and we drive to do the next thing and.

[00:11:47] Hala Taha: Can you talk to us about exercise and how we engineer exercise out of our lives 

[00:11:53] Michael Easter: so i told you the Twenty thousand steps thousand steps that when you accum everything en [00:12:00] Physical activity a day our ancestor fourteen times more en and by the way I'm using the word exercise but it's not actually the best word to use because exercise es made up.

[00:12:16] Exercise is just moving around for the sake of it these people weren't like i think I'm gonna do some jazz exercise no they were having to walk really long distances to find food they were having to hunt they were having to gather even for example when they were at rest they were often having to sit in the squatting position so that Works like a low level of muscle and now we just sit in chairs and our muscles can go totally Slack so that's one of the Reasons why people get back pain is because we don't really use our muscles.

[00:12:45] Rest anymore i mean there's just so many ways that were less physically active and Physical activity es the best single best thing that you can do to prevent disease over the long run and live a better life and it's [00:13:00] really a great boster of focus at work of product at work it's the magic pill. It's a little bit uncomfortable it's un uncomfortable pill de SW 

[00:13:10] Hala Taha: yeah it's funny to me to think about the fact that i think a lot of us tuning in are probably exercising three to five times a week it's part of our routine to like go to the gym and it's so funny to think that this is just something made up because we don't do manual labor anymore we're not hunting anymore and it's just something that we've made up to be healthier to me that's just mind blowing the fact that we just don't do.

[00:13:36] The things that we used to do back in the day and we've gotta like engineer fake exercise it's real exercise but fake moving our bodies except for no reason 

[00:13:46] Michael Easter: very new to we really after the

[00:13:55] in a field rather you were sitting at a desk scientists start to make observations. [00:14:00] Well those people who sit all the time they seem to die earlier and they seem to be sicker than these people who are still moving around and so they go okay, it must have something to do with movement so what do we do well let's just invent this thing called exercise and we'll have these people who sit all day will go have them go to a building and will put some things that Weigh something in there and they can pick and.

[00:14:23] Machine

[00:14:28] at 

[00:14:31] Hala Taha: yeah we this time to do that kind its clear health is important when it comes to putting ourselves en uncomfortable situations pero why do you think happiness is a result of that as well.

[00:14:48] Michael Easter: Things get we i won't get into basical if something a lot of effort to get [00:15:00] you wanted to have people god this amazing when you get it so you would do that and so still that gets translated today as a listener think about the things that you have found most rewarding in your life.

[00:15:18] Tend to be a or building business that easy a

[00:15:33] persisting when things work out in your favor it becomes like this amazing thing that you've accomplished.

[00:15:45] Hala Taha: So let's talk about these metaphorical tigers you say that we have to bring back into our lives how can we infuse more discomfort en our Daily lives 

[00:15:54] Michael Easter: i think that there is a million d. Ways you can do it i [00:16:00] do percent it's really a metaphor for. You have easy thing or the slight hard thing that's gonna give you a long term return your body's gonna tell you and your brain's gonna tell you do the easy thing you're if you can consistently choose that slightly hard thing you're gonna get such a better long term return on whatever domain that's in that idea applies businesses to health to mental health so i it can be as simple as just taking the metaphor.

[00:16:33] Same time i think there's also a case for doing one big epic thing every year so theres this concept that i talk about in the book called and it's based on this idea you know if you think about how humans lived in the past we used to have to do really big epic challenges all the time life we didn't know if we could complete but we would have to in order to survive and each time that we would take one on.

[00:16:57] Get stretch to our limits you know we think [00:17:00] we had to quit we think we're like I'm not gonna be able to finish this but by going through that and finishing we would realize that we more capable than we realize humans are capable of so much more we just un ourselves and so trying to take on a big epic task every single year where you're not sure if you're gonna make it like i might fail with this I'm not sure if i can do it fifty fifty shot.

