The moderation glitch

More doesn’t scale forever. Why are we so bad at enaging with this obvious truth?

In Malcolm’s new book, he points out that our expectation is that most things will respond in a linear way. More input gets us more output. If you want a hotter fire, add more wood. If you want more sales, run more ads.

In fact, it turns out, most things don’t respond in a linear way. It’s more of a steep curve (he calls it an inverted U). For a while, more inputs get you more results, but then, inevitably, things level off, and then, perversely, get worse. One brownie makes you happy, a second brownie, maybe a little more. The third brownie doesn’t make us happy at all, and the fourth brownie makes us sick.

U curve godin

Health care is a fine example of this. First aid makes a huge difference. Smart medical care can increase our health dramatically. But over time, too much investment in invasive medicine, particularly at the end of life, ends up making us worse, not better. Or, in a less intuitive example, it turns out that class size works the same way. Small classes (going from 40 to 25 in the room) make a huge difference, but then diminishing class size (without changing teaching methods) doesn’t pay much, and eventually ends up hurting traditional classroom education outputs.

But here’s the unanswered question: if the data shows us that in so many things, moderation is a better approach than endless linearity, why does our culture keep pushing us to ignore this?

First, there are the situations where one person (or an organization) is trying to change someone else. Consider the high-end omakase sushi bar, where, for $200, you’re buying a once-in-a-lifetime meal. The chef certainly has enough experience to know that he should stop bringing you more food, that one more piece of fish isn’t going to make you happier, it’s quite likely to make you uncomfortable. But he doesn’t stop.

Or consider the zero-tolerance policy in some schools. We know that ever more punishment doesn’t create better outcomes.

Here’s the problem with the inverted U: We aren’t certain when it’s going to turn. We can’t be sure when more won’t actually be better.

As a result of this uncertainty, we’re likely to make one of two mistakes. Either we will stop too soon, leaving stones unturned, patrons unsatisfied, criminals unpunished… or we will stop too late, wasting some money and possibly missing the moderation sweet spot.

You already guess what we do: we avoid the embarrassment of not doing enough. The sushi chef doesn’t want someone to say, “it was great, but he wasn’t generous.” The politician says, “I don’t want any voter to say that even one criminal got away because I was soft on crime.”

We always start with intent, as Omar Wassow has pointed out. It’s intent that gets us to take action and to start marketing and spending. But intent and results are different things.

We market our solution (to ourselves and to others) and that marketing drives our actions. As long as we’re uncertain as to where the curve turns, we’re going to have to push that marketing message forward. It’s a lot more difficult to sell the idea of moderation than it is to sell the earnest intent of joy or punishment or health or education.

Moderation is a marketing problem.

(this is getting long, sorry, but I hope it’s worth it)

The other category of interventions are the things we do to ourselves. This is the wine drinker who goes from the health benefits of a daily glass of wine to the health detriments of a daily bottle or two. This is the runner who goes from the benefits of five miles a day to knees that no longer work because he overdid it.

Here, the reason we can’t stop is self marketing plus habit. Habits are the other half of the glitch. We learn a habit when it pays off for us, but we’re hardwired to keep doing the habit, even after it doesn’t.

Hence the two lessons:

1. Smart organizations need to build moderation-as-a-goal into every plan they make. Every budget and every initiative ought to be on the look out for the sweet spot, not merely “more.” It’s not natural to look for this, nor is it easy, which is why, like all smart organizational shifts, we need to work at it. How often does the boss ask, “have we hit the sweet spot of moderation yet?”

If doctors were required to report on quality of life instead of tests run, you can bet quality of life would improve faster than the number of tests run does.

2. Habits matter. When good habits turn into bad ones, call them out, write them down and if you can, find someone to help you change them.

“Because it used to work,” is not a sensible reason to keep doing something.

[But please! Don’t forget the local max.]


Some people are never free from troubles, mainly because they keep their minds attuned to worry. The mind attracts what it dwells on.

Worry serves no useful purpose and can have a serious adverse effect upon your mental as well as your physical health. Charles Mayo, who with his brother William founded the famous Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said, “I have never known a man who died from overwork, but many who died from doubt.” Because worry is directed at some vague, uncertain threat, it is difficult to deal with it logically. The best way to get rid of your worries is to take positive action to eliminate their source. When you develop a plan for dealing constructively with problems and get to work implementing your plan, you will no longer be troubled by worries. Negative thoughts always yield the right of way to a determined person in pursuit of a positive plan of action.

What Legacy will YOU Leave?

Most of us know the value of clearly defining our goals for the success and fulfillment we want to achieve in our careers, relationships, health, and personal growth. Yet there’s another area of goal setting we sometimes overlook—our legacy. Your legacy goal is one that defines the kind of lasting contribution you want to make

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The post What Legacy will YOU Leave? appeared first on America's Leading Authority On Creating Success And Personal Fulfillment – Jack Canfield.

