Saturday, 15 January 2011
It Only Takes A Minute
I've been reading a fascinating book called ‘59 Seconds’. In a nutshell it packages itself as a personal development book with a difference. It bases its wisdom and insights on scientifically-underpinned results. These are simple ideas that can be learned within a minute (hence the name). Social psychologists are always doing tests on something and this book aims to synthesize the outcomes of all kinds of experiments on human lab rats. And interesting stuff it is too.
I’ve read a lot of development books in my time and I've often wondered how much of the advice is the genuine article or simply old wives tales, half truths or simply regurgitated stuff that people kind of believe is true without even testing the water. Yes, you can still question causation and coincidence with some of the experiments outlined in this book but it did get me thinking.
One of the tests revolved around how children behaved when they are given the option of getting instant reward in the form of a chocolate or accepting a better reward in the form of two chocolates. The theory is that some want gratification now rather than to wait for something that will turn out to be better. A bird in the hand types to some degree. The research behind the tests suggests that those that show more patience have tended to be more successful over their lives. Naturally, it got me thinking about how I've lived my life. Too often I've had a need to get results in the now, which has provided my ‘sugar rush’ but hasn’t had a lasting impact. Playing the long game has not always been a strong suit. But the boffins have a view on balancing up the instant fix with the benefits of playing the long game. I’m definitely being more conscious about thinking and shaping ahead. It's not too late to plan for tomorrow.