Monday, June 8, 2009

How to Think Like a Fool #31: Compete with Yourself

PLAY: Compete with Yourself
Continuing on with the concept of fools playing games, here they take on their most formidable opponent—their own selves. It's the only fair competition, because they are evenly matched, and even when they lose, they win.

Some people play even chess with themselves.

Similar to being in front of an audience, competition can give you an adrenaline boost or cause anxiety or both. Ideally, competition encourages you to perform at your best and push yourself beyond your self-imposed limits.

Psychologists theorize that we don't have one self, but many selves that come into play depending on the circumstances. If this is the case, we have a whole team of players available to us, pitting the better ones against the worst ones.

If crowds have wisdom, then why not draw upon the wisdom of the crowd inside your head? Your own diversity of opinions leads to personal group genius.

Here are some ways to use the idea of use self-competition (some that would also fit under the FoolThink categories of Imagine and Pretend):

  1. Set a numerical goal. Come up with 25 different ideas, for example.
  2. Set a timer and see how many solutions you can come up with in 15 minutes.
  3. Set a stop watch and see how quickly you can come up with a solution.
  4. Try to beat your past selves by bettering your best times.
  5. Provide conflict by interfering with your efforts. Make things more difficult!
  6. Imagine that any second someone could come into the room and foil your activity. Be absolutely quiet so they don't hear you.
  7. Take turns with different aspects of your personality. Have your angry side work on a problem, then your calm and relaxed side.
  8. Try to make each attempt to solve a problem qualitatively better than the one before it.
  9. Picture someone else working on the same problem. Don't let them win.
  10. Decide on a reward if you solve the problem within set limits. Or implement a foolish punishment if you don't—hop on one foot for twenty minutes.

Have fun playing with yourself!

Think: What am I competing for? How will I compete with myself? Which parts of me will I tap into?

Tomorrow: How to Think Like a Fool #32: Use More Effort than Necessary

Previous "How to Think Like a Fool" Posts

1 comment:

Char Paul said...

so clever!

luv it and am sharing your insights with students who visit my sitepsi