Saturday, March 15, 2008

Doing Something vs Nothing

Would you believe that economists study soccer goalkeeper's responses vis-a-vis how such split-second decision making might relate to economic decisions? Well, they do (see NY Times article,

The gist is, most of us perceive, along with goalkeepers and stock market investors, that doing something is better than doing nothing. It turns out that the goalkeeper's ability to stop penalty kicks is actually better when they do nothing, i.e., stand in the middle, than when they do something, i.e., choose a side.

Now you're wondering how I'm going to apply this to something that could possibly be relevant to the usual subjects of my blog.

I'm thinking of how I've been hearing from people that they need to do something, when I'm thinking they may need to do nothing. I know, I know. I'm generally very action, change oriented. But there are situations...

Specifically, I'm thinking stay-at-home moms who decide they ought to be doing something more "meaningful." I'm thinking people in reasonably good relationships who think they ought to be in "better" relationships. I'm thinking people who aren't in relationships who think they ought to be in "a" relationship. Then there are people who think they should move someplace, retirees who think they work at something and adolescents who think they should change something (usually something scary about their physical appearance).

I'm not saying that things don't sometimes, even often, need to change. But clearly we often have difficulty just being and letting things be.

As the researchers suggest, "nothing is sometimes better than something."

Try The Beatles: Let it Be.

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