The Way We’re Built

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My stupid treadmill taught me another lesson. Again. Yay. Here we go.

Some Weird Design
As I did my daily workout on my elliptical (yes, it’s an elliptical, not a treadmill), I started to think of the auto shutoff feature. After a certain amount of time of not being used, the machine shuts off – at least the screen does.

At the same time, when I stop the machine from my workout, the fan stays on. I have to manually shut it off, even when I stop my workout. It started me wondering if the auto shutoff shuts off the fan too or it stays on. (I know: I think of the coolest stuff.)

A Deeper Understanding
Some would say that the fan should shut off when the treadmill display shuts off. Others would say that the fan is separate and should stay on even if the display has shut off. These two groups can argue back and forth to justify their position. But that’s exactly where things get interesting.

It doesn’t matter how much they argue that it should behave differently. This treadmill was designed and built a certain way. It is always going to work the way it was designed. As much as we believe it should work in one way, it won’t change the truth of how it does work.

You See Where I’m Going?
People are built a certain way too. I don’t mean we are preprogrammed with our behaviors. I mean we do what we do because of the rewards and punishments we receive for doing it.

You don’t want to eat that cookie because you shouldn’t. But you do anyway. Why? Because it tastes good. You should shut off the TV and be productive. But you sit and watch. Why? Because you had a hard day and it feels good to just sit and veg.

Change Comes Through Understanding
No matter how much you think people should behave a certain way, you can’t change that they are responding to needs and desires just like you are. We can’t just force other people to change. We shouldn’t get angry with them for being human and behaving the way they were built to behave.

We must be smarter. We must find ways to motivate them to do what will benefit them. We must find ways to encourage them to build good habits and enjoy doing the right thing. We must find what inspires and drives them and lead them with positivity.

We can’t change the way we’re built, but we can definitely change how we motivate others by taking into consideration how they are built.

David Bishop

David is CEO of Cedowin Productions, dedicated to helping you live your best life through positive habits. He has inspired tens of thousands to improve habits and communication through books, articles, workshops, and apps. He is the creator of AweVenture, helping families enjoy fantastic, active experiences and Zombie Goals, literally making building healthy habits a game. He’s authored several books including How to Create Amazing Presentations, 7 Steps to Better Relationships, and The Man in the Pit, which helps people who have loved ones struggling with depression.

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