Inconsistent motivation may be the single greatest barrier to fitness success. So if someone could solve for that, he would be a millionaire, no?
Meet Maneesh Sethi, the visionary behind Pavlok, a badass gadget making waves in the crowdfunding circuit. And while he may not (yet) be a millionaire, he’s $163,000 of the way there and garnering tons of national press.
Yep, you read that correctly.
Aptly named to conjure up images of Pavlov’s dogs, Pavlok uses negative reinforcement (aka punishment) to train the brain into behavior modification.
Or in layman’s terms, if you don’t get your sorry ass out of bed and on a treadmill, it’ll make you sorry enough to do better tomorrow.
In case the strength of the electric jolt isn’t enough to induce change, the device can also be programmed to activate a social shaming mechanism.
• That’s right. It can post a message to your Facebook like, “Missed the gym this morning.”
The device also incorporates positive feedback mechanisms.
• That’s right, too. You can be rewarded you when you achieve your goals with prizes, money, and even social praise when you complete your daily programmed task.
So is Sethi on to something big? Quite possibly.
From Aristotleto Pavlov to Skinner, there’s support for the notion that habit is a powerful force that has the ability to shape who we are.
• By Aristotle’s logic, a person who gives to charity 100 days in a row will likely transform into a generous person even if he was Ebenezer Scrooge to begin with.
• Likewise, if Mother Teresa were commanded to rob a bank every day, she’d likely become less kind and empathic.
There’s also ample evidence that humans are wired to strongly avoid negative consequences.
(Something about avoiding hostile tribes during our evolutionary history.)
It’s the reason we’re able to more quickly detect a sad or angry face in a sea of smiling faces in a group photograph than vice versa.
So it’s all well and good that your fitness plan includes tracking your steps with your Fit Bit and plastering your wall with motivational posters, but at the end of the day, a 340-volt shock might be the more effective path to success!
The device can be pre-ordered here for a mere $150 and is expected to ship in early 2015.
Here’s to a shockingly good workout!