[00:17:26] I think you get put in one of dos positions where you have and you struggle with

[00:17:34] how you view yourself moving forward that allows you to accompl more 

[00:17:41] Hala Taha: and are you talking about something Physical o can this be digital like en of taking on something that's really hard to do 

[00:17:49] Michael Easter: i honestly think it can be anything what is one big thing you think would move the and what is that goal. 11.

[00:17:56] You set that be like what the odds that i think that i could [00:18:00] accomplish it and i will tell you your first answer is gonna be wrong people are always gonna do things that will be challenging they can accomplish so think about how people run marathon no one goes i don't know if im gonna be able to run this marathon i don't know if

[00:18:20] you want so where you yourself going. I really have no idea to accomplish this but I'm gonna find out and i know that's gonna change me even if you fail you something about yourself. Por ejemplo, yo today is not that big in the past it if you fail it if you.

[00:18:53] En business i lost money i and the up[00:19:00] 

[00:19:02] take swing next 

[00:19:06] Hala Taha: i think this is a important point that you're bringing up basically a of our fears actually don't have much Weight because we're not actually gonna die if something happens so we have a lot of stress and anxiety that we carry around all the time because of. How we've evolved over time can you talk to us more about that 

[00:19:25] Michael Easter: i have the say that human to be overly competent but under c basically i want you to think of these scenarios a million ago and we get to a point where we're gonna have to cross a river do you want the person who's like i don't know if i can cross that river right there's this danger like i don't think i can do that but if they get put in the position where they have to do it.

[00:19:51] They can accomplish it because you don't want people to take on unnecessary risk but if they get put in that risky position you want them to be able to get [00:20:00] through it right you don't want the person who is the opposite where they're like oh i could definitely cross that river i got this shit and then they get on the river and they drown right because they're not that competent so i think that the big message is that people are always gonna undersell themselves and we're gonna be afraid but 11 we actually get in the thick of it.

[00:20:20] We

[00:20:25] and and by can 


[00:20:34] its super tac right now give us some waves that we can take the metaphor day day what are some common things that we can switch up to just bring more discomfort in our lives.

[00:20:53] Michael Easter: The won't really impact your that much and i would refer people to a study that found that people [00:21:00] who climbs for just three minutes they were thirty percent less likely to die across a year span so three minutes a day that is not a lot of time one thing that i will do for example is that if i have a work call.

[00:21:15] Instead of just sitting on the couch and taking it sitting it i will take and sometimes I'll even throw a backpack that has some Weight in it en order to make that a little bit harder and so i might cover like three miles in the course of a one hour call its slightly hard slightly more uncomfortable but I've done all this work at a time when i originally be sitting normally i think that finding ways to.

[00:21:45] Life can be really for ideas creat the people with the best ideas when of course you gotta execute but if you don't have a good idea to start you are never going anywhere and when you look at [00:22:00] what time on device to creativity i mean it really just creat we're looking at ideas those our. People generally find uncomfortable but by going through that their brain has to start thinking of ok what something else i que do you start to get some thoughts going and you sit with it you see Studies that people who have gone through bodom on computer day higher en creativity they come.

[00:22:39] So i think that could be a good one something to get bored is even just go for a walk outside without your phone for like Twenty minutes 

[00:22:45] Hala Taha: and it kind of just means like being silence 

[00:22:49] Michael Easter: yeah silence is huge work in silence i mean i know so many people that can't do anything without music on in the background no.

[00:22:55] Hala Taha: I don't understand that I'm like please cuz my whole 

[00:22:58] job is talking [00:23:00] hearing and i just want quiet a lot of the time so I'm with you on that 

[00:23:04] Michael Easter: yeah totally. So one of the sections that i get in the book es milly heavy but i think it's pretty important es that we very much remove death from our lives as a culture and i think that by realizing that this ride life is gonna end that es very uncomfortable.

[00:23:25] But i think it changes how meaning that you start to make better decisions that are gonna impact you in the long run you come down to the center of what matters to you en theres really great research that has people sit with the thought of death and en every single study they all se ya that was super uncomfortable in the short term but led me to estar making different decisions in mi life.

