Why riders&elephants

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It all started when...

we learnt about the psychologist Jonathan Haidt's work on our two minds: The unconscious mind (emotional) and our conscious mind (rational). Haidt's work was popularised through Dan and Chip Heath's book called Switch.

When we read this book, we saw the world we live in, and how we live in it, differently. Since learning about this work we've been infatuated with how we can influence human behaviour and help people to change for the better. It's the inspiration behind everything we do here at riders&elephants.

Watch this short two minutes video for an overview or read on below:

More about our two minds...

In Jonathan Haidt's book The Happiness Hypothesis, Haidt says that our emotional side is an Elephant and our rational side is its Rider. Perched atop the Elephant, the Rider holds the reins and seems to be the leader. But the Rider’s control is precarious because the Rider is so small relative to the Elephant. Anytime the six-ton Elephant and the Rider disagree about which direction to go, the Rider is going to lose. He’s completely overmatched.

The key to effective change according to Dan and Chip Heath is that:

“Changes often fail because the Rider simply can’t keep the Elephant on the road long enough to reach the destination.  The Elephant’s hunger for instant gratification is the opposite of the Rider’s strength, which is the ability to think long-term, to plan, to think beyond the moment (all those things that your pet can’t do.) … To make progress toward a goal, whether it’s noble or crass, requires the energy and drive of the Elephant.  And this strength is the mirror image of the Rider’s great weakness: spinning his wheels.  The Rider tends to overanalyse and over think things. … A reluctant Elephant and a wheel-spinning Rider can both ensure nothing changes.  But when Elephants and Riders move together, change can come easily.”

Here are some of the books that have inspired and influenced us here at riders&elephants. 

  • Switch by Dan and Chip Heath
  • The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt
  • Drive – The surprising truth about what motivates us by Dan Pink
  • Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Khaneman
  • The Medici Effect by Frans Johansson
  • Predictably Irrational By Dan Ariely

If you only take away 10% of what you read in these books you will still be infinitely more inspired and prepared to lead changes in your world.