It’s also, in some ways, sexier to build a bigger rocket

It’s also, in some ways, sexier to build a bigger rocket

Loran Nordgren: It’s because we naturally understand behavior in terms of internal forces, things like motivation and intent. Understanding behavior, interpreting it in terms of these internal forces like motivation, intent perfectly maps on to fuel. So you’re trying to launch a new product and maybe people aren’t buying. The way the mind understands that is to assume that it’s because the appeal, the allure, is insufficient. And if that’s the problem you imagine, the way you solve that problem is to elevate appeal, and fuel does that job. Shankar Vedantam: I’m wondering if it’s also possible, to go back to my analogy of the spaceship, should you build a bigger rocket or should you build a lighter spaceship?

Designing a lighter spaceship means doing a vast number of things that are more humble; designing lighter materials, lighter technology. If you have astronauts on board, you want lighter plates and cups, or maybe even lighter clothing. I’m wondering if one reason it’s easier to focus on building a bigger rocket is because friction can be caused by so many different things. Loran Nordgren: Absolutely. Friction requires discovery. Friction tends to require that we shift attention from the idea itself, which is our natural point of fixation and instead start to consider the audience. The broader contextual emotional needs of the audience. So, frictions tend to be buried and therefore require discovery.

And in some ways it’s easier and sexier to think about the big solution rather than the myriad small solutions

They require knowing our audience and knowing the context. Shankar Vedantam: It’s really hard to remember that people don’t engage with us for our reasons. They engage with us for their reasons. So we think, we are selling a great sofa, surely that’s what matters. From the customer’s point of view, the hassle of getting rid of their old sofa matters as much, maybe more than the beauty of our sofas. Loran Nordgren: Absolutely right. Finding, uncovering friction requires perspective taking and knowing your audience. Shankar Vedantam: The problem goes even deeper. It’s not just that we need to pay attention to both fuel and friction. Sometimes fuel creates additional friction. Loran told me about one effort that try to dissuade man from writing graffiti on the walls of a public bathroom.

One message was a low fuel message. The other made a stronger sales pitch. It applied more fuel. Loran Nordgren: So there were two versions that are roughly alike. One is please do not write on the bathroom wall, and the other was much stronger where it was in essence under no circumstance should you write on the bathroom wall. And not surprisingly the one that had the stronger message produced the greatest backlash. Shankar Vedantam: And in some ways that speaks to what you were saying a second ago, which is that our stock responds of using fuel as the way to get what we want, we sometimes fail to see that in some ways it can produce its own resistance. Loran Nordgren: Yes.

When we come back, the different kinds of friction we confront in the workplace and in our relationships tapaa KambodЕѕalainen naiset and techniques to fight them

This is the folly of fuel. So if you think about when we push on people, their instinct is to push back. So you see that fuel doesn’t move the people who are open to change, and it often makes things worse for those who reject the message. Shankar Vedantam: Even the best ideas in organizations can face resistance. Motivational messages can backfire, perfectly polite signs can make people more prone to bad behavior. You’re listening to Hidden Brain. I’m Shankar Vedantam. Shankar Vedantam: This is Hidden Brain. I’m Shankar Vedantam. We’ve seen how it often takes more than a good idea to make something a success.