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2 min read

Confelicity and Behavior Change

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In this blog we explore the idea of 'confelicity' - the joy in sharing others' happiness - which is crucial for love and social bonds, and which can play a significant role in behavior change. Learn about the effectiveness of outside guidance, like coaching, and objective feedback from tools like the Tuesday app, in maximizing personal and professional growth journey.

Confelicity is an archaic word meaning sharing the pleasure of another's happiness. That's the foundation for love, attachment, and social connection. Emotionally, I'm happy for you and you're happy for me.

This isn't just a feeling, it's neuroscience. The technical term is "neural coupling" and it is the foundation for effective communication.[1] In addition to neural coupling, the ability to influence another requires that communication has high neurologic Immersion. Immersion is the brain's valuation network for social-emotional experiences. When Immersion is high, the brain tags the experience as valuable and devotes substantial metabolic resources to process what is occurring. The emotional tagging also causes a high Immersion experience to be remembered and to provoke behavior. [2]

But, the brain does not change easily because change takes energy. At only three percent of body weight, the brain burns about 20% of one's calories. This high overhead is managed by establishing default pathways in the brain that activate for similar circumstances. This default activation manifests as habits. You know that habits are hard to change and in some cases habits are maladaptive.

So, how do we change habits and develop as better employees, leaders, and family members?

When people are languishing professionally, they can hire a coach or therapist to help them break old habits and create new and more useful ones. These guides need to have confelicity with their clients or they will fail to be effective partners. We shun those who reveal that they don't have our best interests at heart.  

Pairing high Immersion communications with actions is how new neural pathways are established. The term of art for this is "long-term potentiation" or LTP. LTP requires repetition: information then action, information then action; wash, rinse, repeat. Establishing more effective ways to thrive requires practicing what is preached. A lot. And, if that practice comes with feedback, it accelerates behavior change.

This is why most effective behavioral change is not guided by family members. They have too much history, too much emotional baggage, and whether meaning to or not, know how to rile up those they love. The haranguing type of feedback can produce behavior change, but it leaves emotional scars. Certainly, family and friends can and do influence behavior, but when one is trying to lose weight or be a more effective leader, those closest to us may be just too close for comfort.

This is why feedback from a coach or therapist, who has confelicity but no history with a client, tends to be the most effective at driving behavior change. Pair this with neural feedback on Immersion from our emotional fitness app Tuesday and behavior change gets even easier. My previous blog described how Immersion's app is used by coaches to objectively demonstrate the ROC (return on coaching) by showing clients how behavior change improves flourishing.

What are the key takeaways? First, behavior change is hard because it is metabolically costly. Second, the guidance on new behaviors is most effective from those outside of one's immediate circle. Third, neurologic feedback from the Tuesday app accelerates behavior change by providing an objective measure of what is working and what needs more work.

You can improve, it just requires some effort and practice. And, the use of the free Tuesday app.  



[1] Stephens, G. J., Silbert, L. J., & Hasson, U. (2010). Speaker–listener neural coupling underlies successful communication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(32), 14425-14430.

[2] Zak, P. J. (2022). Immersion: The Science of the Extraordinary and the Source of Happiness. Lioncrest.

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