Understand how our brain drives UNHELPFUL habits (everyone needs to know this)

In this podcast, Dr Jon Finn discusses Chapter 11 of The Habit Mechanic.

He explains what actually happens inside our brains and why the many thousands of things we do everyday are unconscious or, in other words, done without thought.

Dr Finn also discusses why this is extremely unhelpful for us, in the fast-moving, challenging world we live in.

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Podcast Transcript

Hello Habit Mechanics, it’s Dr. Jon Finn here. Hope you’re having a fantastic week so far. Welcome back to the Habit Mechanic podcast. We’re going to talk about the brain today and how it actually works, and really getting to some of the reasons behind why we do lots of unhelpful things and often don’t even notice those things that we’re doing. Today, we’re talking about Chapter 11 of the Habit Mechanic.

I’m joined by my friend and colleague, Andrew Whitelam. Andrew, how are you?

Hi there, Andrew. Yes, it’s great to be with you on the podcast again. And, yeah, Chapter 11 has the title, “What Really Happens Inside My Brain,” and I’m really keen to explore it more with you, as you say. We’ll get into that in a few moments. I think we can do a bit of a spoiler and say there’s not really a lighthouse in the brain, is there? And, Jon, you’ll explain a bit more about that in a few moments. But firstly, I’d just like to ask you, Jon, the Habit Mechanic University app has been available now for free for a long time, and a lot of people are signing up to it and getting the benefits. But in July, you’ve got some exciting news coming on that. Please tell us more.

Yeah, so we’re actually going to be launching some powerful new features in the app that make it really easy for people to build more helpful habits. And by using those features, the value promise that we have is that you’re going to be able to improve your happiness and performance by over 25% in 90 days. And the new tools you’re going to be able to access include our Habit Mechanic assessment tools, so that you can identify your personal and leadership destructive and Super Habits. So you’re going to be able to use the tools that you see in the book but actually store your data and analyze it, so it’s easier to monitor your habits. You’re also going to be able to access our 30-plus award-winning Habit Mechanic tools in the app, so that you can destroy your destructive habits and start building new Super Habitss. We’re going to have live training and live master classes run by myself and colleagues to help you improve your happiness, performance, and leadership coaching. We’re going to have change challenges, flexible change challenges to make it easier for you to supercharge your motivation and to keep fine-tuning your Super Habitss. There’s going to be over a hundred bite-sized audio lessons in the app to reduce your stress, supercharge your focus, productivity, work-life balance, and we’re also going to include other things like our School Success program, so that if you’re a parent, you can start to help your child embed these tools into their day-to-day. Or if you’re a teacher, you can use the same insights with your pupils. And there’ll be much, much more. So we’re going to add a much richer experience into the app that gives users their own personal dashboard, which is going to be called your toolkit, and also have lots more events, and just make it much easier for people that want to make positive change to get those nine action factors working for them. And we’re pretty sure that those features will be available from July.

Well, that sounds fantastic. I’ve certainly downloaded Habit Mechanic University and used it to submit daily tea plans. That sounds absolutely amazing, what’s going to be coming in July, and I can’t wait for that. And I guess it would encourage everyone to download it now. You can do that for free, and then they’ll

But I think the the most important thing to pay attention to in relation to your brain is that word attention is that it’s always on you’re always thinking about something so we do have this almost Spotlight of attention and sometimes it’s on things that are helping us to be at our best sometimes it’s on things that are not helping us to be at our best and we found that idea of a lighthouse metaphor is really helpful for people to understand that we have episodic memories and the visual sites in our brain how much older than the audio sites you know so we see um not to get too distracted here but we see time and time again just how power vision is um so there’s a great research experiment for example where a group of Worlds class wine tasters are given some red wine to review and they’ll talk about this the different characteristics of this red etc etc and actually it’s not red wine it’s white wine it’s just been dyed so this is how powerful our eyes are and we see that time and time again through multiple experiments so if we combine the power of vision with with our episodic memories that’s why stories are so important for us and that’s why I list throughout the Habit Mechanic approach and the tougher Minds approach our stories stories that make it easier to understand ourselves but the stories are always based in really robust science sir in the in the chapter 10 podcasts we talked about the simplest way we introduced the brain which is through the lighthouse model in chapter 11 we go into a bit more detail about some of those mechanics that are actually driving our behavior um and talk a bit more about where the willpower character on the Hue oh as we’ll call the apron um actually resides within the physical architecture of the brain yeah and most significantly um in the chapter you talk in great detail about the consequences of these things Hugh and and horribly unhelpful emotions Hue and willpower or Willamina power um so so please do that for us now if you would Jon what do they do what what are the consequences of these these forces being active inside our brains inside our minds

