Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Irrationality is something I do well!

Ever read this book?  The upside of irrationality, Ariely (2010).

True confessions:  I love behavioural economics. Affluenza, Freakenomics, all books that are not only interesting but seriously entertaining. So I have learned about the disease of consumerism, and how to catch out teachers who cheat.

And now I am learning about the impact stress can have and how return is diminished when the stakes are high.  I see it in my students.  They perform well on tasks they believe don't matter but the minute it is something that appears important, they choke.

I do this with my art too.  When I genuinely believe that it doesn't matter, the work flows and is beautiful.  Get me in a situation when I feel it does matter, and any skill I have disappears out the window, leaving me with low-grade, slightly disappointing pieces that people politely smile at.

This is the challenge:  to not care if I live or die (metaphorically, of course!)  The less I care, the better the work is.  The less I care, the more likely I am to overcome the wall I have hit with several projects.

I'll be really interested to see what the suggested solution is.  How do we switch off our perception that something matters more or less than something else?  

Hmmm....now to harness the power of the irrational...

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