This site is all about achieving goals. We all struggle with them and I think it's because we have a poor mental model of how our brain works, a poor understanding of what gets us to take action and what doesn't.
Today I got a great email from Engineers Without Borders (ewb.ca). They've got some goals they want some help with. They want all of our help, and their goals aren't really their goals, but the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
I'm pretty sure they're not going to make their timeline of 2030. I don't mean to sound negative, or like a know it all. Yes they will make progress, yes they have made big progress in the last 18 years as you can see in this report. But I don't see things getting to: No Poverty & Zero Hunger, with their action suggestions like, "I will run a food drive for my local food bank". I don't think more food drives solves the need for food drives.
Anyways, what I'm saying is I'm going to see what I can do, try to get in touch with EWB, try to approach the problem with a better mental model of why people do what they do, and with the design methodology from BJ Fogg (did I cover this already? if you don't know B=MAP click here).
In general, as covered in my things you should know, the stronger your reason, the stronger your associations, the more likely you are to do something. But your short term auto-pilot brain is there to demotivate you from long term goals every step of the way, using any rationale to talk you out of it (made progress, might as well ease up, no progress, might as well give up, thought about making progress, well take a break, you don't want to over do it). Thie B=MAP is a design philosophy that pushes the need to make things easy for people to do.
All of the suggestions I see in the EWB report take some effort, so by the B=MAP model people need to be really invested and motivated to follow through. But in a rich country where we're already doing pretty good we can get distracted from these too easily. We need things really easy for us, and we need to push for the reasons why it will benefit us. We need to move the dot on the B=MAP chart.
I can't recall if I've mentioned it on this blog or not, but I think the key is to try to help people in the rich countries be as happy as possible as efficiently as possible. It might sound crazy, but if you look at the list of problems, a lot of them come from the rich countries missguided pursuits of happiness. And the research shows happiness is a lot less resource intensive than we think it is. This seems like the perfect business plan to me. Low resources needed, and an ability to charge a ton because this is what everyone is spending their money on already, and not making much progress.
What do you think?
What would it take for you to take some action towards these?
What would you pay monthly for a 'Happiness Service Provider', more or less than what you pay for your Internet Service Provider?