Yes, so the the dominant part of the brain of our brain is the limbic regions and they are running most of what we’re doing most of the time so this an activity that we talk about this 98 percent to 100 of mindless thinking and doing that is driven by the limbic regions of the brain and that’s where Hugh horribly unhelpful emotions lives

the the limbic regions of the brain are really focused on survival and they’ve done a pretty good job because our species Homo sapiens have been around for over 300 000 years now so those Olympic regions are responsible for for keeping us alive and keeping us on the planet and there are lots of things the Olympic regions are interested in but I think the simplest way to understand them is through three key things one is they’re designed to help us to stay alive so you can think of simple functions like automating breathing automating your heart beating you know those really basic things you feel thirsty so you drink something you feel hungry so you eat something so you’ve got those basic alive functions you can also think of those in the context of avoiding physical violence threats sir we think we know the people know about the fight or flight response so this idea of um which we’ll talk more about when we talk about stress but in a real practical example of that might be if you’re walking down the road and there’s um you know you don’t we don’t see many lines tigers and bears anymore um but if you’re walking down the road and there’s a group of people walking towards you and they’ll look a little bit suspicious a little bit dodgy as we might say in the UK then you might cross the roads um if you hear a loud bang it gets your attention this is all driven by those alive centers in the limbic regions we’re also connected to that the second thing that the Liberties are interested in is how we’re perceived by important people in our lives so if we think about

our ancestors homo sapiens we are not the biggest fastest animals on the planet so when we were in our hunter Gathering days where we didn’t have houses to protect us Etc we didn’t live in such um controlled communities where we could get rid of all the all the natural Wildlife that might threaten us um we were very vulnerable you know to bigger Predators ultimately and the reason that we’ve been so prosperous is because we are better at work in intelligent intelligently in a team than any other animal so being liked by other people has been really important for our survival so if other important people like you your survival chances go up also if other people like you you can pass your genes on so I’ve been liked by other people what if what we call Social Status connects to social status is really important it’s been really important for for our survival and actually we can see now that the sights in our brain that tell us about um social status are actually hardwired into the parts of our brain that tell us we are thirsty and we are hungry that’s how fundamental they are we know that things like paracetamol and ibuprofen they’re just as good at helping us to deal with emotional pain social emotional pain as they are physical pain and that tells us that our brain doesn’t really distinguish between the two things so being liked by other people our social status is okay and that that’s one of the key drivers why social media has got so big so quickly because it allows people to tell a story about their lives to lots of other people so we’ve got um a brain a dominant brain that’s interested in helping us to stay alive being concerned about how we’re perceived by other people so life perceived and the third thing is energy sir once there are no obvious threats there’s more um physical violence threats there’s no social status threats we’ve got enough um your basic stuff to to keep us safe the next thing our brain is interested in is serving energy conserving energy and in fact our brain’s number one operating rule is to do things as efficiently as possible because for most of our time on the planet energy has been a scarce resource where hunter-gatherers there hasn’t always been supermarkets on the street corners you know most of our access to food now

