On its most basic level, a habit is a simple neurological loop: a cue (my mouth feels gross), a routine (I should brush my teeth), and a reward (ahhh, minty fresh!). Backing out of the driveway, replying to emails, choosing what to munch on at 3:00 PM, running before work – many of our most basic daily actions are not, in fact, the products of well considered decision-making, but outgrowths of habits we often don’t even realize exist.
In the New York Times bestseller,The Power of Habit, we discover how habits were crucial to the success of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, the growth of Starbucks, and the momentum of the civil-rights movement.
Why “grit” matters more than physical aptitude, grade point averages, military abilities, and self-discipline in the likelihood that a West Point student will excel and how grit emerges from keystone habits adopted once they are at the school.
Lee Callahan spoke with Charles and covered:
How habits are born and retraining the brain to stop the bad habit trigger. How major retailers, like Target, know what you want before you do. How tooth brushing became an American habit (thanks to Pepsodent’s Claude Hopkins). How athletes, like Michael Phelps, focus on race-day habits to win. How to stop having that candy bar at 3pm everyday (or any other bad habit)
Charles Duhigg is an investigative reporter for The New York Times where he has most recently been the lead writer for its front-page series on Apple. He is a winner of the National Academies of Sciences, National Journalism, and George Polk awards, and was part of a team of finalists for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize. He is a frequent contributor to This American Life, NPR, PBS’s NewsHour, and Frontline. Duhigg has spoken to audiences as varied as MIT (where he keynoted the 2010 engineering conference), the SC Johnson Company, and the Pasadena Art and Science Festival. A graduate of Harvard Business School and Yale College, Duhigg lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two children.