Monday, April 06, 2009

Chokers and Mind Tricks

Robin Hanson takes an interesting look at the human tendency to choke when do important mental tasks.

I particularly enjoyed the last bit...
I first overcame my fear of public speaking by thinking the audience was beneath me, and my fear of asking women out by thinking they were not as far above me as I had previously thought.
The more I have been reading about the way our minds work the more I realize how much power we have to do things like this. Make up a story that allows us to have a particular emotional response, then repeat it to yourself enough till you believe it.

It sounds like you are trying to deceive yourself, but if so many of our memories are made up anyway, it seems like our minds do this by themselves automatically. So why not? Some people are good at this. Some aren't.

I am the kind of person who has always wanted to be hypnotized, but I am so very conscious of not pretending that no matter how much of an exhibitionist I am... I have never been able to participate in those shows because at some stage I would have to admit that I was awake and rejoin the audience. Then, I would have to sit and watch as those participating got to rescue pretty girls in the audience who were 'in distress'.

There are probably far more things about ourselves... even the most basic fundamental characteristics that if we really wanted to change, we could.

But... it needs mind tricks.
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