our abundant access is quite a new thing you know your grandparents Generations wouldn’t have had anywhere near as much access to the food stocks that we do so our brain is still trying to save energy at all costs um and that’s actually why it turns everything that it can into a habit because habits are the most energy efficient way of doing things so we’ve got a brain that’s interested in Three core things one is to stay alive two is to manage how you’re perceived three years to conserve energy so we think about the alive perceived energy brain that’s what we call Olympic regions or in short we call it the apron um Daniel denner is a is a scientist I really admire and he talks about the Olympic regions of the brain you can imagine that they’re katrillion microscopic cogs just whirling around mindlessly we we cannot conceptualize what Trillium means I mean it’s too big for us to a million is quite hard to think about what would that look like if you had a million coins in coins in front of you or a million people trillionism we can’t get our heads around that but that’s how many little connections they are driving our behavior and automatically they are driven to help us to stay alive be concerned about how we’re perceived by by important people in our lives and then to save energy so that’s the apron yeah it’s absolutely fascinating Jon um I think so so what I think it’s worth pointing out for people um is your explanation’s super clear fantastically accessible and practical but people might I suppose be a little skeptical well Hang on we’re in the 21st century now I’m still driven by those Primal forces those those predispositions that you know I’m not an expert on early early man and the history of humanity but but cavemen might have had these sort of drivers that that’s that’s the reality of it yes so

evolution is a driver for survival so Evolution’s about adapting so that you can survive but we haven’t had an existential threat to our species in the last 300 000 years so we don’t we haven’t had a need to radically change uh biology it hasn’t been a natural selection process going on about the level of the limbic regions of the brain so yeah it’s fundamental there we’re driven by this by this you know I came on Brands and all the simplification I think about where it would be to say hunt together a brain we’re designed to move around and solve problems and control our environment you know even in the last you know a few years with the pandemic we’ve seen the impact that’s had on um just the basics of good sleep good diet good exercise because people are not necessarily moving around as much that means it’s harder to sleep it’s easier to consume and helpful food that’s just a few years snapshot we’ve been around for over 300 000 years so again that’s quite a hard timeline to get your head around we think of ancient history as the Tudors or you know something like that which actually wasn’t that long ago in terms of our existence on the Earth and

three hundred thousand years is just the homo sapien we are we are part of a bigger group of human beings which is also quite hard to get your head around that we’ve probably wiped out the other the other types of humans um one way or another so yeah we are driven by a brain that’s you know at least over 300 000 years old

yeah and um as you say in the book and as we’re going to discuss there are there are consequences uh that we can observe because of this and and are absolutely Central to to how you help people how you help people understand themselves so they can then start helping themselves um and and take them on the journey um and then one of the ways in which you illustrate um the consequences for us in the terms of our behavior of having the ape brain and horribly and helpful emotions um is an exercise a reading exercise um which is when you do it it’s a bit of a shock to the system I’ve seen you um do this exercise with a few groups of people different groups of people young old around the country Etc and uh online and in person and the results are invariably the same surprise it’s on page 106 of the Habit Mechanic book if you’ve got it and people might remember it um there’s um a paragraph of of Words which are shall we say jumbled but when people read them they understand them straight away tell us more about that Jon yeah so you can test this out on page 106. well we can do I suppose a primary example for this which is don’t think of a white elephant and you’re already thinking about it so we don’t think consciously we think mindlessly and we might imagine that reading and so the exercise on one or six is a reading exercise we might imagine that reading is a very conscious process but it’s nice of this habitual process and what the exercise is showing is that we don’t actually read every word letter by letter we actually read in pictures we just take little pictures of the words and as long as each word has a percentage of letters in the right order then will be able to understand what it means so we have this illusion of consciousness but we are not I mean even our eyes at if you look at neurobiological they’re turning on and off our eyes on our live stream they are taking little like pictures almost it looks like a live stream but it’s not that’s why we don’t get any if I move my head around I don’t see like uh bumps if I was doing that with a camera because my eyes are not in a constant stream which also might say sounds quite quite scary but this is the reality Consciousness is pretty much is an illusion we have a brain that is more complex than anything else we understand in the non-universe and it’s running most of the time on autopilot because it’s trying to save energy you know we’ve seen fantastic scientists um spend their dedicate their lives on unpicking this because that’s quite a new understanding just how unconscious we are people like Daniel Kingman you may have read or tried to read Thinking Fast and Slow um people like George lekoff uh Daniel’s work so yeah we are running an autopilot and that’s why you can make sense of jumbled words you know there’s there’s multiple iterations of those types of exercises you can do yeah and uh I think I think that exercise is is a fantastic illustration and as I say it really brings home to people um if they’re in any doubt about uh is their brain they might say my brain doesn’t work like that well yes it does and and that exercise um really does really does illustrate that um it will talk very shortly about um the consequences in in Greater depth than of of the consequences for us as people in our in our modern world about this uh this hard wiring that we have the the the way the brain works that we’ve just set out and and how really um in in again I’ll do a spoiler we’re not designed to be our best in in the modern world we’re living we’re going to talk in Greater depth about that in a few moments but Jon I just wanted to again to pause it and and say um ask you something about a program I know that um you’re getting a lot of inquiries about and uh you’re talking to people about the certified Habit Mechanic coaching program um and um this is a great opportunity for people to um really go in a different direction in their lives uh you’re offering people the opportunity to train to become a certified Habit Mechanic coach and help other people um and you’re going to guide people to develop their own coaching program as it were that’s an overview just just give us a bit more if you could about about this opportunity for people yes um we have very successfully now the last six months been training up a really exciting group of people to become certified Habit Mechanic coaches we’ve been helping them to create their own 90-day program so that they can have a really robust

