Headspace, the mindfulness and meditation app had a problem. People came to the app under duress and wanted to feel better. Now. So, Rory Sutherland summarized, people didn’t persist for the long term benefits without a short term win. “That’s fair,” says Dr Clare Purvis. The company had to address the immediate need but also address the long term benefits.
A common idea around here is the Barry Ritholtz refrain: don’t just do something, sit there. The idea is that we equate action with progress but fail to assign inaction to progress too. Usually action=progress is negative, like with poker or architecture. But the action=progress mental model can be used for good. This, I think, is what Headspace did.
“One of the things that we tested,” Purvis pontificated, “was that rather than an eyes closed mindfulness practice was some eyes open embodied practices of stretching and breathing. We saw overwhelming positive responses to these.”
Traditional meditation (🧘♂️) doesn’t fit action=progress. But standing or standing and breathing is something. This isn’t sarcasm. I truly believe that part-of-the-reason this worked was because it made people feel like they were addressing the immediate issue.
What’s the job-to-be-done of Headspace? Make me feel better. ‘Embodied’ is action, action is progress. That’s what I want, especially right away.
Maybe this applies to marketing trading/investing too. Though less profitable, is it easier to sell action?