Back to comparing The Plateau Effect highlights and their recommended ‘cure’ to the framework we’re building.
In total they say there are 8 take aways, but number 4 has 4 parts, so it’s more like 11.
4 - Dysfunction (i.e. something’s not working).
a) Erosion - we deplete the resources that we need in order to be successful (run out of money, etc ...)
Cure - find a counterbalance, find something to replace what is getting depleted. If you can’t find one you’re probably not at a plateau but at a ‘terminal point’.
Where it fits - seems to obvious, you run out of something, get more or get a replacement. If you can’t then you’re really stuck.
b) Step function - sometimes you only want to go a little bit farther but the thing you need to add more of only comes in big increments. A jump in cost, benefit or effort.
Cure - try to smooth it out by trying to find something that has complementary peaks.
So they are basically saying if you can’t afford the next big jump (e.g. a new piece of expensive equipment that will double production), look for another way to crank up production or your revenue until it’s not such a big jump. Not really something I feel we need to cover in the framework.
c) Choke point - the part that breaks first.
Cure - Find them and work around them.
Seems too obvious - They’re just saying, try to identify bottlenecks which slow things down and look for critical things that the whole process/company relies on. Again, not something I think we need in the framework.
d) Mystery ingredient - they say sometimes not even the chef knows what it is. To me this sounds like, sometimes you’ll have no idea why something is working or not working.
Cure - They say it can be hard to find but obvious in retrospect, and ou don’t always need to know what it is but just that you have one.
Where it fits - I’m not sure this is a great take away either.
5) Distorted data - We often react based on distorted data, we put too much stock in some numbers or data that isn’t right or isn’t telling the whole story. Like taking a funhouse mirror seriously.
Cure - calibrate, scientific method, don’t trust your biased eyes, try to look for truth or eliminate chance for bias, like a baseball owner that doesn’t watch the game, hires and fires based on the data only.
Where this fits - I see this as knowing the limits of your autopilot part of your brain. It is constantly taking in more data then we realize and giving us ‘gut feelings’. These can be useful but we should know it is not perfect, and we should compliment it with data. When we see a consistent trend where data wins over gut feelings we should put systems in place to stop ourselves from going with our gut. I think we’ve already covered this so no need to add to the framework.
6) Distraction - multitasking
Cure - peak listening helps you focus on the person and get to solutions faster, think of the improv rule to replace “no” with “yes, and ...”, always trying to find the ways you and others agree rather than disagree. They call this radical listening. Oh, and they say don’t try to multitask, slow and steady one task at a time tends to win the race when studied.
Where it fits - this is the same as we talked about your mind being a stage and the need to control who gets on there with limited space, so if it gets crowded it is a mess.
7) failing slowly - incremental losses fall below the ‘just noticeable difference” and then you end up getting blindsided at how bad things are.
Cure - fail fast, by knowing this flaw, set clear objective markers to know when you’re failing, and try to fail as fast as possible to work out the kinks as fast as possible. Make a website in photoshop only first. Try it out in your mind before spending a ton to code it.
Where it fits - This is more of a productivity tip rather than an insight into how our minds work. I’m not sure where this fits, I guess it falls under things you can do.
8) Perfectionism - Perfect is the enemy of good. the desire for perfection kills beginnings. It’s never the right time to start, and even if you do it’s never complete because it’s held up to an impossible standard.
Cure - accept that perfection isn’t achievable. Personally I’m going to take it right out of my vocabulary, they said it originated from words meaning ‘as it should be’ so I’ll go with something like that for now). Focus on taking the first step and then the next step. Like taking ‘Baby steps’ from the movie “What About Bob?”. They also give suggestions on using things like structured procrastination or hard but liberating deadlines.
Where it fits - I think this falls under an autopilot tactic to get us to keep our eyes on short term goals, and in some people are more affected by it than others. I think that comes from previous experiences people have had and negative associations they have with not being perfect. I think it's already covered but I'll make a special note of it since it is common and can be quite detrimental, some people may not even see it in themselves because rather than having a track record of doing things perfectly they have a track record of not doing things out of fear they won't be perfect.
They say things will stop working, you’ll have to keep trying new things. Even if you use some of the ‘cures’ they outline you’ll need to keep an eye out in all these categories, and more
In the book they mentioned a Counter intuitive Cognitive Bias. I love knowing these because I see these as huge pitfalls that we unknowingly fall into. Traps so sneaky you don’t even know you’re in a trap. So identifying them can save you so much time and resources with almost no effort.
Here it is …
We have a tendency to think if something is hard that it must be important.
This is a huge potential pitfall. First off we aren’t doing something that is a benefit to us, and secondly it’s a huge drain on our resources (time and money) because it’s hard, and hard things take up a lot of time to deal with. There is also huge potential here, most people complain of not having enough time or money, you may be able to look at your life and find one of these things, and you can free up a bunch of time and money instantly by stopping that thing that’s not important.
So what are some examples of this?
The first one that comes to mind would be video games. They are hard and people seem compelled to complete them, but for what reason, for what benefit?
I was thinking about why this is, why ‘gamification’ is such a powerful tool for getting people to do things, and I think it does this by giving meaning to the meaningless. We are ‘meaning machines’ everything we do is for a meaning, and our autopilot is desperate to find meaning in the world, it will even make it up if need be. So if someone associates points or badges to us doing something we jump on it. So similar to it something is hard we associate it with important, watch out for, if something wins us points, or badges or “Likes” of any kind, watch out your brain might be getting hijacked into doing something meaningless, take a step back and assess why you’re doing it.
Dan Ariely likes to promote the idea of getting people to do the right thing for the wrong reasons because we’re so bad at doing the right things for the right reasons (e.g. eating healthy). So getting tricked by these things isn’t always bad, you can even use it to your advantage. The Canadian government just put millions into an app that does just this to get people to do things the government hasn’t had luck getting people to do in the past. Like eating healthy. The reward in the app are things like Air Miles if you can believe it. The app is called Carrot Rewards.