Sunday, April 12, 2009

A personal commitment contract!

I have always had two major problems - biting nails and blowing my top. After numerous futile attempts at restraining my impulses (including bitter nail polishes and counting backwards), and an especially bad experience today, I decided to take a leaf out of and try a bit of incentive economics on myself through a commitment contract.

I was thinking of a strong enough deterrent, when my wife, in a eureka moment, proposed that I commit to forego blogging for the day if I resorted to chewing on my nails or losing my cool. I have decided to bite the bullet.

So next time, there is a post missing for the day, you know the reason!

As an afterthought, there is more to the bargain than just getting rid of two especially bad habits. The obvious gain apart, it appears that my wife (and family) benefits even more. Let me elucidate a few possible permutations this interesting wager could evoke

1. If I don't get angry or bite my nails, my wife is obviously happy.
2. But even if I do get angry, she remains happy, since the (considerable) blogging time now passes on to her and the family.
3. I bite my nails when fully immersed watching cricket, and my wife hopes that the wager will incentivize me to either reduce cricket watching or atleast divide the time between cricket and the family while viewing it.
4. The perverse incentive for her is to provoke me to indulge in either of the two habits very early in the day, especially on a holiday, so that the entire day is spent with her!
5. The perverse incentive for me is to finish my blogging for the day and then indulge in my impulses!


Ankit Sharda said...

Amazing Post!!
brilliant application of behavioral sciences to daily life.

gaddeswarup said...

Very interesting. I did not notice either when I met you. cheers.

Jagannadh said...

sir, this seems to be a good personal commitment contract. incentives and dis incenttives are well defined.

There needs to be a mutual covenant between the contract participants with regard to the starting time of the day, the best being the time of first greet in the day.
There needs to be another condition that the blogging shall not be resorted to when the other party is in sleep, to restrain from exploiting the perverse incentive as per condition 5 envisaged in the blog.