Saturday, September 16, 2006

Hacking Your Mental Goal System

"Accomplishing" a "goal" feels good no matter how absurd or arbitrary the goal. This is a strange mental illusion. Try this experiment:

Say to yourself -- either out loud or mentally -- in your best this-is-really-important voice, "TO DO: avoid being attacked by a ninja for the next 1 minute!" Make a mental picture of putting that on a to-do list.

Then wait about 1 minute.

Then say to yourself, "I did it! Great job!" and make a mental picture of crossing that goal off the to-do list.

Even though you know this is ridiculous and only a trick, you will still feel (to some degree) a pleasant sense of accomplishment. It is kind of like seeing an optical illusion or mirage even though you know what it really is.

Then try the opposite. Say to yourself in the same serious voice, "TO DO: find a real unicorn in the next one minute!" Make a mental picture of adding it to the to-do list. Wait one minute. Then say to yourself in a sad way, "Oh, no . . . I failed . . . I wasn't able to accomplish that."
Make a mental picture of the goal still being on the list, unresolved.

Even though you know this is also ridiculous and only a trick, you will still feel a vague sense of disappointment.

Somehow, the part of our minds that feels good about accomplishing a goal or bad about failing is not very well connected to the part that understands whether the goal makes any sense.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Kumoricon 2006, Sunday - Cowboy Bebop Cosplay

These cosplayers at Kumoricon had good Cowboy Bebop costumes, and they also had a great sense of how to strike the right poses and act the part of the characters.

Look for my full article about Kumoricon at JLHLS later this week.