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The Scarcity Brain: Michael Easter On How To Rewire Your Habits to Thrive with Enough

By February 19, 2024March 12th, 2024No Comments
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Episode #814



We inhabit a world saturated with comforts, overstimulation, and the perpetual allure of convenience, where indulgences prevail.

Today, Michael Easter is here to help us better understand this predicament and develop healthier strategies.

Michael is an author, investigative journalist, and professor at UNLV. He’s contributed to Men’s Health, Outside Magazine, and others. His books, The Comfort Crisis, and his New York Times bestseller, Scarcity Brain, focus on fixing the craving mindset and rewiring habits for a better life.

Michael emphasizes a primary driving psychological aspect behind our technological compulsivities, particularly the exploitation of the scarcity loop. This loop comprises—opportunity, unpredictable rewards, and quick repeatability—that drives a compulsive repeat consumption behavior.

Our evolutionary origins in environments of scarcity, where survival demanded resourcefulness in the face of limited provisions, starkly contrast with our current reality of abundance. Our evolutionary instincts are now orthogonal to our best interests.

From birth, our lives are an onslaught of temptations, options, pressures, and conveniences—crafted by interests that don’t prioritize our well-being. They are designed to lure, attract, and addict you for the sake of profit. The result of this relentless pursuit is disease, unhappiness, physical decline, increased mortality, and mental health disorders.

“You have to go through short-term discomfort to get to long-term benefits.”


Today’s conversation delves into Michael’s journey with sobriety, exploring the scarcity loop and the impact of addictive behaviors on struggles with moderation. We navigate the psychology of addictive behavior, shedding light on how industries exploit our brain’s innate reward-seeking nature. We examine strategies for reducing addictive behaviors and attaining balance with technology.

We also discuss the comfort crisis, the significance of hardships, the pervasive nature of the scarcity loop, and introducing tools for behavior change. Our exploration extends to social media’s influence on the brain, the philosophy of minimalism, and the complexities of technological addictions.

It’s abundantly clear that happiness is neither found nor purchased through convenience, luxury, or sensorial pleasure but instead the by-product of inviting challenge, welcoming adversity, and volunteering for discomfort.

For those who prefer a visual experience, the conversation is available on YouTube. As always, the audio version streams wild and free on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Understanding this psychological loop can transform our relationship with the digital world. Recognizing these behaviors is crucial for positive change, and identifying why we spend excessive time with technology or engage in loop-perpetuating behaviors is the first step toward reclaiming control.

I hope this revelatory conversation equips you with new tools to identify scarcity loops in your life, understand how you interact with them, and provide strategies to reverse these behaviors.


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