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Rochester Institute of Technology ​my name is Charles Duhigg and I'm the author of this book the power of habit so imagine for a minute that um that you have this cookie problem okay a cookie habit every day you go up in the afternoon let's say you work in a building in Midtown that's called the New York Times only on the fourteenth floor is this cafeteria with this amazing amazing cookie selection and you put this little note on your monitor that says do not eat the cookie and then every afternoon you manage to ignore that note and go upstairs and get a cookie and imagine for a minute that this has caused you to put on a little bit of weight so let's say roughly eight point seven pounds and when I say you what I actually mean is me because I'm describing my life eating cookies so I was really interested in why I a successful human being I want to pull surprised last week I think I'm a pretty smart guy why I have this difficulty resisting cookies right there's a lot of things I can do in my life and I began researching the science of habits what how habits work and and what I learned is that we're actually living through this Golden Age of understanding the neurology of habit formation I ended up writing this book out of it and I want to tell you a little bit about what I learned and what it has to do with teaching kids and mindfulness but in order to do first I'll have to tell you a story about a rat anyone here ever experiment with rats before anyone ever ride the subway okay then you've done a lot of experience with rats there's a woman named dr. Ann Graybiel who has for years been doing experiments with rats she's a neurologist and for a year she was trying to get sensors into rats cranium so she could measure what was going on inside their skulls this took a long time and a lot of rats but eventually she got to a point when she could get about a hundred and fifty sensors inside a rat's skull and she could measure its neurological activity what'd she do with eat right after it woke up from the surgery was the exact same thing she would drop it in the world's simplest maze we're saying every sometimes click a partition would move the rats free to run through the maze and find chocolate every rat when you drop it in the maze the first time acts like the world's laziest animal it'll like wander up and down I'll get to the end you'll see the chocolate it'll go the other direction it takes on average about 13 minutes for it to find the chocolate and for years people thought that this is because rats are unusually dumb and that if a rat can learn something then any animal could learn it but dr. Graybiel could actually see inside the rats head and what she saw was kind of nating this is a simplified neurological graph the first time a rats dropped in this maze there's all these spikes in activity right basically the rat we like scratch the walls and the scratching centers of its brain would light up or and find the chocolate in the pleasure centers would light up this is what unmediated learning looks like so dr. Grable takes this rat she drops each of them in the maze again and again 150 times each overtime unsurprisingly the rat learns how to run through the maze faster and faster and faster find the chocolate but what's really interesting is what happens inside its head as the rat learns to run faster and faster as finding the chocolate becomes more of an automatic habit the rat starts thinking less and less and less this graph on the bottom is a simplified neurological graph of one hundred and fiftieth iteration through that maze which we'll notice is this deep valley there right that's the same valley you would see if the rat went to sleep now all of us have happens right there's a there's a researcher named windy Wood who followed around a couple thousand people to see how much of our daily behaviors are habits and what she found there's about forty to forty-five percent of the decisions we make actually everyday aren't actually decisions they're habits and if somehow I could get 150 sensors into your head this is exactly what I would see your mental activity dropping off in the middle of that habit when you and you know remember waking up in the morning walking in the subway and now you're at your desk but you don't remember what happened in the middle or when you decided that morning to have a salad but you get to lunch and you order a hamburger just like you did yesterday this is what's happening your brain is kind of turning off with these two interesting exceptions at the beginning of the habit when the rat would hear the click there'd be this burst of activity and then essentially the brain would power down and then at the end when it found the chocolate it's as if the rat would sort of shake itself awake again and notice what was going on within neurology this is such an important idea and finding that it's become known as what as the habit loop and what it says is that every habit has three components there's a cue which is like an automatic trigger for a behavior to start and then a routine which is the behavior itself and then finally a reward that helps your brain remember that