I want to say uh backbone to changing their clients Behavior or changing people’s behaviour within their organisation and

we show them how to plug in the Habit Mechanic toolkit into how they can help the people that they want to help so some some people might want to improve people’s stress the 90-day program how they manage stress others want to work on helping their clients to become better leaders others to be more productive and focused for better work-life balance so yeah that is really really exciting and um

the the range of people that we’re working with has actually even amazed me because we’re working with some of the I mean you could argue one of the organisations you’re working with is probably the top performing organisation in the world and they got on the phone and said we’ve read your book and we’ve recognized because a lot we can learn from this so we want to help you we want you to train up some of our people so it’s been really amazing but I suppose what we’ve well what we now know is that you can make a really good living as a hobby mechanic coach and you can make easily over a hundred thousand pounds a year working part-time you know no doubt about that and we’ll show you how to do that and that’s pounds not dollars so if you’re listening in the US that’s I don’t know what that equates to 130 000 I think something like that um so

you know people are looking for a different different path a different career they’re secular nine to five they’re sick of giving Blood Sweat and Tears to a to a an organization where they don’t think they’re always getting things back so there’s more people than ever that need Habit Mechanic support and we can show you how to give that to them and we’ll show you how to do that by using our curriculum but we’ll show you how to tweak it for the needs of your clients so you’re going to be able to use the book and the app as the foundations as the the backbone to your program and then you coach on top of that so yeah this is you know our mission is to make it as easy as possible for people to be at their best sir training people to become certified have mechanic coaches is a natural um aggression for us and it’s been super successful over the last six months so we just opened up a few more places but this is the last time that we’re going to offer the price point that we’re offering but the price it is increasing um it’s a if you haven’t been in touch I read it I’d suggest getting in touch if you want to get the very best best price point yeah it sounds an amazing opportunity for people who are interested in becoming a coach and as you say more and more people are and and um yeah it’s an important function in society um I think we were talking about um artificial intelligence in in at greater length on previous podcasts and um I remember one analyst had said that um the job of coaching and supporting humans humans to humans as it were is going to become more and more relevant in our societies and communities as time goes on so um I think that’s another great reason to look at this and just just to finally stress this is an opportunity to work one-on-one with yourself to develop your own coaching program and learn directly from you yeah right now it is yeah that will be forever but right now I’m working with everyone one to one um so yeah it’s a great opportunity to do that and yeah as you say Andrew AI won’t be able to do this anytime soon in the sense of coaching people um elements of the job you currently do AI will be able to do lots of that stuff very soon I mean the rate of AI development is astounding even the experts in the field so what they were predicting two years ago would never be possible in modern history and now saying wow this is looking like it really is going to be possible but still machines what cannot communicate with humans like humans can and Coach them in the way that you’ll learn how to coach them via becoming a Habit Mechanic coach yeah well um and I just finally sorry Jon I meant to say as well of course anybody who does have an interest in it should just get in touch with you via the website presumably yeah if you can find the details on the website um on the become a certified in an internationally certified hyper mechanic coach and just contact us from that fantastic right well I would uh strongly suggest to everyone um with an interesting coaching absolutely does that as as a priority thanks for that Jon um let’s delve back into chapter 11 then uh on the podcast and um we’ve talked previously about the eight brain the alive perceived energy uh brain and uh drill down into that very very in great and useful detail um and the the takeaway I think uh that you stress in in chapter 11 is that this means as humans in the society we’re living we’re not designed to flourish necessarily to be our best um why does this predisposition if you like this hunter-gatherer brain not fit in our modern world well it’s designed for survival we’re designed to survive were designed to control our environment not necessarily to be healthy and happy and at our best as it looks in the modern world so if we just take the health component for example we have a world now where we don’t need to what we’re designed for example to walk about 12 miles a day we don’t even have to leave the house anymore you know some people you might be working from home today don’t have to actually leave the house and some people won’t from a dietary perspective I mean there’s a there’s actually a big um BBC Panorama program on uh last week or a big investigation coupled with maybe a couple of an investigative report from a big newspaper showing about the damaging impact of in simple terms Ultra processed food you know they put one of the things that we’re just using to demonstrate this Insight was two twins on a one on a sort of a natural healthy food diet one of an old proprocessed food diet and just the damage the ultra processed food just how within two weeks and almost seismic damage thankfully reversible so my point is that we now have access to a lot of nutrition a lot of food there is made in factories that’s made to look good not it’s not made to be healthy for our body and for our brain and therefore it damages our body and our brain it didn’t used to be that you food didn’t used to be accessible nowadays so we can be eating things that we think are healthy for us but actually they’re damaging our health and also those foods are very deliberately designed to make us buy them they say love love fat you know they have um they’re cheaper to make so the the supermarkets discount them down so these are all tricking our ape brain to wanting to consume those types of foods a man’s sleep has been massively eroded we I know that my grandparents generation on average slept one hour extra per night than my generation does that’s like an extra night’s sleep per week is huge um so just those three basic things we didn’t we didn’t used to have to even think about getting them right now we have to work quite hard to get them right so we’re not designed to um