[00:23:53] Dos decisions 

[00:23:56] Hala Taha: this is all really great stuff so again it's called [00:24:00] the comfort crisis and so let's move on to your latest book called the scarcity brain and to warm e up you say we're all operating today with the scarcity and survival over ancien ancestors can you walk us through what it was like thousands of years ago to be human and how the people who survived and 

[00:24:19] passed on their genes.

[00:24:21] Really the people who embraced access 

[00:24:24] Michael Easter: when you think about what humans need to survive its food its possessions like tools shelter it is information you wanna know what's coming up next what do i need to do to keep surviving it is status

[00:24:47] so in the past.

[00:24:52] So humans evolved to basically obsess about getting more and more because if they hard define that's all you want to be focused on [00:25:00] right is find this stuff so i don't die food stuff status information possessions and now all of that stuff that we need to survive we have a crazy excess of it to give you some comparisons life in the past used to be a game of just finding food and there's never enough of it.

[00:25:20] Now in the United states seventy percent of the population es overweight and we a third so we've just got food every and food es designed to be as tasty as possible so will eat more of it so the food industry can make more money when you think of stuff even just i think it's like two hundred years ago actually i think it was less i think it was about a hundred fifty years ago the average person owned about two outfits.

[00:25:48] Today the average person a hundred the average house has more ten thousand items anywhere from ten thousand to forty thousand items when think about information [00:26:00] a person today en just one single day d. See more information than a person in the fourteen what life and status we.

[00:26:18] But we group hundred people well now it like you can just go into Instagram and quant in stuff about yourself people around the we have en ways that i think can be beneficial sometimes I'm not saying any of this stuff is bad progress i do think that when you to at.

[00:26:49] Can

[00:26:53] Hala Taha: un like we were talking about earlier its kind like our brain is not evolving as fast as technology right so [00:27:00] technology it's been like a hundred years since we really had it and it's like life es completely changed and our brain took a million years to evolve do you think ai is gonna make everything significantly worse now.

[00:27:12] Michael Easter: Think basically with every technology so things become better so things become worse I'll give food as an example for all time the problem is that we didn't have enough food you had people and in mas then we got hyper food as a whole that benefit of humanity by far now our problem is we have

[00:27:37] it over and much so all of these. Progres i like to say that i will take the problems we have today from over the one from but that also doesn't mean they problems that we need to be thinking about how to solve what excites me about ai es advances in Medicine i think [00:28:00] it can be helping people the disease helping with.

[00:28:09] Information i think it's gonna be a little bit of a SW i think it's gonna be a lot of con i think people end up losing Jobs depending on what their Jobs are and i think that's gonna be pretty chaotic i think we'll probably spend less time together as humans the more we get and that me because i think time with others is really important so yeah it's like technology at the end of the day is just a tool how you use it really determines its effect on you.

[00:28:39] At the same time the more technology we get the more you live society so give my uncle old school old school railroad work up into the mountain at a time cuz you just can stand society so so now, he tried to travel [00:29:00] some and the only way. He get a. So it's like now the dude has to adopt this smartphone which he doesn't want by the way because.

[00:29:09] He can't get on a plane anymore if you're a person who's like well i spend too much time on Instagram i spend too much time on Twitter i buy too much crap on Amazon i don't wanna be carrying a smartphone around it's like well now you can't do all these things that are normal in society because you don't have this technology and you see that in tons and tons of different ways.

[00:29:27] Hala Taha: So interesting so i wanna talk about something that you mentioned in your book that's a really important concept the fact that really bad behaviors a resulting of having a scarcity brain can you talk to us about some of the worst things that happen because everything is backfiring from having this scarcity mindset 

[00:29:45] Michael Easter: i talk about this thing en scar scar so my opinion on es that.

[00:29:54] Everyone wants to new habit but if you still are [00:30:00] doing you still have your foot on the break you're not going anywhere because its typically a worst habits they us down more good habits are push us forward and when you look at what that habit people have they tend to fall this thing and i it i live in las Vegas and i learned about it by.