pattern for the future every habit has cues and rewards and for years everyone from Aristotle to Oprah when they've talked about habits they focus on the routine on the behavior but what we've learned the last decade is that it's the cue and the reward that influence how habits function just to give you an example of this does anyone here exercise say young audience a anyone here wish that they exercises okay so there was an experiment that is done in Germany where they took out audience like this and they said all of you should exercise and then they took about a third of the audience and they said okay look this is what I want you to do choose a cue like always put your running shoes next to your bed or go running with the same group of friends and then when you get back from working out give yourself a small piece of chocolate right this is counterintuitive because not many people exercise in order to eat chocolate or at least not quite that directly and yet what the researchers suspected is that even though all of you think that you want to exercise your brain thinks you're a liar and that you hate exercise and the only way that I can trick you an exercise is to give yourself a reward you genuinely enjoy like a small piece of chocolate and in fact six months after they did this they found that 58% of those people were more likely to be exercising and they'd stopped eating the chocolate because their head brain had learned that there's endorphins Nano can't avoids these neurotransmitters that reward us for physical activity but you kind of have to bootstrap your brain into believing that those rewards are real with a reward that you genuinely enjoy like chocolate all of which brings me kind of improbably the Starbucks and what Starbucks can teach us about teaching and mindfulness what a Starbucks sell coffee right no wrong that Starbucks doesn't say coffee cart much kind of sells coffee right they give you coffee in exchange for your money but if you talk to Starbucks what they will tell you that they actually sell is customer service this is why they can pay they can charge you four dollars fifty cents for a latte that cost about 13 cents is because when you walk in there's wood paneling and soft music and there's someone who asks your name and they write it in big cursive letters right this Starbucks believes is the centerpiece of their entire business model is customer service the problem for Starbucks is that most of their employees are high school graduates or high school students or recent high school graduates people with no professional experience and the problem as many of you know with being a high school student or a recent high school graduate is that you act like a high schooler or a recent high school graduate you act like a moron right like I acted like a moron for an entire decade after I graduated and for Starbucks this is a problem because they had employees who couldn't deliver customer service this became particularly a problem in the age of YouTube and I'm going to show you why before I show you something imagine for a minute that you worked at Starbucks you oversee 250 million dollars a year in advertising you've had a long day you come home from work you sit on your couch and you open a beer you turn on the TV and this is what you see she was a loyal customer of Starbucks love the coffee love the service but that changed a few weeks ago this date of Yorker got steamed not the light was inside her cup but something written on the outside that's what she called Nina Pineda and ordered a special brew of fully caffeinated seven on your side and then when you looked at it what'd you think I was shocked I didn't I didn't understand why why would they do that vickie reveron is talking about this starbucks cup on the side the Starbucks employee wrote what she ordered a caramel Frappuccino but instead of scrolling her name on the side she says he wrote the B word it's okay my name is nut bit Viki so if you've ever wondered idly what 250 million dollars sounds like going up in flames all at once turns out it sounds like my name isn't beep its Vickie Starbucks went and did an investigation figure what happened here that Vickie was served by this kid named Eduardo Wright 19 year old kid employee for eight months he'd been doing a great job the night before Vickie comes in he had a fight with his mom and he's hour 7 into an eight-hour shift and this woman comes in who orders this coffee with the bad-word on it drinks the entire cup of coffee goes home changed his clothes into a nice blue blouse comes back to the Starbucks calls a TV camera waits 45 minutes for the TV camera to show up and then gives this interview which is all a long way of saying Eduardo might have been totally right right but it doesn't matter for Starbucks this is a disaster right like it doesn't matter how rude a customer is Starbucks delivers customer service this is their basic promise they are going to treat you nicely regardless of who you are so Howard Schultz and his team there's an incident after incident like this so they have this meeting to try and figure out how are we going to fix this this keeps on happening what they discover they decide is we need to increase our employees willpower what they notice is that about 10 to 15 percent of their employees would do great and then they would have this one shift where they would fall apart usually about seven six and a half to seven hours into a shift and they figured what they needed to do is figure out how to give their employees willpower to make it through that eight-hour shift so they don't do something stupid like write a bad word on a cup now luckily for them there had been a whole bunch of research that had been done into willpower most of you were probably familiar with this because it's come from teaching background the most famous of course being the marshmallow test I assume you guys have heard of the marshmallow test for anyone who hasn't this is how it worked there was this researcher in the 1960s at Stanford he had a four year old daughter he took her and a whole bunch of her friends and

