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Unleash Your Brain's Autopilot
Unleash Your Brain's Autopilot
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"A general 'law of least effort' applies to cognitive as well as physical exertion. The law asserts that if there are several ways of achieving the same goal, people will eventually gravitate to the least demanding course of action... Laziness is built deep into our nature." - Daniel Kahneman. 

One of the most significant findings from Behavioural Economics is that we are on autopilot for most of the day, for most of our lives. But, rather than bemoan the nature of our minds, why not make the most of it? 

It's true that we are capable of creative, high-energy, and inventive thought — however, such effort costs us dearly and comes rarely. So why not make the most of the rest of the time? Why not get more out of your mind and activity when you're simply coasting and drifting through life. Imagine tapping into that time and 'drifting with purpose and impact'. 

Get started now — set yourself up for success by leveraging these mental models to get more from your brain's autopilot. 

This Playbook includes the following sections, select a heading to jump to that section.
Let's start with a quick reminder about how we think, or don't think, in situations...
Fast and Slow Thinking
Start here — this foundational model from Behavioural Economics explains your brain's autopilot tendencies in terms of Fast vs Slow Thinking.
If you accept that your mind will be in autopilot, here are techniques to lay down a better pre-programmed route.
EAST Framework
Leveraging Nudges through the EAST Framework is all about reducing friction and making your desired behaviours more easy, attractive, social and timely. Click into this model for examples.
Ulysses Pact
Future you might not be as resourced, as deliberate, or responsible as your conscious mind at this moment. Rather than accepting that, set future you up for success with Ulysses Pacts.
Habit Loop
Stop trying to rely on willpower and sustained, conscious effort. Understand the Habit Loop to help break, stack and create habits. It's not marketing hype to say that if you change your habits, you'll change your life.
Decision Tree
Decision Trees involve establishing pre-determined rules for complex situations. Use them to reduce cognitive load and make decisions become a 'no brainer', even while you make consistent decisions that reflect your values.
Your autopilot is a difficult one to control and influence. Be sure to dig into these approaches to get and stay on track.
Temptation Bundling
A cousin of the Habit Loop, leverage what you want to encourage Future-You to do more of what you should do.
Temporal Landmarks
Don't let yourself get stuck. Use the 'Fresh Start Effect' in your unconscious mind by leveraging Temporal Landmarks.
Focused and Diffuse Thinking
Tap into your unconscious mind by flipping between Focused and Diffuse thought, leveraging the creativity and learning that comes with removing focus.
Hyperbolic Discounting

Sure, big goals can help keep you inspired — but another one of the findings of Behavioural Economics was the power of short term goals, even small ones, as motivators. Why not use this to your advantage by creating quick pay offs for the behaviour you would like to pursue.
Systems vs Goals
Shunning distant goals, this model encourages you to embrace the daily routine that will better position you for success.

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