Accountability 2

BarroMetrics Views: Accountability 2

Yesterday, I raised the possibility that the idea that all we know about ‘willpower’ needs revising. The problem with the current ideas – that willpower is like a muscle that needs to be exercised and like a muscle, tires – is it fails to explain how we can improve it.

Jason Gracia and Heidi Reeder have come up with a better model. One that places motivation squarely on our shoulders. We now have a model that, if applied, will garner all the motivation we need for any goal.

In this entry, I’ll start with Gracia’ model and then show how it fits nicely into Reeder’s.

But first, some context:

  • Humans move away from pain, perceived or actual.
  • Humans depreciate future events and appreciate present ones.
  • Humans, as a rule, prefer the stay within their comfort zones.

The two principles are an important backdrop to the models.

  1. Here’s Gracia’s:

Our motivation is directly linked to Pleasure and Pain. For any activity, the expected Pleasure has to be greater than the Pain. But, the equation is not as simple as it looks because there are four parts to the two quadrants, not two:

Quadrant One:

  • Pleasure of Success
  • Pain of Failure

Quadrant Two:

  • Pleasure of Failure and
  • Pain of Success

Quadrant one is self-explanatory. But, Gracia says we also need to consider the Pleasure of Failure and Pain of Success.

Can success be painful? You’d better believe it! Any trader going through Deliberative Practice will tell you that it’s not a stroll in the park. Or ask any gold medal winner of the effort she had to put in.

OK, then what about the Pleasure of Failure?

Staying within our comfort zone is hard wired. The most extreme example I have encountered was over ten years ago. A broker had invited me to give a talk to their high net worth and active traders.

After the talk, he introduced me to one of his clients, a gentleman who had experienced a high six-figure loss since opening his account. Into the conversation I asked him:

“To change your results, you need to change what you are doing. What will you change first?”

“Nothing!” was his reply.


“Look. I can probably make some of the changes you have suggested. But, how do I know they will work? If they don’t, I’d have wasted time, effort and perhaps, even more, money.

If I just keep doing what I’m doing, I’ll be in familiar territory; and who knows, perhaps my luck will change”.

Hmmm. The first sign of insanity keep doing what doesn’t produce the results you want and hope things will change.

Are you paddling that canoe?

Tomorrow we’ll look at Reeder’s model.



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