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56: Nir Eyal – How to Unhook from Technology and Reclaim Your Life

By June 25, 2016Podcasts
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Technology is pervasive in our everyday lives, yet so much of it is incredibly useful — we can get instant directions to our destinations, track our fitness progress, and organize our hectic schedules. But my recent conversation with Nir Eyal, author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, made me realize the dangerous side of technology and the hold it has on us through a mechanism Nir calls the “hook cycle.”

Nir Eyal Whole Life ChallengeNir has taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and is a contributor writer to both TechCrunch and Psychology Today. He says that like everything else it all comes down to money. Companies want to create habits in consumers — repeat business is their goal. So the applications you think you’re using for social connection are really just emotion-driven responses to a need. Nir and I talk about the differences between external triggers, like needing to check the weather on a weather app, to internal triggers, like feeling lonely and logging in to a dating app for validation to fill the void. Pretty scary to think about products as mind control instead of harmless time wasters.

It’s critical to understand why we use all these apps, and why we feel like we need them. It seems like humans are at a point where we reject a state of boredom, or at least feel guilty about it. To overcome this feeling, we turn to technology to feel some sense of being productive, even though that’s far from what we’re actually being. On the flip side, creativity flourishes in the state of boredom, so why not embrace the concept of not doing anything, and see what happens?

There is hope to navigating our increasingly “hooked” world, and Nir has some amazing insights. By diagnosing the hook cycle, he’s built a method for breaking the cycle through roadblocks that can disrupt these compulsive patterns of behavior. We have to gain control of our behaviors and reclaim mastery over our lives — after all, it’s impossible to create when in a state of constant consumption.

Links Mentioned:

Un-HookedNir’s talk on ways to break the hook cycle and increase focus.
Why People Check Their Tech at the Wrong TimesNir’s advice on politely getting people off their devices.
Would You Rather Sit and Think or Get Shocked?Timothy Wilson’s shocking experiment.
Kahoot! “Make Learning Awesome!”
7 Cups Internet-based therapy sessions created by psychologist Glen Moriarty.

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Andy Petranek
Andy is what you’d call a modern day Renaissance Man: a former professional trumpeter who attended the Eastman School of Music; a snowboarder, mountain biker, surfer, kayaker, outrigger paddler, mountaineer, and former Marine (Gulf War veteran); a professionally sponsored adventure racer; and the oldest participant to qualify for and participate in the CrossFit Games at the age of 43.

Andy is a certified CHEK Practitioner and holistic lifestyle coach. He holds a spectrum of certifications from CrossFit and is also a Vivobarefoot certified running coach. He has trained as a Zen buddhist and graduated with a Master’s degree in spiritual psychology from the University of Santa Monica.

Andy founded CrossFit LA one of the first and most successful CrossFit training centers in the world and the first to be featured in national media. He is the co-founder of the Whole Life Challenge, Inc, currently its president, and is also a consultant and life/business coach. Andy lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Julia, and son, Dashel.

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