I think you could take his basic premise - "staying out of a routine and breaking habits makes life feel longer and time pass slower" - and expand on it to also achieve more worthwhile pursuits.
Instead of changing habits randomly, instead aim to always be at the threshold of your competence.
I've spent a few years looking into this, and the best thing I found for myself is aiming to always be at a 70% success rate on my daily, weekly, and monthly goals/targets. If I'm succeeding higher than 70%, I increase the difficulty level or add new challenges. If I'm below 70%, I scale back and pare down until I get to the essentials.
It's good, because I'm succeeding more often than not, but I'm always at the threshold of my competence. I think a lot of people set goals too low to get to 100%, or they get discouraged when they fall short of ambitious goals.
Me, falling a bit short is part of my life, so I'm always pushing and expanding, failure is part of my life and gets easier over time, and there's always new things. I'm about to add a new set of targets - either I'm going to start doing bodyweight exercises and set some fitness goals, or I'm going to take up drawing and make more art. Or both? I'm doing this to replace "surfing the internet" with either drawing/painting or bodyweight exercises/balance/martial arts as entertainment time. Thus, life stays fresh, new, exciting. And whatever my goals are for strength training or art, I'll be falling a bit short of them - which is to be expected and embraced, always on the edge and threshold of my capability. But still, a 70% success rate, which is encouraging and I'm succeeding more often than not. Wholly recommended if you haven't tried setting goals and targets this way - if anyone has questions on setting something like this up, feel free to drop me an email, I try to make myself pretty freely available to people working on achieving things.
This is concept behind harder versions of classes (e.g. honors, AP) where you can increase the difficulty level if you have shown you are capable. However, the timeline is too long. Perhaps content tracks that included advanced reading/homework assignments and exams could be used to keep students engaged.
Would embedding game-like achievements (next track unlocked, toughest unlocked, stump/teach the teacher etc.) be of benefit here or just a distraction?
Has anyone had experience with teachers/professors that use these concepts?
Mixing variable and incremental rewards does increase addiction, which can be positive or negative. It's positive if you're harnessing it.
I think this could definitely work for teaching people things - one of the ways I learned how to type really fast was playing a text-based player vs. player game way back in the day. Getting semi-unrelated rewards (like you said next track, toughest unlocked, stump the teacher, or more commonly badges, ranks, points, etc) can be a massive boon to learning something. There's also the "head fake" element of teaching while not looking like you're teaching, which I got from Randy Pausch's Last Lecture (highly, highly recommended if you haven't seen it).
With all that said, I haven't found quite the right way to harness it in my own life. A lot of the tracking I do gives me a way to get numbers and feel good, but assigning myself badges or points seemed like a little more trouble than it's worth. Just setup and maintenance time of that systems seems like it wouldn't be worth it, but if someone else built a good one, I'd use it.
I've played with various software that tracks goals/habits/etc, but I keep coming back to minimalist, flexible stuff, that lets me do what I want with it. But I think sooner or later someone will build something that works well for either general education or other skills training, and I'd be all over that.
Pretty hard to get the benefit of variable rewards when you're giving them to yourself. The only way I can see this working is if you just go out and let life give them to you.
"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." --George Bernard Shaw
"I love brief habits and consider them an inestimable means for getting to know many things and states, down to the bottom of their sweetness and bitternesses...
Enduring habits I hate, and I feel as if a tyrant had come near me and as if the air I breathe had thickened when events take such a turn that it appears that they will inevitably give rise to enduring habits...
Most intolerable, to be sure, and the terrible par excellence would be for me a life entirely devoid of habits, a life that would demand perpetual improvisation. That would be my exile and my Siberia."
But, I believe it does pay to have some constants in life. Perhaps not a habit per se, but common theme to habits.
The author went overboard with his cigarette and marriage suggestions.
I don't believe he's actually suggesting you get rid of all your habits (i.e. wife). He was just stating that habits make time pass quickly, and getting rid of them slows things down. But that doesn't mean we should get rid of them... just that we should realize and accept the tradeoff.
Habits can supplant other habits, but even that is not subject to direct conscious control. There's an entire self-help literature around it, some of which is good, but it's easy to take it the wrong way and go down a superficial path.
EX: When you're 10, a year is 1/10th of your life, but when you're 60 it's only 1/60th. The magnitude of an additional year of life at 60 does not feel as great as it does when you're 10.
"Those who had been widowed were almost 40% more likely to die, and those who had been divorced or separated were 27% more likely to die. "
Overall, the article felt light on facts - even the title is even fairly linkbaity (live forever!). For an article on increased lifespan (with citations instead of hand-waving), this article is much better:
Than who? Would the people that died after a divorce have survived if they had stayed with their poisonous spouses? I doubt it.
(But maybe not too alive: I can attest that it is certainly possible to exhaust yourself with an excessive rate of new experiences.)
I think that depends on the person. I certainly haven't found this to be true.
Whatever else the article may have gotten right, this is false for me. I can, essentially, play back an audio recording of what a person just said. It doesn't work as well on languages I don't understand, but the recording is still there, it just ends up corrupted quickly because it takes a lot more to remember full audio than a few words. Also, I don't think I've ever forgotten which language something was said in, even though I can understand both French and Japanese.
That said, I have certainly noticed that other people never seem to get the words right, even when repeating things someone just said and it always bugged me that they'd change the words to things I just said a second ago.
That said, it has always seemed weird to me that people can't remember the exact words people just said and that they always seem to change them, if only a little.
Have you ever known someone who can't seem to stick with a job, an interest, or a group of friends? Do you think they are happy?
I don't think anyone is yearning for a life that feels like it will never end. What we want is to have a quality life, and one means toward that is to invest in others over time. Oh yeah, and marriage is _not_ a comfortable safe habit. It is challenge worth fighting for.
The effect seems to vanish for people who consume cannabis every day however, the brain seems to adjust to the new state.
"My life is the complete opposite of everything I want it to be." - George Costanza
This is fundamental; line signifies the points; or the line is the meaning of the points; as when you fit a line to points of observations.
This fact is built into our perception and into science as well because all observations are points and meaning is the line that passes through all points; and therefore all meaning is interpretation.
The title is unfortunate ("To live forever"?) but the article makes good points.