Making the World a Better Place

Most of us know the value of clearly defining our goals for the success and fulfillment we want to achieve in our careers, relationships, health, and personal growth. Yet there’s another area of goal setting we sometimes overlook—our legacy. Your legacy goal is one that defines the kind of lasting contribution you want to make

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The post Making the World a Better Place appeared first on America's Leading Authority On Creating Success And Personal Fulfillment – Jack Canfield.

Positive thinking influence on kids minds!

Optimism offers great set of benefits to all of its users and soon people are realizing these facts on a global note. But here is a fact which has to be notified that this art of positive thinking cannot be gained on a single day or week. Like how practice makes a man perfect; regular practice of optimism by a person in his/her day to day life also makes things easy for them.


So, how to develop positive attitude in a person’s mind is the next question which has to be sorted out? When the benefits of positive thinking are so many, then one has to look into the procedure of developing this attitude in their respective lives. One way is to read and go through positive thinking content on a regular note, which will develop a positive mind set. The other way is to start teaching kids from their childhood the art of positive thinking and what it fetches them in the end.


How to develop the art of positive thinking in a kids mind right from his childhood becomes the next priority. Here is a way which can help kids get into a mind set of positive attitude.


Kids get influenced often by their parents’ deeds and so it is the elders who have to practice optimism on a first note in order to develop the mind of their kids with their positive mindset. So, it is we elders who have to start putting positivity into all our efforts.


It is a known fact that an effort started by a negative attitude will always influence a persons mind in such a way that his/her efforts go haywire. People do not get the best of the benefits with negative approach. But in addition to this, they also experience immense stress and that stress leads to health issues related to heart, brain and the whole body.


For this reason, a person who is putting positive mind set into every effort will make the best in his life time. This not only influences him/her, but will also influence the society and mainly the kids.


When a person starts thinking with a positive mind set, kids start to develop such thinking and in this process practice it on a regular note. When an effort gets repeated in day to day life of a person, then they start to get into an attitude of going with an optimistic approach in every effort of them. This helps in making their brain get positive thoughts and thus eliminates negative feelings on a permanent note.


Apart from what is said above, parents can expose their children to positive quotes preached by many people in seminars related to positive thinking. at the same time, practicing positive thinking exercises, can also help the kids see their lives with a positive outlook.


Making the kids read books on positive thinking like think and grow rich, how to win friend and influence people, how to stop worrying and start living, dream big can also help in driving a Childs mind towards positive thinking.


Now, that you are exposed to the content which makes you believe that positive attitude always helps in paying good dividend, start practicing it and help your kids do the same by mimicking you on this regard.

Positive thinking helps in cleansing our mind!

Bad thoughts are generated in the minds of everyone and this is due to certain hormonal changes which take place in our body. The hormones influence our mind in such a way that bad thoughts are the very first to click in our minds, when things start to go negative. When people start getting bad thoughts, the first and foremost thing they have to do is to start to overcome them.


The best way to overcome such thoughts is to influence those negative thoughts with positive ones. One might get a feeling that what is the meaning of positive thoughts and how it can influence negative feelings?


Let us learn the way of thinking positive with an example. Let us suppose that a person is yet to start a business. Every person has a way to approach his aspect. When a person starts with a feeling that the business is not going to run and getting into it may prove financially fatal, will make people face only negativity in business. So, all their efforts will go in drain the moment they start thinking that their business will incur losses due to stiff competition.


But let us suppose that the same person starts the business with a positive state of mind. Then imagine how positive everything in his life starts to turn up. Those who start a business with a thought that everything is going to turn in their favor will surely get the best out of the business, no matter how much stiff competition is faced by them.


Positive thinking has a power of cleansing our mind filled with negative thoughts and getting the best out of life. So, all depends on the way our mind is being tuned up and how it starts to foresee things. If in case, people start to put in everything into their efforts with a positive set of mind, then everything starts turning into their favor. So, tuning ones mind with positive thinking turns vital in every aspect of life.


Now, that you have learnt the real meaning of positive thinking here is the how you can start to tune up your mind with optimism. Do not allow negative thoughts to influence your mind and that can be done by grooming your thinking skills with positive attitude. As soon as people start to learn about the benefits of positive thinking, they easily get attracted to it and start to practice. By following affirmations on positive thinking, going through positive thinking cds, content, seminars, the mind can be tuned to start thinking right.


Avoiding self negative talk is also one way to get out of pessimistic attitude and get into an optimistic attitude. When stress starts to influence our mind, people do get into a self negative talk and this can influence the health of a person. So, for this reason, do not allow stress to get into your mind set. So, start exercising as strenuous activity can also keep your mind stress free. Go through humor filled content and try to be with people who go with an optimistic approach. Humor helps in reducing the stress levels gained from our professional activities and thus will keep you healthy.


