In this post I will share a few things that I took away from Switch – How to Change Things When Things are Hard a book by Chip & Dan Heath. The Heath brothers write very good books and none better than Switch. Here are some highlights.
Recently I have read several books and articles that reference recent research concerning grit. In fact, I posted specifically on grit a month ago. In Switch, the Heath brothers reference a study that tested the persistence (i.e. grit) of college students. They split them into two groups. One group was asked to wait in a room that had only radishes as a snack. The other was in a room with cookies for a snack. Then each group was asked to complete the same, difficult puzzle. The radish group gave up after 8 minutes; the cookie group continued for 19 minutes: over double the persistence.
The researchers theorized that individuals have a limited supply of persistence or grit. If they have already used some up eating something they don’t like then they don’t have as much to persevere in solving the work problem. Or perhaps the cookies increased the grit resource tank. 🙂 In either case a seemingly unrelated situation impacted the individuals ability to persevere.
Keeping this in mind how can you modify how you manage your time to most effectively manage your persistence resource?
Elephant and Rider
But perhaps the most interesting concept presented by the authors is the elephant and the rider. These represent the two parts of our decision process: emotional (elephant) and logical (rider). Do not expect that you will be able to suddenly force the elephant to do something it has not done before. You must make, small, incremental adjustments to your behavior in order to change how the elephant acts.
The Heath’s reference a poor student in an elementary school. In every class he was failing except for one. The teacher in that class was doing three things differently: she greeted him everyday, gave him easier work, and checked to see if he understood the work. The boy’s behavior in that class was not disruptive, he was progressing in the class though not as quickly as the other students, and he was getting better as time went by. His elephant was getting used to walking this path.
If you think these highlights are interesting then read the book. I highly recommend it for anyone who is attempting to make change in their life or their business. Then check out the other books that the Heath’s have available.