I finally completed the book, “59 Seconds” by Richard Wiseman. It was one of those books which have given me much knowledge about human psychology, and that too in a plain natural language meaning I understood it well.
It was one of the books which I have written most about in my blog while reading and now that the book is completed I am feeling nostalgic and I already have planned to read other books by Dr. Richard because of his simple writing style.
The book basically consists of many short and simple techniques on dealing with people, dealing with our own self, how to beat procrastination, how to do more and stuff like that. Very simple and practical techniques that can be understood and applied by all. I personally am applying several techniques and although it’s too soon to tell I have an intuition that they are working already.
I have chosen Boggle to be my favorite game. Dr. Richard in his books says (and I have been writing about this topic since the day I understood it) that the best way to get our subconscious to work is to keep busy our conscious in some other activities when the going gets tough.
Turns out that the best way to keep our conscious busy while giving the subconscious enough time to think and come up with something is to solve anagram for next 5 to 10 minutes.
Dr. Richard says not to worry too much about if you are solving the puzzle or not, solving the puzzle is just a distraction for the conscious. The goal is just to keep it busy, that’s it. For the last two days, I have been doing it exhaustively and it’s too soon to tell anything but I can say one thing for sure, which is that I am handling the stress quite well.
Persuasion is a huge deal if something important is at stake. We all have tried it sometimes we have succeeded sometimes we have failed. In human psychology it is has been studied and analyzed for decades. Many people have tried to make sense of it in order to pass it to others.
“Getting the foot in the door technique,” says in order to make someone agree to a larger deal we first have to make them agree to much smaller deals. Getting a “yes” response for smaller deals significantly raises the chances of getting a “yes” to a much more significant deal.
When we say it like this it sounds like an important concept and it actually is if applied correctly. What makes me wonder even more is that we all have used this technique from time to time(I know I have, unknowingly though). Dealing with people is easy once we know these subtle rules.
Time to time we all face an unfortunate incident or several unfortunate incidents depending on our situation and we feel extremely terrible about it, so much so that we do not even want to talk about it with anyone else because of the memories they bring.
No one can undo the past, all we can do is ease the pain. By now you must have heard of or experienced that a pain shared is a pain halved and that method has stood correctly in many cases.
Dr. Richard has shared a similar idea with a subtle change in it. He says (and I find it correct for myself) that every unfortunate incident brings something with it meaning it strengthen us in some way or to put it more appropriately it brings some benefits with it. However, it requires extra analysis to find any benefits because they are not obvious. Writing down those benefits or sharing them with others have a profound impact on our life. It has the power to ease our pain to a whole different level and it changes our perspective of looking at our miseries.
Yesterday I talked about the two guys in a room analogy. When I first read about it I was dying to know how to get the shy guy to work (i.e. use my subconscious). In real life too our conscious mind almost always shadows the subconscious and I have been finding out the answers to get to our subconscious for a very long time.
This time a more practical approach have been discovered. Dr. Richard Wiseman in his book shares that if we want to get ideas from the shy guy we have to keep the other guy busy in some other activities. This approach is the opposite of what we actually do.
This approach says that if you have a very difficult challenge at hand and you are stuck somewhere, take a step back and indulge yourself in some other activities, take your mind off of the problem at hand and do something totally different. This will keep your conscious mind busy with the new problem at hand which is actually a disguise to keep the conscious mind busy. While the conscious mind is busy in solving the toy problem, your subconscious would be at work to find the most optimal solution of your first problem which was your actual problem.
The author Richard Wiseman in his book “59 Seconds” shared a very beautiful analogy which I can’t resist sharing with you. There were two guys in a room, both were told to come up with something creative. The first guy, shy but extraordinarily creative. The second guy, less creative but very vocal in nature.
When the boss told them to come up with something new. The second guy persuaded the first since he had all those people skills and managed to pitch his idea to the boss. In the end, the boss instead of having an extremely creative person in his team ended up with a mediocre idea.
The shy guy is our subconscious mind, and the one with all the people’s skill is our conscious mind.
Locus coeruleus is the part of the brain which is responsible for attention, memory and cognition control(meaning the process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought) and emotion. Now that you know what it does and why we need it in our day to day life here’s something which you might find interesting. Richard Wiseman in his book “59 Seconds” suggested to lie down on the floor to get the creative juices flowing. In the TV series “House M.D.”,Dr. House is seen lying down on the floor while thinking and that too in his office. Since he is a sociopath and a moron who doesn’t care what others think of him, lying flat in his office seemed to me his way of thinking and it never occurred to me that he might be doing that for a reason. Lying flat on the floor increases the blood flow in Locus coeruleus and we become more creative.
Richard Wiseman says that group brainstorming is a myth. It’s a bold thing to say since every other company uses it for almost anything, but he has got his statistics and research from the psychologists which say otherwise.
He says (and I found it true for at least myself) that when we are in a group most of us stay in a dormant state. We only speak (most of us) when we no longer could stay silent. So if the motive of the group brainstorming is to collect ideas without criticizing anybody else, we end up accepting ideas from only a few people in the group, people who are outspoken(who may not be as creative as a shy guy in the room who is the most creative of them all).
Dr. Richard suggests that we should not brainstorm with too many people in the room, 3-4 people are enough and by reducing the number to the minimum we can get maximum participation from all the candidates which lead to a greater probability of coming up with creative ideas.
Time to time we all get stuck (honestly, I get stuck and get out of it every single day). I know how frustrating it is to get stuck. Problems are annoying until we have found the solutions. So is there any way to get to the solution faster?
Actually, yes. There is a way.
Remember the subconscious? The part of our brain which we have trouble accessing. It’s unbelievable, it has the key to every solution and we all have it. How awesome it would have been if we all have regular access to its powers.
In “59 Seconds”, the author Richard Wiseman suggests using your subconscious mind to solve any problem, by letting your subconscious work in the background. It can easily be achieved by letting the problem go from the conscious mind and focusing the attention towards something totally different for some time(say 15 minutes). By doing that the subconscious mind comes up with solutions and gives it back to conscious which is easily accessible.
While there was no question that the attack occurred and that some neighbors ignored cries for help, the portrayal of 38 witnesses as fully aware and unresponsive was erroneous. The article grossly exaggerated the number of witnesses and what they had perceived. None saw the attack in its entirety. Only a few had glimpsed parts of it or recognized the cries for help. Many thought they had heard lovers or drunks quarreling. There were two attacks, not three. And afterward, two people did call the police. A 70-year-old woman ventured out and cradled the dying victim in her arms until they arrived. Ms. Genovese died on the way to a hospital.
– The New York Times
One of my relatives shared a story of how nobody on the road helped him when he met with an accident where he was severely injured. Coincidently I was reading about “Murder of Kitty Genovese”, an American woman who was stabbed to death outside her apartment in the New York City, on March 13, 1964. There were 38 witnesses who saw or heard her cry but none of them called 911(the emergency number in the US).
There is a reason why 38 people behaved in that way, there is a reason why nobody helped my relative when he met with an accident. It is not that we all have forgotten humanity. Not at all. Tough it may seem like it and many believe that overall humanity level has been decreasing and I can’t argue with that.
When we are in a group, we think differently, we think it’s not our responsibility, we think someone else would take care of it. On the other hand when we are alone or when we are in a group of a few, the responsibility is divided equally and we end up doing the right thing instead of procrastinating it for the others.
Richard Wiseman suggests that if you collapse on a busy road ask for help directly to any friendly face. By doing that you are much more likely to get a help than by just waiting for someone to help you.