Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Predictably Irrational- What You See Is What You Get

What are you feeding your mind? I’m currently reading Predictably Irrational; the book is a collection of studies on what triggers humans to act irrationally. Ie. why economics doesn’t work perfectly. In one of the experiments, social psychologist ask participants to unscramble a list of words.

To group 1 he gives words such as anger, aggressiveness, hate, pride; dominant words, and to group 2 love, patience, truth, willingness. The only task is to unscramble them. The participants then leave the room and walk toward a researcher helping someone else (who in fact works for the experiment as well). How long does it take the individual before they interrupt the researcher? On average about 9 minutes for group 2 and 6 minutes for group 1. Ie. the words they read affected how they acted. Puts a new twist on what goes in must come out. This study has been reproduced several dozen times.

So what do you read?
Earlier this year I started a media fast off of a recommendation from several blogs and have stuck with it. I still hear about the big events, but am rather oblivious to the little things. So I miss out on a lot of stories about death, crime, anger, etc. Just read those words, how do they make you feel at your core? Instead I replaced that time reading about self improvement, happiness, faith, etc. According to the study above, by just looking at positive words I will start to see positive effects in my life. This year has been a great one (post to come!) and hopefully it will be even better the next.

So why not try it for one week or so. Surround yourself with words of encouragement. And for those hoping to get started right in the New Year here is a great little mantra:

I am from the future. I am here to tell you that, today, you have the opportunity to change everything. Your whole live hinges on today’s actions. If you do not act today, if you do not grab control of your fate today, your life will take a completely different trajectory. One path leads to greatness, and the other path leads to a life where you will look back on today as the day where you could have spoken up, today is the day where you could have reached out. You will look back realizing that today was the one chance you had to change everything. Do not let this moment pass you by.

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