Making Things Pleasant

Reading time: 1 min

I remember once hearing a story about nice-smelling soap.

Disease and poor health plagued an impoverished, small community. They had typical soap and clean water, but handwashing was still an uncommon practice.

An individual from the outside learned of this, and provided the community with fragrant, pleasant soap for the inhabitants to wash their hands with.

With this new, nice soap, handwashing rates rapidly rose and the health of the community significantly enhanced.

Simply increasing the pleasantness of use increases the rate of use.

This story exemplifies the importance of making habits enjoyable, and the reason we should give ourselves rewards if we do something unpleasurable.

Other thoughts:

  • Gamification of work, education, and systems (or otherwise making them pleasant and enjoyable somehow) should be a cornerstone of development in the modern era with our growing knowledge of human behaviour
  • All public washrooms, if possible, should provide better soap than the cheapest possible option- it will make the handwashing experience nicer and can likely increase handwashing rates

(If anyone knows where this story or event originated from, please do tell. I couldn't find where it originated from, and I really want to know.)


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