Try to achieve positive mind set as soon as possible and this will help in making your life beautiful.


The perfect crime

Sometimes, marketing enables a pickpocket to steal a wallet–and be thanked for it.

Marketers are responsible for what we do, it’s not an activity without effects.

Last year, just one of the big fast food companies made more than $1,300,000,000 in profit (billion with a ‘b’). They’ve also paid their CEO nearly $200 million in salary in the last five years. Sometimes, a big profit is the sign that you’re doing something right, creating real value for people able to pay. Sometimes, though, it means you’re exploiting a weakness in the system.

The big food companies are brilliant, relentless, focused marketers. Marketing works. It gets people to take action, to change their minds, and most of all, to do more of what they might have had an inkling to do in the first place. Sometimes a lot more. When the ideas of marketing (and the products are part of the marketing, optimized for high consumption) are weaponized like this, they are extraordinarily effective at achieving their goals.

The side effects of this marketing are obvious: both short-term satiation and long-term health degradation. Kids on little league baseball teams may smile with delight when treated to a post-game feast, simultaneously, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity all rise dramatically over time as a result of consistently consuming vast quantities of the products that these companies market. This is beyond dispute.

In some communities, 70% of the targeted population is now obese.

The challenge doesn’t come from one slice of pizza. No, the failing is in abdicating the responsibility that comes from industrial scale. Organizations at scale do far more than give people choices… they change the culture, and must accept responsibility for the changes they choose to create.

If your organization uses terms like share of stomach or hires lobbyists, you’ve already made a decision to market in a way that changes the culture to benefit you and your shareholders.

What’s fascinating is this: the marketing is so powerful that some of the people being hurt actually are eager for it to continue. This creates a cultural feedback loop, where some aspire to have these respected marketing jobs, to do more marketing of similar items. It creates a society where the owners and leaders of these companies are celebrated as risk-taking, brave businesspeople, not as the modern robber barons that they’ve become.

The cultural feedback loop can’t be denied. The NAACP, which represents a population that is disproportionately impacted by the health costs these products create is actually allied with marketers in the fight to sell ever more and bigger portions to its constituents.

The crime continues because the money taken by corporations that change our culture is used to fund campaigns that conflate the essential concept of ‘freedom’ with the not-clearly-articulated ‘right’ to respond to marketing and consume stuff in quantities that would have been considered literally insane just three generations ago. And we like it.

[I’ll write the previous paragraph’s point again here to be clear: we’ve decided that consumers ought to have the right be manipulated by marketers. So manipulated that we sacrifice our long-term health in the face of its power.]

We ban accounting that misleads, and we don’t let engineers build bridges that endanger travelers. We monitor effluent for chemicals that can kill us as well. There’s no reason in the world that market-share-fueled marketing ought to be celebrated merely because we enjoy the short-term effects it creates in the moment.

Every profession we respect has limits created and enforced by society. Doctors and undertakers and actuaries live with these limits because it’s clear that building for the long run benefits all of us. Sure, it might be fun or profitable to take a shortcut, but it’s not the right thing to do. The rules make it more likely we don’t race to the bottom as we cut those corners or maximize our profits.

The question is this: are you responsible for the power in your hands? If so, then we need to own the results of our work. If not, someone else needs to step in before it’s too late. No sustainable system can grant power without responsibility.

Just because marketing works doesn’t mean we have an obligation to do it. And if we’re too greedy to stop on our own, then yes, we should be stopped.

[It seems like you could make one of three objections to this line of reasoning:

1. Marketing doesn’t work, it’s not powerful, it can’t get people to do things not in the long-term interest.

2. Marketing does work, but marketers ought to have the right to sell anything they want, and they’re not responsible for what they do.

3. If we regulate the dramatically obvious bad cases, we’re on a slippery slope to regulating everything.

It seems to me that all three of these straw horses don’t hold up under scrutiny.]


Most illness begins with a negative mind.

It’s been proven again and again. Hypochondriacs, people who are convinced that they are sick even though nothing is wrong with them, experience the exact symptoms of the actual illness. For them, the illness is just as real as if their bodies were ravaged by disease. It is also possible to make yourself ill through constant worry and fear of failure, because the mind constantly strives to turn into reality the things we think about most. Protect your mental health with the same care you give your physical body. Just as your body requires healthy, nourishing foods, and a balanced diet, so does your mind. Make sure you feed it plenty of positive thoughts.

How do you want to die?

Let’s assert that you’re almost certainly not going to be the very first person to live forever.

Also worth noting that you’re probably going to die of natural causes.

