Are we hardwired to crave more? From food and stuff to information and influence, why can't we ever get enough?
Michael Easter, author of The Comfort Crisis and one of the world's leading experts on behavior change, shows that the problem isn't you. The problem is your scarcity mindset, left over from our ancient ancestors. They had to constantly seek and consume to survive because vital survival tools like food, material goods, information, and power were scarce and hard to find. But with our modern ability to easily fulfill our ancient desire for more, our hardwired "scarcity brain" is now backfiring. And new technology and institutions - from dating and entertainment apps to our food and economic systems - are exploiting our scarcity brain. They're bombarding us with subversive "scarcity cues," subtle triggers that lead us into low-reward cravings that hurt us in the long run. Scarcity cues can be direct and all-encompassing, like a sagging economy. Or they can be subtle and slight, like our neighbour buying a shiny new car.
Easter traveled the world to consult with remarkable innovators and leading scientists who are finding surprising solutions for our scarcity brain. He discovered simple tactics that can move us towards an abundance mindset, cement healthy habits, and allow us to live our lives to the fullest and appreciate what we have, including how to:
- Detect hidden scarcity cues to stop cravings before they start, from a brilliant slot machine designer in a Las Vegas casino laboratory
- Turn alone time into the ultimate happiness hack, from artisanal coffee-making Benedictine monks Reignite your exploration gene for a more exciting and fulfilling life, from an astronaut onboard the International Space Station
- Reframe how we think about and fix addiction and bad habits, from Iraq's chief psychiatrist
- Recognize when you have enough, from a woman who left a million-dollar career path to adventure the world
Our world is overloaded with everything we're built to crave. The fix for scarcity brain isn't to blindly aim for less. It's to understand why we crave more in the first place, shake our worst habits, and use what we already have better. Then we can experience life in a new way - a more satisfying way.
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Date of Publication: 26/09/2023