Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Finding Closure

Why You Feel Guilty Leaving Books or Games Unfinished
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 Can you figure out what the photo above is about?  Look at it for as long as it takes, and eventually you’ll come to a conclusion of some sort.  You may be wrong, but you’ll be satisfied for the time being.  Your mind seeks closure—an end, a definition, a solution—and will create it if none is obvious.  It’s the inability to reach closure that can lead, in some people, to feelings of guilt that can become so overwhelming that anxiety and depression aren’t far behind. 

According to the study cited in the article above, this isn’t a universal problem.  “Type A” personalities, it seems, are less likely to finish a book or some other project and also less likely to feel guilty about it.  They get their kicks just starting things and getting whatever they can from the effort as quickly as possible.  I can attest to that, as I am a prime example.  My stack of unread books stares mutely at me without evoking any inkling of guilt or remorse.  I feel annoyance that I have to keep moving the stack to clean around it, but no remorse. 

Type B’s, according to the report, are less likely to even start a project they know they can't (or won't) finish.  They feel guilty if they stop mid-stream, so they try not to be in that position.   I’ve got a little of that in my psyche too, but not nearly as much.  I’m a born quitter. 

Okay, that’s not true.  It’s not that Type A’s quit so much as that they think they see the endpoint somewhere around the middle, and don’t bother wasting time getting there via the circuitous route that includes actual completion.  The study doesn’t specify, but I’m going to posit without any research to support my supposition that people who tend to do that also tend to be quicker to make decisions and lean heavily on instinct.  We’re the folks Click! describes so well.  We don’t need to see all the pieces to believe we’ve solved the puzzle.

Does that translate into bad business with our horses?  It certainly can.  If there’s anything in the world that cries out for an organized, step-by-step-to-mastery approach, it’s horse training.  While I’m jumping to conclusions and pretending that we’re already at X, Zip is hovering somewhere around C wondering where in the hell I went and why he isn’t there with me.  

Above is the same scene as the first photo, but on the second try I was more careful not to let the camera self-focus on the window screen.  See how different it looks?  See how you can tell what's in the picture?  See how your horse is standing behind you nodding in agreement?  Once again, we're zooming, but we're also avoiding jumping to closure.  Are you tired yet?  This horse life is no place for pussies!

I intend to aim for more B and less A in my approach to life in the future.  Not starting something I can't finish is anathema to me, so it's not going to be an easy swap.  I've already made some changes in the right direction in checking in with my horse before I decide to launch a workout.  Next step is to try better to analyze which parts of the workout are valuable, which I can actually accomplish, and which are going to die on the vine because I'll jump to the end of the book while I'm only halfway through the table of contents.  

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