The expectations we have for medical care are derived directly from marketing and popular culture. Marcus Welby and a host of medical shows taught us about the heroic doctor, and more than that, about the power of technology and intervention to reliably deliver a cure.

It’s not a conspiracy–it’s just the result of many industries that all profit from the herculean effort and expense designed to extend human life, sometimes at great personal cost.

Hence the question: Do you want to choose whether or not you will be a profit center in the ever scaling medical-industrial complex? One percent of the population accounts for 30% of all health care expenditures, and half of those people are elderly.

Most of that care is designed to prolong life, regardless of the cost, the pain or the impact on the family. A lot of doctors are uncomfortable with this, but they need you to speak up and make a choice (in advance) about what you’d like. Some people want the full treatment, intervention at all costs.

If that’s your choice, go for it. But be clear, in writing, that you’d like to spare no expense and invest in every procedure, even if it’s pointless and painful. Don’t be selfish and let someone else have to guess.

On the other hand, you have the right to speak up and stand up and clearly state if you’d prefer the alternative. Many people prefer a quiet dignity that spares them and their family pain and trauma. But you have to do it now, because later is too late.

The web makes it easy to generate and sign a simple generic form. Or even better, go find the forms state by state. (If those pages are down, try a search on “health care proxy” and the name of your state.) [A reader also suggests MyDirectives.]  [And consider the Five Wishes.]

There are two critical components: assigning an individual to be your health care proxy, and then telling that proxy, in writing, what you’d like done (and not done) to you when the time comes.

If you’ve ever shared a post of mine, I hope you’ll share this one. If every person who reads this sits down with her family and talks this through (and then tells a few friends), we’ll make a magnificent dent in the cultural expectation of what happens last.

It’s free, its not difficult, it takes five minutes. Do it today if you can, whatever your wishes are. Don’t make the people you love guess and then live with the memory of that guessing.

Some things are more likely to happen if you plan for them. In this case, the end comes whether you plan for it or not. Planning merely makes it better.


It’s Thomas Midgley day

Today would be his 124th birthday. A fine occasion to think about the
effects of industrialization, and what happens when short-term
profit-taking meets marketing.

is responsible for millions of deaths.
Not directly, of course, but by, “just doing his job,” and then pushing
hard to market ideas he knew weren’t true—so he and his bosses could
turn a profit.

His first mistake began when he figured out that adding lead to
gasoline appeared to make cars perform better. At the time, two things
were widely known by chemists: 1. Adding grain alcohol to gasoline
dramatically increases octane and performance, and 2. Ingesting or
sniffing lead can lead to serious injury, brain damage and death.

The problem for those that wanted to be in the gasoline business was
that grain alcohol wasn’t cheap, and the idea couldn’t be patented. As a
result, the search was on for a process that could be protected, that
was cheaper and that could open the door for market dominance. If you
own the patent on the cheap and easy way to make cars run quieter (and
no one notices the brain damage and the deaths) then you can corner the
market in a fast-growing profitable industry…

As soon as the lead started being used, people began dying. Factory
workers would drop dead, right there in the plant. Even Thomas himself
contracted lead poisoning. Later, at a press conference where he tried
to demonstrate the safety of the gasoline, he washed his hands in it and
sniffed it… even though he knew it was already killing people. That
brief exposure was sufficient to require six months off the job for him
to recover his health.

Does this sound familiar? An entrenched industry needs the public and
its governments to ignore what they’re doing so they can defend their
status quo and extract the maximum value from their assets. They sow
seeds of doubt, and remind themselves (and us) of the profts made and
the money saved.

And we give them a pass. Because it’s their job, or because it’s our job, or because our culture has created a dividing line between individuals who create negative impacts and organizations that do.

People who just might, in other circumstances, stand up and speak up,
decide to quietly stand by, or worse, actively lie as they engage in
PR campaigns aimed at belittling or undermining those that are brave
enough to point out just how damaging the status quo is.

It took sixty years for leaded gas to be banned in my country, and
worse, it’s still used in many places that can ill afford to deal with
its effects.

After leaded gasoline, Midgeley did it again, this time with CFCs,
responsible for a gaping hole in the ozone layer. He probably didn’t know the effects in advance this time, but yes, the industry fought hard to maintain the status quo for years once the damage was widely known. It’s going to take at
least a millenium to clean that up.

We might consider erecting a statue of him in every lobbyist’s office, a reminder
to all of us that we’re ultimately responsible for what we make, that
spinning to defend the status quo hurts all of us, and most of all, that
we have to balance the undeniable benefits of progress, innovation and
industry with the costs to all concerned. Scaling has impact, so let’s
scale the things that work. No, nothing is perfect, but yes, some things are better than others.

I can’t imagine a better person as the symbol for a day that’s not about
honoring or celebrating, but could be about vigilance, candor and
outspokenness instead.

[Previously: No such thing as business ethics.]