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  • Psychologists know that there are two systems in our brains:

  • the rational system, and the emotional system.

  • Jonathan Haidt, who's a psychologist at NYU, came up with a great analogy for these two systems.

  • He said, "Think of your brain as a human rider atop an elephant."

  • The rider represents the rational system.

  • That's the part of us that plans and problem solves.

  • The rider might do some analyzing and decide, "Hey I want to go that way."

  • But it's the elephant representing the emotional system that provides the power for the journey.

  • The rider can try to lead the elephant, or drag the elephant,

  • but if these two ever disagree, who would you bet on?

  • The elephant has a six-ton weight advantage,

  • and it's exactly that power imbalance that makes adopting new behaviors very hard.

  • If you want this duo to head a new direction, you also need to think about the path, which represents the external environment.

  • This duo is more likely to complete a journey if you can shorten the distance and remove any obstacles in their way.

  • So, bottom line, if you want to lead change, you've got to do three things.

  • Give direction to the rider; knowledge of how to get to the destination.

  • You've got to motivate the elephant, which means tapping into emotion.

  • And finally, you need to shape the path to allow for easy progress.

  • That's how change happens.

Psychologists know that there are two systems in our brains:

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A2 US elephant rider duo system rational path

The Elephant, The Rider and the Path - A Tale of Behavior Change

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    Samuel posted on 2018/11/21
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