Our experience of working on habits, attention and decisions in practical contexts has given rise to the following working assumptions that underpin our approach:
- We cannot change ourselves without changing each other
Most behaviour change does not occur at the level of the individual alone. Not only do we rely on other people to achieve the changes we seek to make, but such behaviours spread through social diffusion, and there is no way of knowing where our influence ends.
- Complexity is more often the solution than the problem
To navigate a complicated world, we need complex minds. We need to work on having a 'relationship to our reactions', and when faced with multiple perspectives we should be able to both differentiate and integrate them.
- It is better to be reasonable than rational
Clear thinking matters, but the touchstone of our thought should not be disembedded logic, but contextual sensitivity and concern for others.
- Paying attention is good for you
We are what we attend to, and there are increasing demands on our attention. We need some resistance to the power of advertisements and the allure of technology. To avoid becoming slaves to the information and tools we use, we need to learn to pay closer attention to what is going on around us, within us and between us on a regular basis.
- If we want new habits we should work with our habitats
We are creatures of habit, but unlike most creatures we have considerable power to shape our habitats for purposes beyond our basic needs. Behaviour change is not mainly about willpower, but about using self-awareness to shape our environments so that our social and automatic brains align with our goals and values.
- The brain is a stimulant
The brain is something we all have in common, and share an interest in. We use information about the brain as a socialising device to stimulate collective self-awareness. Through reflecting on the social and automatic nature of the brain, we learn how to change our behaviour for the better.