[00:30:23] Basically people who play Machines en las Vegas people will play Machines for hours and everyone house always wins game after game after game and to me it was one of those things i see that and i just go that doesn't make any sense so because I'm a journalist when i make an observation like that though i don't just kind of move on i gotta go okay, we gotta figure out why someone would do that long story short i end up in this.

[00:30:51] Brand new cutting edge working casino but this place is used entirely for human Behavior research so this is like the Twilight zone [00:31:00] casino it just wild who design slot Machines and he tells me. Okay. Here's how slot machine Works it's got three parts so its opportunity un opportunity is you have an opportunity to win money the slot machine right there's your reason for playing but then it has unpredictable Rewards.

[00:31:20] So you know that yo win at some point but you don know when that's can happen. Y eso don know how much money you are going to win in a game you could lose you could win like two win like and then finally it so 11 you finish the one game you can i the start so when you look at Machines people play nine games en hour.

[00:31:46] Simply because it's this random Rewards game that you just cycle through money win money the reason i told you that and you're probably going like i play saw Machines i no. The reason i told you that and this is important to [00:32:00] understand we as a society and where we get stuck es that this system that really came machine in got adopted a lot of big tech companies and put in all the technologies that people today tend to get.

[00:32:16] So its what makes social media work what makes Dating apps so Addict its what makes Sports be so Addict it is en personal finance app now its really keep people going over over over eventually over time 

[00:32:37] Hala Taha: can i dig on that a little bit what does the research say about why we're so obsessed with unpredictable results.

[00:32:44] Michael Easter: Speaking my language this is where i like to dig in so okay, i i wonder the same question right so i talk to the slot machine Designer and he walks me through this I'm like totally makes sense yeah but why what's the deeper reason he's just like dude i don't know i just make slot Machines so i eventually talked [00:33:00] to this guy who is a psychologist and he's about eighty something years old he's one of the greatest Behavioral psychologists in the world still Works like Sixty hours a week Guys crazy and he told me.

[00:33:14] What explains is evolution like everything he said when you think about humans in the past we had to find food every single day so our opportunity is to find food so we don't star but we didn't know where the food was right and we didn't know how much of it we would find so you go to one place no food then no food you got another place no food.

[00:33:41] You find the food its like. Oh my god thats and then the next day you gotta that again over over again that to find food un[00:34:00] 

[00:34:00] life. 

[00:34:02] Hala Taha: So with the quick repeatability that was really eye opening for me because most things you can't just do it again right but the really bad things like eating a chip and then finishing the whole bag of chips that's something that humans often do so talk to us about quick repeatability and how it Works in some situations and doesn't work in other situaciones 

[00:34:22] Michael Easter: the i think is one of the things that has.

[00:34:29] Basically in short you can do

[00:34:35] so un example from the machine world is that one machine to arm and play people started basically gambling double overnight people went from playing four hundred games an hour to nine hundred games an hour. Say social media [00:35:00] how much social media do you think you would use if you could see say ten post and then you had the hit the next button and then that page would load and do it 

[00:35:07] Hala Taha: a 

[00:35:08] Michael Easter: a lot less infini and to your point i love that you brought up food cuz this is one of my favorite examples i talked to a guy from the food industry he's an executive at a junk food company and he basically told me that if you want to get a food a junk food de sell it's gotta have three vs it's gotta have.

[00:35:25] It have variety and its gotta have Velocity that's the scarcity loop just using different language so Velocity becomes really important when you look at when obesity really took off in the seventies es because the food industry started producing a lot more foods that were faster to eat so to your point about the chips imagine if you have one person sitting on the couch and they're eating a potato versus another person sitting on the couch with the bag of chips who do you think is gonna eat more calories.

[00:35:54] De all triggers it [00:36:00] more and in important 



[00:36:10] do you think that we not trigger to understand when we are in ex or having too much of something 

[00:36:22] Michael Easter: i go back to what we talked about before moderation has never made about maybe. So for all of time it never made sense to moderate if you had the ability to over eat you would want to do that cuz you're soon you're gonna face a shortage of food and you want to have a little bit extra Weight on your body so you can survive that right if you have an opportunity to get more information you want as much information as you can because it'll help you survive but now that gets put on infinite scroll on Twitter and you just see people going down rabbit we not designed to moderate.

