Outstanding tasks gnaw at us until we complete them or get rid of them. But there’s another way to relieve the stress of unfinished without finishing it.
What is not started today is never finished tomorrow.~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The most interesting and exciting thing about behavioural economics and psychology is that it’s not very difficult to experimentally test the validity of theories. You don’t need expensive lab instruments. The world is your lab and its inhabitants i.e., people, including yourself, are your test subjects (read guinea pigs).
So here is a simple experiment that you can try on your next visit to any restaurant. It’s not uncommon to find waiters who don’t really write down your order. They seem to have this wonderful ability to recall the order for each table. Even if there are half a dozen orders with every order consisting of many different dishes (including special request like – I want less sugar, don’t add mushrooms in my Pizza etc.) these waiters rarely goof up. Well that’s their part of the job and with years of practice they have exercised their mental muscles so much that they develop a super-sharp memory. But do they really have a great memory?
Try this – After you are done with your meals and have paid the bills (and a good tip), wait for ten minutes after you have left your table and then go back to the waiter who was waiting on you. Ask him to repeat your order. You’d expect him to rattle off your order without any difficulty. But don’t be surprised if he gives you the look – “I am sorry, who are you?” It would seem, not just your order but your whole existence has evaporated from waiter’s memory. What happened to his super memory?
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