You can't get there from here

One of my favorite personal mantras is, “You can’t fight intensity with intensity.”

As in, if you want gentleness, you can’t get there with intensity.

But it is super seductive! When meditating, I want to say, “BE CALM, MIND!” and when arguing with my wife, I’ll yell, “STOP YELLING!” Of course, these only perpetuate the patterns I want to end.

And it’s the same in app design.

We design apps for positivity, but use guilt as a motivator.

It’s easy and low-hanging fruit. Just add push notifications!

“Being the change” is harder. It can be a pain in the ass. It can take creativity. It might not show results as immediately as interventions that go straight to the lizard brain cortex.

At times like these, when it’s tempting to reach for more competition, more anxiety, more “never enough,” we have to ask ourselves, “What are we truly, deeply trying to encourage with this technology?”

Is it an increase in month-to-month retention?

Or is it peace?