Sharing something I learned today, written by Belle Beth Cooper:
In Rolf Dobelli’s book, The Art of Thinking Clearly, he explains how our ideas about talent and extensive training are well off-track: Professional swimmers don’t have perfect bodies because they train extensively. Rather, they are good swimmers because of their physiques. How their bodies are designed is a factor for selection and not the result of their activities.
The “swimmer’s body illusion” occurs when we confuse selection factors with results. Another good example is top-performing universities: Are they actually the best schools, or do they choose the best students, who do well regardless of the school’s influence? Our mind often plays tricks on us, and that is one of the key ones to be aware of.
What really jumped out at me when researching this section was this particular line from Dobelli’s book:
Without this illusion, half of advertising campaigns would not work.
It makes perfect sense, when you think about it. If we believed that we were predisposed to be good at certain things (or not), we wouldn’t buy into ad campaigns that promised to improve our skills in areas where it’s unlikely we’ll ever excel.
This is similar to the skill of learning to say no, or how our creativity actually works: Both diverge strongly from what we think is true, versus what actions will actually help us get the result we want.
About the writer: