Sunday, July 22, 2018

Park Thoughts

During long walks in First Landing State Park, I enjoy listening to the podcasts of Freakonomics by Stephen Dubner.  He uses economic reasoning to focus on mundane subjects and always interviews experts on the subject.  Today, it was the question of "choking" or failing to perform when under pressure.

It was not surprising that intelligent people are more likely to "choke" than less intelligent people.  It was only a little surprising that women are more likely to "choke" in a room full of men than men are to "choke" in a room full of women.  The more interesting part was that "choking" is less likely in physical events than cognitive events.  The body handles pressure better than the mind.  For example, one of the worse things a kid's soccer coach can yell in a big game is "concentrate," which is helpful only in practice games.

One method to avoid "choking" is the standard - practice, practice, practice.  Another was to think about your "pinkie toe" - seriously - it is akin to maintaining a swing-thought when you play golf.  And, of course, if public speaking unnerves you, imagine your audience is sitting there naked.  Think about anything other than . . . "will I choke?"

A long walk in a beautiful place should be good for both your body and your mind . . . and it is!