Saturday, January 18, 2014

"When the weather's nice, be sure to check your change."

Even depression has its advantages. Recent research suggests that despondency helps us think better - and contributes to increased attentiveness and enhanced problem-solving ability. In an ingenious experiment, Joe Forgas, professor of psychology at the University of New South Wales, placed a variety of trinkets, such as toy soldiers, plastic animals, and miniature cars, near the checkout counter of a small stationery store in Sydney. As shoppers made their way out, Forgas tested their memory, asking them to list as many of the items as possible. But there was a catch. On some days the weather was rainy, and Forgas piped Verdi's Requiem through the store; on other days it was sunny, and shoppers were treated to a blast of Gilbert and Sullivan.
The results couldn't have been clearer: shoppers in the "low mood" condition remembered nearly four times as many of the knickknacks. The rain made them sad, and their sadness made them pay more attention. Moral of the story? When the weather's nice, be sure to check your change.
- From The Wisdom of Psychopaths by Kevin Dutton

A few years ago, here on the blog, I introduced a Japanese proverb - "In victory, tighten your helmet". As I am often forced to remember, the most common time for me to injure myself is when training is going great. Success often does indeed lead to even greater success, but if it is not tempered it can be disastrous. For me, the best training plans are developed when I am at my lowest...


Chris hutson said...

A man who was famous as a tree climber was guiding someone in climbing a tall tree. He ordered the man to cut the top branches, and during this time, when the man seemed to be in great danger, the expert said nothing. Only when the man was coming down and had reached the height of the eaves did the expert call out, “Be careful! Watch your step coming down!”

I asked him, “Why did you say that? At that height he could jump the rest of the way down if he chose.”

“That's the point,” said the expert. “As long as the man was up at a dizzy height and the branches were threatening to break, he himself was so afraid I said nothing. Mistakes are always made when people get to the easy places.”

-Kenko, Tsurezuregusa, #109
trans. Donald Keene

Boris said...

That's a great one!