The Brain Hack From The 60s That Still Works Today

Your brain works on a reward circuit.

  1. Stimulus.
  2. Behavior.
  3. Reward.

That’s the cycle.


  1. You see the living room is dirty and kinda smelly.
  2. You spray Febreeze.
  3. It smells fantastic.

That’s the whole cycle and its part of everything we do as humans. No matter what you want to do, you will need to face this cycle.

In fact, super successful products like Febreeze, Listerine, and Coca-Cola have built-in rewards that increase consumption behavior from customers.

This isn’t new–it’s called reinforcement and it was coined by B.F. Skinner and the other Behaviorist Psychologists in the 60s.

It works in business and it works in life.

If you want to build a habit, break a habit, stop dating the same type of person, start exercising more, finish that novel, improve test scores, increase sales, decrease staff turnover, quit smoking, eat healthily, or WHATEVER . . .

You’re going to need to understand this basic, fundamental human circuit for behavior and how people respond to it.

If your employees feel crummy every time they talk to you, they are going to stop talking to you and leave.

If your students feel empowered and capable every time they leave your class, they’re going to show up and try hard.

If your customers feel like they didn’t get what they expected, they are not going to tell you (they’ll tell their friends) and they are not going to come back.

2 Minute Action

What’s a habit or behavior you want to start, stop, or otherwise change?

Don’t stop there.

What’s the stimulus, behavior, and reward?

It’s up to you to identify, test, and solve for this reward circuit. If you’re serious about getting your results, you’re going to need to figure out how to hack your own behavior and do what you need to do.

A failure is not always a mistake, it may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying.”

– B.F. Skinner

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