Below is an excerpt from “SWIPE: The science behind why we don’t finish what we started” by Dr. Tracy Mayletta and Tim Vandehey. Amplify Publishing Group.
The custom-made world of smart devices could make Swiping more ubiquitous and even more enticing, but before you think we’re going to label Swipe as a millennium or Gen Z phenomenon, stop. We will not predictably complain about peripatetic, tech-addicted youngsters who can’t finish what they started. Younger people are no more likely to push through life than baby boomers. Dragging is a universal phenomenon.
There has been little real scientific research on the phenomenon of abandoning what we start, but there has been a lot of Swipe phenomenon: procrastination. According to work done by Joseph Ferrari, a professor of psychology at DePaul University, 25 percent of people worldwide are chronic procrastinators. The “t-finish-what-we-start” phantom.
Research from the University of Scranton found that 92 percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions fail2 – no surprise to anyone who made a vow on December 31 to look like a runway model this beach season. only to reach the Fourth of July with a lighter wallet after purchasing unused exercise equipment.
But here’s the big problem: According to Finder research, 74.72 percent of all Americans planning 2021 New Year’s resolutions were confident they would stick to their resolutions. It’s a deep disconnect between aspirations and achievement. That’s why the best proof of Swipe is literally the people around us. We all know dozens of family members, friends, peers, and co-workers who bitterly complain about things they’ve been meaning to do for years but haven’t—big things like going back to school, and seemingly small goals like graduation. home projects. You almost certainly have your own list of unfinished frustrations; we all do. This is why so many of us have a current of dissatisfaction running through our lives. We know we can do more, but we just can’t get there.
In 2014, when employee experience firm DecisionWise began researching “stay intention” statistics (data about people who plan to stay with their current employers), they were surprised to find that, contrary to what many have claimed, less than 11 percent employees have been actively distributing their resumes. Much of this inactivity was likely related to the tough global labor market. However, this number has increased dramatically. In 2022, CNBC reported that according to research by consulting firm Willis Towers Watson, 44 percent of employees reported looking for a new job. When we have the opportunity to look around and compare our current situation with a hypothetical alternative, we seem to quickly become dissatisfied.
Swiping affects virtually every person in every environment. In addition to the obvious examples we have already cited – professional life, creative projects, weight loss – there are many others. Students who drop out after their sophomore year because the work is too strenuous often assume that Swipe will return to graduate one day. Many never do. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance, which makes cigarette smoking an extremely difficult habit to quit. Despite this, approximately 1.3 million Americans quit smoking each year, but those who fail are those who cannot resist the unpleasant physical and mental experiences of nicotine withdrawal. They quickly switch to the relief of satisfying smoke, only to feel guilty and ashamed.
The serial dater who sees potential partners as soon as casual dates turn into something more serious is Swiper. It’s the same with a patient who fires their doctor because that doctor gave them health advice they didn’t want to follow, such as losing weight or cutting down on saturated fat. Then there’s the employee who “is only here for the paycheck until the dream job comes along.”
Perhaps you know someone who is always working on their next business—a friend who abandons one business venture for another on the pretext that the next big opportunity is just around the corner. We tend to idolize serial entrepreneurs – those who seem to have a Midas touch – as the paragon of the business ignorant. But for every true entrepreneur, there are many more who jump from one business experiment to another because they get bored, frustrated, or lose interest when the joy of starting a startup gives way to the daily grind of running a business.
Refusal to commit when things get difficult or complex is not just for individuals. We also see this in organizations. After years of researching workplace engagement and collecting millions of survey results from thousands of companies, we know for sure that when people let go of engagement—when they stop caring and balk at the task or challenge facing them—their performance suffers . Companies invest millions of dollars to encourage employee engagement because they know that when people quit, they’re not just quitting their responsibilities. Their indifference and dissatisfaction affect others and infect them. Quality slippages, performance drops, customer service declines, and turnover spikes. In the business environment, disengagement is a silent, creeping disease that is killing cultures and ruining organizations (note: we’ll discuss this more in Chapter 4). But do you know what makes it even more dangerous? This bad job also spills over into other areas of life; you take it home with you. More on that later.
Even giant Swipe corporations. Do you remember Blockbuster Video? If you are under thirty, you may not. That’s because the retail video rental company that dominated the video rental market back in the days when you and your friends had to drive to the store to rent DVDs and VHS movies has moved away from what could have been its salvation.
In 1999, two years after Blockbuster said “Thanks, but no thanks” when it bought Netflix for a paltry $50 million, the company teamed up with Enron – yes, that Enron – to create a solid video-on-demand platform. The result was a platform that worked and customers loved. Blockbuster was poised to take over much of the fledgling streaming market. But Blockbuster was so focused on its stores that it neglected its video-on-demand service. In 2001, they abandoned it completely, and by 2010 the company went bankrupt. Meanwhile, despite some setbacks in 2022, Netflix has emerged as the dominant brand in streaming entertainment
Swipe rule too. The People’s Republic of China jumped into action with a medieval Wonderland that was destined to become Asia’s largest and greatest amusement park. But when the Chinese government got into an endless series of disputes with local officials and farmers, the half-finished project was abandoned in 1998. the site is now a shopping center.