The Thursday Thesis 24/1/2019
The Thursday Thesis – 24/1/2019
It’s and eternal truth that – at any time – there are hundreds of things in my life that I haven’t quite got around to finishing. Ranging from the tiny day-to-day items of unfinished business, though an old blog audio to upload, to the unfinished house renovation project which inches forward once in a while...
You may even know someone who has similar issues...
The stress of carrying around – and inventing reasons not to finish – all of that stuff is massive: it may even be easier to get the jobs done, tick ‘em off the list and crack on with the next thing on my ever-lengthening To Do list.
That’s not a joke or hyperbole either - there’s a deep truth hidden in the joke: The Zeigarnik Effect.
Back in the 1920s, a Russian psychologist named Bluma Zeigarnik ran a study on memory and how we are affected by our uncompleted tasks. Whilst at dinner she’d watched a restaurant waiter handle big, complex orders from her table. No problem – the waiter got everything right and the group enjoyed the meal, leaving later in good spirits. Zeigarnik realised she’d left something in the restaurant and returned to collect it, only to find that the waiter didn’t recognise her and could remember nothing about her or her companions.
The results of the study were conclusive: once a task has been completed we will have less ability to remember the details of that task than an uncompleted task. It’s as though our brains tick their metaphorical box as “Job Done” and dispose of the memories it had needed to get the job done.
How useful would it be to use that phenomenon to forget what didn’t serve us?
This week I’m going to be experimenting with a couple of old issues – the unfinished business that I can do nothing about and have no need to hang on to.
I’ll be reminding myself that those things were over a long time ago and they are dead and buried, that they have been shredded, destroyed and forgotten. I’m calibrating the big issue (an ex-friend who borrowed money and stiffed me for the payments) at 7 out of 10 for grumpiness when I think about it, and I’ll re-calibrate at the end of the week, just to see if running that reminder speech over and over makes things better.
How about you – any issues you’d like to try that with?
Let me know how you get on with it and if it helps: you never can tell if a daft idea can work wonders.
© Neil Cowmeadow 2019
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