find it necessarily easy to optimize the basics of good sleep good diet good exercise as they’ll as they’ll look in the 21st century world because they all require effort to establish better habits and at the same time we’ve got the big corporates trying to hijack our attention so that we spend time doing what they want us to do like staying up and watching streaming service rather than going to sleep for example yeah and then you know we just um we live in a world of I mean the positive psychologists would call it a hedonic treadmill we live in a world where it’s easier than ever to get short-term gratification so whether that’s you know you can buy things now can’t you online without even spending money so there is it I think is it I want to say karma or something like that I think it’s called clana yeah it’s the yeah it’s the it’s the installment uh system isn’t it I’m not I’ve not particularly looked at it Jon but yes I know what you mean you can you have to put your your details in it it lets you have it for free there and then so you can have you can even come so you can get consumer goods without even spending any money you can break off your boring task at work and check your social media so we live in a world where it’s easier than ever to get that short-term hit that had done it hit that becomes addictive and it disrupts um the things we need to do to stay healthy physically and mentally both by disrupting our sleep our diet our exercise you know possibly social connections that we have real life first to first social connections but it also stops us from making progress on meaningful work which is key if we want to really feel happy so people are chasing this quick hit quick hit quick hit um quick short-term gratification because the big businesses have worked out that’s what our brain wants it wants that dopamine hit constantly so they’ve given it to us they’ve given it easy access to it where that stops is actually doing the sort of work we need to do to make progress on difficult things which gives us that more deepfully meaningful feeling of achievement and success and satisfaction that’s much more long-lasting than getting a like on the on a on a social media post I start eating a donut or staying up later rather than getting a good night’s sleep yeah and I think just just to to drill down into what you said again the hedonic treadmill which is a fantastic phrase um but uh yeah slightly slightly worrying that obviously that’s Hedonism as you say pleasure first above everything um I’m not a uh entomology the study of words I’m not an expert in that but it’s possibly from from ancient Greek but yeah Hedonism I think we all understand that and um it’s perhaps worth pointing out that um this this you mentioned the the brain hormone dopamine that’s that’s connected to Hedonism we have a almost an injection of that when we when we experience pleasure is that right to say Jon ‘s that fair to say nearly it’s like that’s the prince actually so dopamine is an anticipatory um reward so we actually get dopamine in anticipation of doing something rewarding so the donor or the the chocolate brownie that’s presented to you in the glass um cabinet in the coffee shop you go to today it’s actually much more satisfying thinking about how good it’s going to be and actually when you get it in your mouth because when you get it in your mouth the like the feel the the feeling of satisfaction is Never As Good as as your brains told you it’s going to be so dopamine is actually an anticipation reward you know that’s why for example um you get the dot dot dot on the in your text message or your WhatsApp group that someone’s going to reply to you because it’s giving you that that gives you a dopamine yeah so yeah that’s a bit more a bit about dopamine we talked probably quite a lot about that in the book yes we do and uh suddenly uh realize made me realize the significance of the word typing on WhatsApp yes it’s when you think about it in those terms it’s very clear about the anticipation so um we have this previous predisposition we have we have habits that are not conducive to being our best in the modern world you talk about survival habits as well in in chapter 11 that we we developed these uh explain more about that please yeah well I’m a I suppose a Segway into that is that also the Red Dot you’ll see on your phone the companies know that most people associate red with danger so that’s why they put that’s why it’s red it’s not an accident so you think red red red red red problem problem now you don’t think that consciously but that’s what your subconscious brain is processing yeah so if we have a brain that’s driven to help us to stay alive manage to be concerned about how we’re perceived by other people to save energy it can lead to lots of unhelpful Habits Like procrastinating so we procrastinate because we’re trying to save energy because doing mentally challenging work takes a lot of energy but it doesn’t give you a fast reward so you’re you’re brain your brain and you tell you to break away and do something that gives you a faster reward um we get habitualized into telling ourselves a negative story about what other people think about us why they don’t like us Etc I remember all the time our brain is made up of about 100 billion neurons and those neurons are changing all the time in accordance with what we practice so when you practice procrastinating you get better at it when you practice worrying and beating yourself up you get better at it you develop more neurobiological Connections in your brains for those things so bear why I would think of us survival habits and many many people are getting better at them right now without even recognizing it because they’re just whirling around mindlessly that way of thinking is just whirling around mindless in your brain so it’s really easy to get better at lots of unhelpful things

