When I was young, one of those games that I could never beat was Tetris. It never made any sense to me. Moving and collecting these boxes was annoying, and I never got anywhere.
Well, it turns out that Tetris represents something bigger than we expected in how we train ourselves. In a recent Harvard lecture on positive psychology, professor Eric Achor seemed to see an effect in one’s behaviors.
We discovered if you play Tetris for too long you start parsing the world into “How do I make straight lines.” It’s great if you’re playing Tetris, but maladaptive if you’re not. This is called The Tetris Effect.It’s the same thing if I take a flash photograph of you. That flash should leave a blue or orange dot in your vision.
The same thing happens to us on the cognitive level. I’m working with a very large accounting firm right now, working with tax auditors on how to make them happier. I discovered the tax auditors who are the most successful sometimes are the ones that for eight to 14 hours a day were looking at tax forms, looking for mistakes and errors.
This makes them very good at their job, but when they started leading their teams or they went home to their spouse at night, they would be seeing all the lists of mistakes and errors that were around them. Two of them told me they came home with list of the errors and mistakes that their wife was making. This is what makes me so good at work.
They were stuck in a negative Tetris Effect. We’re finding the same thing with lawyers. Lawyers have three times the level of depression of most of the other occupational groups in America. We discovered that many of the lawyers were coming home and started deposing their children or thinking about their quality time with their loved ones in terms of quantified billable hours.
If these observations are true, then one’s behaviorial tendencies are often affected by pattern of behavior.
This means that if we think in a way that is more curious, we will develop psychological tendencies that will emphasize curiosity more.
So, if you’re curiosity is failing at the moment, and you feel bored with the world. Start pretending to be curious. Eventually, it’ll all come about.