he put them in a room one by one he put a marshmallow in front of them and he would say okay look here's the deal you can eat that marshmallow I'm going to leave the room for 10 minutes if when I come back the marshmallow is still there then you will get a second marshmallow now I actually have myself a four-year-old at home and so I can tell you the putting a marshal in front of a four-year-old it's like putting crack cocaine in front of an addicts like there is nothing more tempting this experiment has been replicated let me show you some tape of what happens when you put a marshmallow in front of a four-year-old I'm gonna go do something then I'll come back only one of these kids was able to make it the entire ten minutes let me show you which one how'd you do you did good you did he wouldn't eat it in me yeah so don't tell him give you another one I even have both so this guy miss gal he does his experiment right he finds it about 10 to 15 percent of the four-year-olds they could resist the marshmallow he writes his results isn't late-1960s publishes it nobody cares nobody pays any attention and a couple years later his daughters in fifth grade remember she's one of the test subjects he's talking to her and he's like trying struggling to get her to tell him about her day and he's asking about her friends and she says well Susie keeps on getting into trouble but Jimmy is doing well in class and he realizes he's listening that the kids she says are doing well are the same kids who had managed to resist the marshmallow so he goes and he finds them in middle school he finds him in high school and he finds him in college in post college one of the largest longitudinal studies that's been done as many of you know and he finds that the kids who managed to resist the marshmallow were more successful than their peers by like stick a statistically significant amount he finds that they were getting their homework done more frequently on time they're showing up for class more time they were more popular in high school not necessarily because they were like prettier richer but because they were just better at being friends they got into better colleges they got better jobs higher paying jobs they got married earlier and stayed married longer there's as many of you know there's literally been hundreds of studies on willpower since then most notably by Angela Duckworth at the University of Pennsylvania and all of them have found that willpower seems to be the single greatest correlate with future success right more so than high IQ or so than having rich parents with a lot of resources willpower seems to be this thing that prepares people for life and for Starbucks this is fantastic because this is exactly what they want they want to teach their employees willpower but the question is how do you teach willpower and the answer is through habits by choosing a reaction ahead of time and by making people conscious of what they're going to do when they feel hot blooded in a cold blooded state within economics this is known as the hot cold empathy gap that basically in the morning when you wake up and you've had a big breakfast you are certain that you are going to eat healthy and have a salad that day and as soon as you walk into the cafeteria and you're hot blooded you decide the hamburger looks a lot better so how do you preserve that decision-making from the morning into the moment of temptation how do you create more willpower what's really interesting is if you look at the tape of turn off the sound on this one the kids who fail at this are kids who constantly remind themselves about the marshmallow like watch this kid evenly tries to ignore it he hits the plate and he reminds himself these kids like they all do these things where they can't help not paying attention to the marshmallow now contrast that with the kid that I showed you who actually resisted for 10 minutes when researchers asked him what he did he said that halfway through he decided that he was not going to look at the marshmallow that he was not going to pay any attention to it that if he had to think about the marshmallow he was going to imagine a frame around it so that it reminded him of a photo this is how we teach willpower we teach people to make a decision ahead of time that they apply when they see a cue and then we give him a reward that kid who resisted the marshmallow he said that he had decided ahead of time if he could make it the whole 10 minutes he was going to shove both marshmallows into his mouth at the same time and that's exactly what he did so how do you change a habit how do I change my cookie habit the answer is by premeditating the cues and rewards by deciding ahead of time what you're going to see when you see that trigger and then what your reward is going to be and it has to be specific saying I'm going to lose weight doesn't work saying I'm not going to eat a cookie today does not bring you success what you instead do is you say at 3:15 in the afternoon instead of going up to the cafeteria I'm going to stand up and I'm going to walk over to someone's desk because I think part of the reason why I'm going up to the capture of it is that it's fun to gossip with my friends and all my friends are in the cafeteria so instead of going up there I'm going to look for someone else to go gossip with and at 3:15 you stand up that's your cue you walk over to someone else's desk in this case a guy named Michael barber oh and you gossip about whoever happens to be out of earshot for the next 20 minutes and you decide I'm gonna gossip hard that's your reward and then you go back to your desk and I don't really like to brag about these things but since then I've lost about 21 pounds and it's worked out pretty well for me thanks the point being this is what we know about habits they have cues and rewards and if you decide ahead of time if you engage in this mindfulness in your life where you're aware of what's driving these nearly subconscious behaviors where your brain actually turns off if you indulge yourself to pay attention to the things that otherwise kind of happened at the

peripheries of our consciousness we know from study after study you have the ability to change any habit in your life thank you very much John Jay College of Criminal Justice.