[00:36:58] Ever [00:37:00] 

[00:37:01] Hala Taha: so how can we get over this how can we rewire our brains so that we follow this

[00:37:15] Michael Easter: simply the Behavior so this leverages something that is called the Observer effect 11 you become aware of a Behavior and you start to track it. How often you do the Behavior so when s. Do Studies on workers product when they go do you think the workers do 

[00:37:38] Hala Taha: better work 

[00:37:40] Michael Easter: they they do more so just simply observing a ll give a you an example like with food simply becoming aware of how much you actually eat and like tracking that can be really informative for people.

[00:37:53] With social media every time you pull out your phone and go to use social media write down write down one time [00:38:00] why you opened it what the situation simply by tracking that you start to be like oh, i seem to open my phone when i get frustrated at work o maybe i just need to sit through that frustration and that starts to change things so number one observation number two es that if the thing we.

[00:38:23] You can remove any of those three we about I'll give you un example with cell phones so we just talked about how es more apps that you can use that in before you can get into an app when i first this you want me download app so i can use another app last right sounds crazy. Download this app and I've done a of work with i love the two and what this app does is you pick [00:39:00] the apps that you wanna restrict say Instagram and then when you click Instagram up pops the thing and it says are you sure you wanna use Instagram and then you can choose yes or no and you go yes i wanna use it and it goes okay, take a breath take a breath for like ten seconds then it shows you a nice uplifting quote none it asked you how long you wanna spend on Instagram and you go i think i wanna spend say five minutes.

[00:39:21] Simply just having that pause in there it forces intentionality right it slows down the quick repeatability and you go ya i didn't wanna open Instagram we just reflexively open these apps that are engineered to be addictive and most of the time you probably say i actually don't wanna go in there but when you do you have to get intentional about it and it also puts a limit because i think everyone's experienced whatever the app is is like you go in the app to do one thing.

[00:39:46] And you start doing fifty thousand other things that are not the one thing you went in so that's one of the ways you can modify that's what cell phones but you can also slow down quick simply by eating [00:40:00] less junk food because it is engineer to make you eat faster so foods that have just one ingredient people.

[00:40:10] Hala Taha: They as tas they as addictive to your point 

[00:40:13] Michael Easter: yeah exactly oh a good one for shopping too because people online it's so much easier to buy step es to put something in your car and put a seventy two day period a list and you go. Ok, i want this thing I'm gonna put it in my car and we return to it seventy and I'm gonna have this time and in that time you might decide hey, i actually really do need this thing but a lot of the time you're gonna be like.

[00:40:40] I don't even remember why i wanted to buy that thing i don't even like those shoes that shirt i don't know and you don't buy it 

[00:40:46] Hala Taha: i love all those tips how about cues right so there's certain things that might trigger us to even start a loop to begin with so can you talk to us about cues and how we can avoid scar cus 

[00:40:56] Michael Easter: yeah usually i would say that most of the time [00:41:00] that we do habits fall into the City loop it's because we're looking for some sort of short term escape take the example of.

[00:41:09] Instagram it's usually because you're slightly you have this discomfort or you stress and that Gives you some relief o think of food stress eating is a thing right and what is the best food for stress eating it like candy 

[00:41:23] Hala Taha: yeah 

[00:41:26] Michael Easter: so usually it's some sort of internal discomfort and the tend discomfort.

[00:41:38] So becoming important 

[00:41:42] Hala Taha: so a lot of my listeners were spending all day on the computer and like you just gave a crazy stat that somebody the seventeen hundred what we see one day what they saw en their lifetime en of information so how do we deal with this information overload that we have today 

[00:41:57] Michael Easter: i mean i en media journalism [00:42:00] and i can tell you that.

[00:42:05] Of media c is to get as much attention as possible to monetize it and the way you do that is often by running things that have some controversy or you watch the news it's like violence destruction chaos but that often times it's not actually a reflection of the because the news is gonna run five murder whether or not the murder rising.

