Short Form: Addicting Things
- I think people vary a good amount for all these things.
- I didn’t have a great measure for addictingness. Another option I thought about was (# of times I would do the thing vs. # I wanted to do).
- A lot of the badness for me of addicting things is that they make me feel like I’m not in control of my actions. I hate feeling like I can’t choose to eat less if I don’t want to.
- I think facebook/twitter are slightly more addicting and slightly worse than news/sports scores.
- I’ve never done cocaine, but my average estimate for it was -2 on the life satisfaction score, while my average for dessert was about -0.5. So for me, dessert addiction feels roughly 0.1x - 0.5x as bad. I like my new framing of “deca-cocaines” for me to quantify just how addicting these things are (e.g. 0.1x-0.5x is 1-5 deca-cocaines).
- My dad used to work for a candy company, and they’d optimize their recipe by bringing in people, giving them free giant bowls of candy, and seeing which recipes led to people eating the most. I think people underestimate how aggressively companies have optimized on making things as addicting as possible (food, facebook, etc.).
Substitutes for news/sports scores:
- Eat, drink.
- Walk, juggle a soccer ball.
- Text a friend.
- Journal, doodle.
- Read better blog posts.
- Watch educational youtube.
- Play with an educational app like universe in a nutshell.
- [Not good] book/podcast (too long a commitment / effortful).
- For me, if I have a policy of only doing something rarely (never - once/month), I basically never think about doing it. But as soon as I get up to once/week, and especially at once/day or above, the number of times I think about it starts increasingly rapidly.
- I’ve experimented the most with this with dessert. At once/day - 3 times/day, it won’t feel bad for days - months, but then one day I’ll be stressed or tired and binge and feel bad about myself. I did a couple years where I only ate dessert roughly once/year, and have been doing roughly once/month for the last year, and found that I don’t binge at all like that. People ask me “how do you have so much willpower to eat dessert so rarely!?” I say: what!? If I had willpower I’d eat it 3 times a day — it’s specifically because of my lack of willpower that the policy “roughly once a month” works wonders for me.
- I know of a handful of other people that have experiemnted with similar things and found the “rarely” option liberating, but again I expect there to be large individual variation.
- I think the body positivity movement does at least one very good thing and one questionable thing. The very good thing is that for people who feel bad about food, it helps them feel less bad about it. The questionable thing is that I feel pretty confident that for me, the “leave dessert in your house and don’t feel bad eating it every day!” thing would be counterproductive because it would lead to me thinking about dessert and binging on it much more frequently. And again, I expect this to differ by person, and am not judging you if you feel differently. As a wise person once said “some people want to eat more, some people want to eat less, and lots of people want to think about eating less.”