Hide Your Clothes: How to Coerce Your Future Self

2 thoughts on “Hide Your Clothes: How to Coerce Your Future Self”

  1. Hi Brett, interesting post. Generally I know two kinds of commitment devices:
    A reward subsitution- which gives a reward in the present for doing something as a benefit of the future self.
    The second is the Ulysian contract- where you make a commitment in the present for the future, so that when the times comes that the future becomes the present, you will not fall for distraction or temptation.
    For the latter I have an example from my personal Life: I am an fanatic runner so for that I have an intense schedule of 5-6 practices per week. To make sure that i will do my practise when I am supposed to do them, and not fall for the alternative “lazy on the couch with a good glass of wine” scenario, I use the gympact app. With the app you can litteraly make a contract where you commit to a number of practices per week. If you make them you earn a small amount of money, I you dont make it you loose ( a higher) amount of money for every practise you miss. I use it for two years and it works really well.

    In the work domain I have an example of the other commitment device, the reward substitution. I am working for an investment management company that sells investment solutions online to private investors. Investing is a smart thing to do for the long term but it means giving up spending in the present. What we do is incentivice people with 25 euro when they start with investing. In that way we give a reward in the ( near) present to something for your future self. Our data has proven that this increasing the numbers significantly.

    I am very interested to see how your tools on the website will be working, very interesting and good thing to do

    Greetings Maurice

    1. Thank you for your comments, Maurice. I like your examples because they’re creative, effective and offer positive, not negative incentives. Unfortunately, I suspect that generally loss-averse humans will respond more consistently to devices that cause them to avoid negative consequences.

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