Here is the full transcript of personal development consultant Jeff Gaines’ TEDx Talk: Why is Everyone So Fat, Broke and Busy? at TEDxAlbany 2010 conference. To learn more about the speaker, read the bio here.
Jeff Gaines – Speaker and consultant
So why is everyone so fat, broke, and busy?
First of all, are we fat, broke, and busy as a nation? Let’s look at some statistics. 65% or more of America is overweight or obese. 65% or more of Americans are in a bad financial situation. And again, over 60% of Americans are by their own standards busier than they want to be.
So as I go around the nation, talking to people about, you know, throwing out to audience this notion of fat, broke, and busy, I have yet to have anybody say, you know, “how dare you say that?” Usually people say, yeah, that’s kind of us. You know, people aren’t usually surprised by the statistics. In the shorter presentation I’m not going to go deeper into them, but trust me, there’s more, right?
But really who would go around the country calling people fat? I mean, what kind of person says such a thing, right?
So let me be clear on where I’m coming from with that angle. It’s not the school-run bully version of fat we’re talking about. I think part of what we’re going to need to address as we understand what’s causing this is the change of mentality, change of mindset we need to have around it, right? It’s a growing issue, it’s a growing crisis. And I think it’s one that not all people know about; it hasn’t really risen to the point of people taking action yet.
And you’re going to hear a lot in my presentation, throughout the day about, what it takes to get to the tipping point where people actually act, people actually do something about it.
And so the jovial version of fat, if you will, my apologies if it’s offensive. But let’s talk about a study — a study that was done and there is a fascinating amount of science and research coming out about the brain and human behavior. I’m going to just use one as an example. They called it the Magic Drink study where they took three groups.
Group one, they called the full SoBe; you’ve heard of this drink SoBe, right? $5 bottle has whatever it has in it. And they took this — you know, it used to be that psychological experiments were performed on animals but that was deemed inhumane. So now they’re performed on college students.
So they took these three different groups of college students, and they took Group 1 and they said, “All right, we’ve come to believe that when you drink SoBe, because of the ingredients in it, it temporarily increases blood flow to the brain and it makes you smarter. So what we’re going to do is give you some Sobe, have you drink it and then put you through some tests to see how you do. But we’re are University, so we’re kind of broke. So you need to pay for your SoBe”. So they deducted from their meal plan the five bucks or whatever it is. Given the SoBe, let it soak in and then they take the test.
Now, Group 2: this is our controlled group. No SoBe. They didn’t tell them about SoBe, they just brought them and said, “We’re going to give you these tests and see how you do?” So they have a means of comparison.
Group 3: The cheap SoBe group. Same spill with the SoBe, they give them the SoBe, tell them it’s going to make you smarter and all that. But they say we got a great deal on SoBe. We got some discount SoBe for you. So your SoBe is only 80 cents. And then they test and see how they did.
Now who do you think did the best group: one, two, or three? Let’s find out.
Turns out that compared to the no SoBe group to controlled group, the full SoBe group did slightly better. Now what does this say about the human brain where we could take people, give them a drink and say this is going to make you smarter and they’re actually smarter! I mean, isn’t that amazing?
But what was even more amazing to me is the cheap SoBe group did significantly worse. Now why would that be? They fell into the typical American consumer mindset of: if I got something on the cheap it’s probably not as good, right? So they’re thinking where did they get my SoBe from? Probably fell off the back of a truck. It probably got E coli.
So really what this shows is a couple of different very important things when it comes to understanding our behavior. One, all of these groups got exactly what they expected to get. So it really shows the power of beliefs, the placebo effect, right? You’ve seen things like this.