yeah I mean on page 110 of of the book in chapter 11 you you have a list of uh of survival habits um which I’m sure all of us recognize in ourselves um and and and perhaps feel some sort of some sort of guilt I suppose about experiencing them but with this understanding that the Habit Mechanic gives us of how we work it’s uh it’s easier to to recognize this is this is innate this is a predisposition we all have and hopefully then that’s the the basis to well it is in court of course the basis on which to move forward from that um in that list you’ve got you’ve got jumping to conclusions I think listed Jon um I think it’s it’s worth and just talking about that that again relates to this this idea of of threat and and and being being ostracized from a social group if you like that we want to we want to assess everyone and make sure there’s no threat to us and also um think about our social status and jump into conclusions which is I think something I mean I certainly experienced a great deal I don’t know if there’s degrees of it but uh it’s something I I experience a lot and and um we touched on it when we talked about the the reading exercise how you just perceive something um so so talk to us about that explain that that specific example of a survival habit if you would yeah so I think it’s probably quite a general idea actually but the the thing you said the example you gave the most example is is one of the

things that we would connect to jump into conclusions our brain is trying to save energy so it just takes shortcuts sir yeah if you see someone that looks like you you are more likely to like them and trust them than someone that doesn’t look like you you haven’t spent any time with that person it’s just your brain making a shortcut you might um

see an email from someone see the odd keywords and reply to that email without properly reading it and your reply has nothing to do with the question you’re being asked so you’ve wasted some time and you’ve wasted your own time you’ve wasted the other person’s time you know that’s that’s another example we might jump to conclusions about other people’s behavior what their behavior means and we will will always um are more often than not magnetized throughout in that in in their actions so we’ll probably interpret it as more threatening than it possibly is so they’re doing that because they don’t like me and they’ll want me out of the business rather than it might be they’re doing that because they really care about me and they’re trying to help me to be better all right Brand’s always going to go for the or more like the not good for the the threat because that’s what it’s designed to do so yeah you know cognitive shortcuts jumping to conclusions um speaking A diversity equity and inclusion conference later this weekend you know cognitive bias training is a is a huge part of that that movement I think there are some problems with cognitive bias training because it’s a lot about knowing more and not actually helping people to build better habits but you know you could say you could probably also call that jump into conclusions training and um the things that he teaches is I think Frameworks to make it kind of slow down the thinking process I suppose so that you can maybe come to better decisions so yeah you know all this stuff ultimately

