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15 Little Life Hacks

My first New York Times article is up: Money and willpower

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Today, I’m thrilled to announce the first of a 4-post New York Times series I’m writing on psychology, personal finance, and earning more (for their Bucks blog).

In today’s post, you’ll learn:

  • The latest research on how extraordinarily difficult it is to change your behavior…from personal finance to HIV/AIDS preventive care
  • The failure of willpower: Why most people believe they can “try harder” to save money or lose weight…and why this fails over and over
  • The surprising solution to actually changing your behavior, along with 3 examples of powerful psychological principles to use against yourself to change behavior today

What I want you to do

Some people dream about winning the Olympics. Others dream about climbing Mount Everest. My dream was to win a spelling bee (every Indian person’s dream) and to get on the NYT “Most Emailed” list. Cool huh.

1. Read my article.
2. If you think it’s good (it is), I want you to share my NYT article with 3 of your friends via the NYT’s “Email this article” tool in the sidebar (see picture).

(We’re sending a lot of traffic and their system is a little rickety, so if it crashes the first time, just try again.)

The interesting part is…this is an article about willpower. Since you read my blog, and you like my stuff, this seems pretty easy. In fact, this would take you about 30 seconds max.

And yet it’s incredibly hard to motivate yourself to use the willpower to do a simple “Share with 3 friends.” Why is that?

You can find out in the article…

…but then I want you to summon your willpower to share this article.

Observe the differences in your mind. It logically “seems” easy to share with 3 friends. But, assuming you think the article is good, can you take action to share it?

Forget about my dream of getting on the “Most Shared” list…I also just want to see if we can motivate ourselves to take action instead of simply consuming more and more information, and doing nothing,

Here’s the link to my article in the New York Times:

If you think it’s good, share it with 3 friends.

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  1. In order to email it to friends, I had to create an account which sucks because I’m definitely not a fan of that liberal paper (but Ramit rules so I’m willing to). Of course when trying to create an account, you have to be careful to deny all of the spam crap the NYT is trying to sell. When I click the logon button from any page on the site, the page just refreshes to the same exact page. When I try clicking the email this button on your article, the article just refreshes and nothing happens.

    • Sorry man, the NYT is aware of the issue and investigating. Sucks! But thanks for going through so much to do it. I really appreciate that.

    • If you’re wavering on whether to share this awesome article, here are my encouragements to help you overcome psychological resistance:

      -I was able to share this article with others without a hitch. The tech problems seem to be fixed.

      -Consider e-mailing this article to people who are already pretty good with their money because:
      1. You’ll avoid offending someone with money struggles.
      2. You’ll share this info with someone who is interested.
      3. You’ll increase the empathy of people who are good with money in understanding how to help those with struggles.

      To your brilliance!

  2. Well, I tried and tried, it would not let me email. Sorry. Your article did inspire me though, I did try, instead of think about it till I forgot about it.
    I did put it on my facebook page though.

  3. Prepare for some criticism, Dude. I looked up your blog in hopes of emulating a winner (which you obviously are) because I’m about to launch my own website. Sadly, I noticed two immediate distractions: The photo in the ad depicts an anxiety-ridden man. Is he facing a firing squad? The second issue is with grammar and typos. Your first sentence begins with, “Today, I have thrilled to announce…” WTF? In addition, I would have added a semicolon after the word “writing”, in order to avoid confusion.

    I stopped reading after the first sentence.

  4. There’s something wrong with their site I guess, it just won’t let you email the article…I even created an account an for you and I live in Greece!.. I will try again.

  5. I saw this yesterday and shared it with friends before you could even ask! Well written.

  6. I loved it. And I will share. Gracias.

  7. Shared the article weith three people, including my bro, whom I have been trying to bring around to the way of automation for some time. Hopefully this will help.

  8. Like other commenters, I’d email it to several people if I didn’t have to register with NYT to do so. I also tried to “Recommend” but that too requires a NYT account.

    I shared it the old fashioned way (emailed the URL around) and tagged it in Delicious, FWIW.

  9. Your desperate plea for your readers to email your article is pretty lame. Instead I am summoning all the willpower I can manage to leave this comment. I have talked your book up to some friends but come onnn even my grandparents are over that chain letter “email this to three people you know” nonsense.

  10. what a pathetic attempt to make people think that by promoting your writing they are actually doing something to help themselves. I am dissapointed that hubpages would work with such a dodgy conman as the person who write this article.