[00:42:34] So i do think that keeping that in mind and just les news en general can be good for people or even slower news i get world news from magazine it's like to

[00:42:51] important that's a big thing that i built this newsletter on is it comes out a week and I'm gonna tell you. [00:43:00] Important Twitter like everything's so important in the world whatever and there nonsense and so la proposition es we actually get intent information here so you can do stuff thats actually gonna move your life forward rather no.

[00:43:15] I think some newsletters can be if you not into the print thing and yeah i think i honestly think when you look at how much time people spend on their phone i think we all was phone is important.

[00:43:31] This the crisis es when people use their last often and that i can with this i cant use my phone just Netflix instead and there's no d to your brain between your phone en Netflix your computer so i think people would probably be better off psychological if they have les just digital technology. Life [00:44:00] take time every day disconnect and outside we know that going outside can be really good for people's mental health and productivity and ideas and all these things 

[00:44:12] Hala Taha: so we know that the scarcity loop Works and we're so addicted to things like slot Machines and junk food how can we take this and actually use it to our benefit to be more productive to gain skills and things like that 

[00:44:26] Michael Easter: apps.

[00:44:28] On

[00:44:30] do i think a one i think that and this is a funny one i friends with the poco man go and the whole idea like he had this kid who just play video games alone at home and so the guy goes well no hes into these random Rewards that are embedded en video games. He's not spending time outside he's not exercising and he is not spending time with other people so with [00:45:00] Pokemon go his whole go es you know what you are gonna play video game but it's gonna be put out onto the real world you're gonna end up walking miles and miles to find these Pokemon you are going to be exposed to the outdoors and by the way if you do with people you able to catch more so friends.

[00:45:20] El way to get sort of in all into a game but i also think there's a lot of ways to this out with business i talk about some of lo i think that the loop in a positive way is in a lot of activities in nature so for example like a lot of people get really watching because you don't know what bird you gonna see when it's gonna appear.

[00:45:48] You so finding ways how can i flip this thing positive in a way that's gonna enhance my life give me all these things that we know good people 

[00:45:58] Hala Taha: well Michael thank you [00:46:00] so much for your time today podcast i feel we learned so much about the power of discomfort the scarcity loop and how we can avoid falling into the trap of excess and bad behaviors so thank you so much for your time today i always end all of my interviews with two questions.

[00:46:17] You can answer it however you want doesn't have to be about the topic of today so the first question is what is one actionable thing are can do today to become more profitable tomorrow 

[00:46:29] Michael Easter: so i go the mountain of new Mexico no talking a no cellphones no. Electricity it ra they have this bookstore. To the i go in and there's all these books it's a catholic bookstore right and there's this one that i just randomly pull out and is written by a lives in a cave about his experience and [00:47:00] he wrote about how hard it was at first and how it just felt like this abyss but on the other side of that he improved so much spiritually as a person in his thinking and he has this line in there that he says.

[00:47:11] You risk so much hesitating to find yourself into the and i have never thought about that that just changed me it's really the thesis of the comfort crisis but the way. He put that just it changed me Forever cuz it's so true it's like you are risking so much by not being willing to do this thing that seems like scary that seems big that feels the

[00:47:36] Hala Taha: i love that. And what is your secret to profiting in life and this can go Beyond business and finance 

[00:47:43] Michael Easter: i personally i had so that scratch my for kind of adventure and that sort of weird thing i have inside of me way monet it so for me it's like i like going [00:48:00] to extreme places talking to people asking questions i like learning information.

[00:48:06] A me to do that for living and i think you know if you're m in your job if you Empire 

[00:48:15] Hala Taha: thank you so much Michael where can everybody learn from you and everything that you do 

[00:48:19] Michael Easter: you can check out my newsletter it's at tw dot com and then I'm on all the socials i think if you just search my name I'll pop up.

[00:48:27] Hala Taha: Amazing Awesome well thank you so much por joining us 

[00:48:30] Michael Easter: thank you. 

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