Welcome to the club…

2020 is the year of the book for Jay Shetty.  

His book Think Like a Monk is releasing in April and Jay Shetty wants to celebrate. He’s kicking things off by introducing a new feature for his On Purpose With Jay Shetty podcast – the Podcast Book Club!  

Each month, Shetty will highlight insights and takeaways from a different book for his listeners. His purpose for the Podcast Book Club goes deeper than just telling listeners about a good read. 

For Jay Shetty, books have superpowers, and he can’t wait to dive in and share the wisdom and insights he pulls out of the text. There will be a lot of practical takeaways from these sessions.

Predictably Irrational

Today, Jay Shetty highlights a text that is not only practical and applicable but also engaging – Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions.

Ariely has filled his book to the brim with insight and tangible takeaways. It’s a fascinating look at decision-making and the factors that affect how a person makes them. Ariely backs his findings up with research and studies he’s conducted himself. 

“We all live in this age where there are so many decisions to make,” Jay Shetty explained. “It is important to know how to navigate this and make decisions well.”

Shetty shared information from three chapters and takeaways from the book that highlight hindrances to effective decision making, and how acknowledging them can move us forward.  

The Truth About Relativity

What is it about the bigger or more expensive option that makes it seem like the better value?

It’s hard to resist snatching up the “best value” offer, even if the extras aren’t things we want or need. Are the extras worth it, or is it just the marketing that makes it seem irresistible? 

Ariely argued that fighting the urge to compare value is one of the biggest things that stands in the way of solid decision making.  

“We don’t have an internal value meter that tells us how much things are worth,” Ariely explained in his book. “Rather we focus on the relative advantage of one thing over another and estimate value accordingly.” Jay Shetty agrees.

“We wouldn’t know the value of cars if they didn’t have names on them,” he said. The brand name gives the cars an external measure of societal value. The societal value affects the choice we make. 

Jay Shetty went on to explain that often when we think we’re making choices, we’re actually being heavily influenced by presentation. One thing looks more attractive when it’s placed next to something similar but less attractive.  

“Are we making decisions based on what we are looking for and what is important to us, or what is attractive when comparing?” asked Jay Shetty.

The Cost of Social Norms

“Imagine you helped your friend move,” Jay Shetty said as he began to discuss the next chapter,  “and at the end they said, ‘Here’s your tip.’ You would be confused. You might be offended. You didn’t expect money. You were helping them because they are your friend.”  

In the book, Ariely raises the question “Why are we happier to do things when we are not paid to do them?”

His conclusion? People work better for a cause than for cash.  

The reason for this, he believes, can be explained by breaking down the difference between social norms and market norms. Social norms are the expectations and understandings that are in place when interacting with someone on a social level. This includes interactions with friends and helping others you know personally. 

In contrast, market norms are all business. Market norm interactions are transactional, and money is typically exchanged. 

While there is nothing wrong with market norms, expecting a market norm transaction in a social norm dynamic is a mistake. Not only can doing so make things awkward; it can change people’s intention and motivation to accomplish more. 

Ariely discovered through his studies that people who did a job for a cause (helping a friend or neighbor or coming to the aid of a stranger to do good) performed better than those who were paid. 

They also got more work done in a more efficient manner. Levels of achievement were higher when a cause, not money, was the focus. When your heart is in it, even if the money isn’t great, you will work harder.

“When you are doing something you love, when you are doing something you believe in, when you are doing something that is meaningful to you, you will work harder,” agreed Jay Shetty. “If you are doing something you don’t love or find meaningful, you are actually more likely to fail at it.”

What does it mean when it comes to making decisions? It means two things: 

  1. Be mindful of motivation.

    Find causes to get behind that you believe in, and work out of that motivation. Even in a paying job, do something that involves a passionate pursuit of growth and change. This will bring more productivity than just a paycheck.  

  2. Use caution when moving between social norms and market norms in a relationship.

    Be mindful of how bringing money into a friendship or relationship can change the dynamic. It can be done, but having the social/market norm information at the forefront will help with understanding. 

Keeping Doors Open: Why Options Distract Us From Our Main Objective

The grocery store can be an overwhelming place. Who knew there were so many different types of spaghetti sauce? 

In a world full of convenience and plenty, having tons of options is seen as a luxury. Major life choices are often viewed the same way. According to Jay Shetty, the opposite may actually be true.  

He quotes the book by saying, “People who try to leave more doors open more often actually struggle to be successful.”

While this may seem counterintuitive, Ariely shares studies to show the facts behind this statement. So often, people are paralyzed and distracted when given too many options. Fewer options equals less distraction, which leads to better (and faster) decisions. 

Once the decision is made and an effective solution is found, the key step is to keep giving it energy and focus to keep things improving. 

“If something is doing well already, imagine how well it would do if you gave it all your energy,” said Jay Shetty. 

To summarize, Shetty says: 

  1. “When you are making a choice, what are you comparing it to? Do you only like it because you are comparing it to something you like less? Have you looked at it for its own value in your life?” 
  2. “Why we are happy to do things when we’re not paid to do them? Can we make more things in our life a cause? How can we make more things in our life a mission and a purpose, rather than just making them about monetary value, where we will not perform and not reap the rewards and therefore not be as productive?”
  3. “Why do we let multiple options distract us? Why don’t we test, test, test, see what gains momentum, and then commit to a path?”

Using these insights will help you move forward with a clearer understanding of how to make good decisions.

Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on 3 Reasons Why We Make Bad Decisions now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me.