The jist of it is that we all have habit loops that we respond to without realizing it. They flow through the cycle of CUE->ROUTINE->REWARD->CRAVE. Everything starts with a CUE, which triggers the habit. It could be something as simple as the little red indicator on your iphone app. This is followed by ROUTINE - or the series of actions that we normally think of as a habit. Next is the REWARD which can be surprising at times - you might think you get that cookie after lunch to enjoy the sugar rush, but in reality you might just enjoy talking to coworkers in the cafeteria. Lastly, for any habit to stick, you must CRAVE the reward at the end.
The book goes in more depth about how to use this cycle to structure habits in your own life (I have FINALLY started to workout and wake up early since reading the book). It also has great case studies about how advertisers, product managers, people managers, and more are structure these habits to influence consumers, employees, etc
That evening I looked at the two websites who have become my daily destinations almost instantly: Buffer and 750words.
Both send you an email every day. It's not spam. It's a useful and interesting email. Something you do want to receive.
It changed the way I think of new project ideas forever.
(but seriously I'll probably check out those sites now : P)
That said, triggering is a fascinating phenomenon and can be used consciously on yourself for fun or profit.
The reader on the other hand gets a new post, which could be about anything, and sometimes the post will be bad, other times good, really good. This will create a variable reward system, and keep the reader coming back.
For the most part, when I get an internal trigger like boredom or anxiety or exhaustion, I go to something non-productive, like /r/wtf. But recently I've been replacing /r/wtf with HN, and while most of the browsing is still mindless, it's a lot more relevant to my career path and often leads me to other useful things like 750words.com
Right now, the most successful companies that make use of triggers are mostly parasitic to our everyday lives, but I'm wondering if that can't change to become something that we benefit from.
Best of luck.
(1) When the urge comes, observe the urge as it rises and goes away.
(2) Do not avoid the experience. It will feel like it sucks because it does. There is no magic pill to avoid the experience.
(3) Things come and go, nothing is permanent. This urge will eventually pass.
(4) If you want to take this further: try to discern the physical sensation making up the "urge" with the "mental echo".
(5) It is important not to try to "beat" these triggers. That's a form of avoidance and rejection and will only make the urges stronger. People usually give into the urge to make the feeling of suffering go away; if you accept and experience the suffering for what it is, you break out of the dopamanine/gollumization loop.
For (4), as you know, your neurons do not fire continuously. It's an analog pulse that decays after the peak. The sensations and urges you have feel like they are continuous because you experience other things that fills in the gap. This filler is the "mental echo".
It is possible to develop enough skill in perception to distinguish between the physical sensation and the filler gap. When you can perceive this, you can see how experiences like these "urges" are actually sequences, melodies, and rhythms of sensate pulses that when combined with the mental echo, you normally recognize as a particular "urge" (or thought, or feeling).
Usually, recognizing these component parts as they happen is enough. You can still choose to go with the urge, or you can ... not.
For more information:
- Mindfulness in Plain English. http://bit.ly/mindfulness-in-plain-english
- Mastering the Core Teachings of Buddha: A Surprisingly Hardcore Book of Dharma. http://bit.ly/hardcore-dharma
- The Pomodoro technique accidentally has the features for creating a time-boxed mindfulness meditation as you work. The essential components are all in the first chapter of that book.
Obviously you don't bet the bank....
The Multi Billion Dollar Mind Trick: Manipulate People by Simulating Success
Computer games are based on psychology, they try to make people think they accomplished something with as little effort as possible. Millions of people are addicted to it.
I think there's got to be a perceived effort and learning curve involved.
The tricky part is to get people coming back. That involves increasing the difficulty (but not too much), so the user feels a sense of accomplishment.
Throw in elements of randomness and, voila, you have an addictive game.
There are studies that go into more depth than this, but that's the basic outline.
Maybe it's less measurable, but it'd be nice for us to at least frame what we do as trying to accomplish more than deal digital heroin to make GigaBucks.
This is drivel. Half of the content is even linkbaited away.
No wonder we have a recent resurgence in Zombie Apocalypse myths in pop culture.
I suppose, this too shall pass.