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The Elephant and the Rider

The Elephant and the Rider

Psychologist Jonathan Haidt introduced a useful analogy for thinking about behaviour change. Haidt argues that we have two sides: an emotional side (the Elephant), and an analytical, rational side (its Rider). Haidt’s analogy has it that the Rider is rational and can therefore see a path ahead while underneath him, the Elephant provides the power for the journey. However the Elephant is irrational and driven by emotion and instinct.

What should we do to keep in control of the Elephant? As the rational Rider we might know where we want to go, but we need to motivate the Elephant by tapping into emotion.