2010-06-07

The Art of Choosing

- Two dogs each contained in a room (and cannot escape) are subjected to electric shock. Both suffer. One dog has access to switch that can put off the electric supply. This dog learns to switch off. Everytime, shock is supplied, the dog which has learnt, switches off. The other one suffers. Later, when the same dogs are put in a room where escape is possible are again subjected to electric shock, the one that has learnt to switch off, escapes. The other one does not escape, when escape was obviously possible.

- In a Zoo, Zebras are put in a protected segment quite safe from lions, which are put in another segment. But the zebras can smell the lions. They are not sure where the lions are and when the lions would attack. But they realize they cannot escape. Zebras suffer emotionally thinking they could be attacked any time. That  they are safe and lions cannot attack them is not known to them. (to think of it, this fact is actually irrelevant)

A couple of examples (language mine) from various such examples given in the brilliant book The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar.

How is our life different?

Many of us become like the dog that had choice to escape but refused to exercise its choice, because it felt that it does not have choice and its choice would not reduce its suffering. We may not realize, but, many times, we give up our ability to choose. We silently suffer in our situation.

Many of us are like the Zebras too. We can, within organization / personal context, sense fear many times, but not sure when / whence it would come and if we ever can escape. That our fears are not necessarily based on reality is not particularly relevant.

PS: Will try and capture more learnings from this book

1 comment:

nisha said...

I admire what you have done here. thanks for sharing.. very useful for me i will bookmark this for my future needed. thanks for a great source.
bba

2010-06-07

The Art of Choosing

- Two dogs each contained in a room (and cannot escape) are subjected to electric shock. Both suffer. One dog has access to switch that can put off the electric supply. This dog learns to switch off. Everytime, shock is supplied, the dog which has learnt, switches off. The other one suffers. Later, when the same dogs are put in a room where escape is possible are again subjected to electric shock, the one that has learnt to switch off, escapes. The other one does not escape, when escape was obviously possible.

- In a Zoo, Zebras are put in a protected segment quite safe from lions, which are put in another segment. But the zebras can smell the lions. They are not sure where the lions are and when the lions would attack. But they realize they cannot escape. Zebras suffer emotionally thinking they could be attacked any time. That  they are safe and lions cannot attack them is not known to them. (to think of it, this fact is actually irrelevant)

A couple of examples (language mine) from various such examples given in the brilliant book The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar.

How is our life different?

Many of us become like the dog that had choice to escape but refused to exercise its choice, because it felt that it does not have choice and its choice would not reduce its suffering. We may not realize, but, many times, we give up our ability to choose. We silently suffer in our situation.

Many of us are like the Zebras too. We can, within organization / personal context, sense fear many times, but not sure when / whence it would come and if we ever can escape. That our fears are not necessarily based on reality is not particularly relevant.

PS: Will try and capture more learnings from this book

1 comment:

nisha said...

I admire what you have done here. thanks for sharing.. very useful for me i will bookmark this for my future needed. thanks for a great source.
bba