um there are brain mixers do has a function and it has a purpose so it’s not like we want to rip it out of our systems it’s just we need to be more aware of it so that we can recognize when it’s being activated in situations that are not helping us you know so jump into conclusions if you go back to the reading example helps us to read you know read faster if you like um but if it’s a really important document which misreading it might have a poor consequences then maybe we don’t just want to do the normal way you’d read it you know like I’d read it out loud or something or whatever it is yeah so that’s uh a bit more on jump into conclusions yeah well um the The Logical follow-on from that then is of course as you say and you hinted at we need to recognize this we need to understand it um and then we need to start working on ourselves and and go beyond this this potentially damaging State um you talk about survival habits the next chapter you talk about how to build new helpful habits and and the concept of me power conditioning and and obviously we’ll talk about that in the next episode of this podcast or the the next episode where we discuss the Habit Mechanic book and just give us a preview if you would Jon we need to then you know think about this process of working on ourselves and getting better and feeling better yeah well another we we introduced two concepts in chapter 11. we’ve talked a lot about the ape brain the the second concept we introduce is the hackbrin The Helpful attention control brain this is our prefrontal cortex and it’s where willpower lives and it’s this idea that so we’re always paying attention that’s what’s represented by the the light the lighthouse metaphor we can see how instinctively unhelpful sometimes that what we pay attention to is for our health our happiness and our performance that’s what we’ve really unpacked in this podcast so far but we’re not helpless we can intervene um in the lighthouse brim when we talk about willpower here we go a bit further and we talk about act helpful attention control so our willpower which lives in our conscious brain it’s our ability to intercede to actually say wait a minute worrying about this isn’t not helping me wait a minute staying up till two o’clock in the morning when I need to get up at six isn’t helping me wait a minute not like not not going out today and moving around he’s not help so we can intercede and we do that via the prefrontal cortex which we call the hack brain helpful attention control and we’re going to start to see this the centrality of attention and if we can start to get more control over our attention um and hopefully hack it works in two ways it’s we we can hack the eight brand but it’s also an acronym helpful attention control it’s the first step to starting to build better habits um and the first step to to becoming a Habit Mechanic is to start doing um me power conditioning which we’ll talk about when we unpack chapter 12. yeah and I very much look forward to that and um yeah well thank you so much for this uh this deep dive into chapter 11 Jon uh it’s been fascinating as always and um yeah they uh people of course if they haven’t read The Habit Mechanic already they should do they can do and then Habit Mechanic University app which we can um see on screen available from the App Store and Google play um to learn more about how to start working on yourself and feeling better and doing better every day um and uh yeah I look forward to chapter 12 to uh learn more about the uh the vast sophisticated body of science that underpins all this but but made in a but presented in such an accessible and simple way it really is fascinating um yeah so thanks again for your time Jon um thanks to everyone for listening don’t forget please do like the podcast leave a comment uh subscribe to it on the podcast platform of your choice and why not share it as well if you think it’s going to help somebody um please do that and of course uh five stars are always are always very much appreciated again on the podcast platform of your choice so thanks for listening Jon thanks for your time anything you’d like to say in closing yeah I just like to say at the heart of becoming a Habit Mechanic is learning and we’ve talked a lot about learning in chapter five we’ll talk more about that actually in chapter 26 but the core part of learning is repeat to remember remember to repeat so here’s a little test for you what does Apes stand for and what does hack stand for and if it’s helpful write down the answers this is how we change by repetition by practice if you practice beating yourself up lots you practice changing in that direction and if you practice doing more helpful things you get better in a more helpful Direction so if it’s helpful write down what does it stand for a p e and what does hack stand for HSE remember you’re only one habit aware

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