The Zeigarnik Effect

A: So, this week I’ve mostly been reading about the Zeigarnik effect.

B: And….

A: Oh I’ll tell you about it later. How’s your week been?

B: Bad week. Wales getting hammered by England.

A: Oh! Rugby.

B: Of course. Living in England it’s a little unsettling this time of the year.

A: Why would that be then?

B: It’s the same old debate on an endless loop. I say “I hope England lose”..

A: When they’re playing….

B: Oh anyone.. Scotland, Ireland, France, Italy, China, Inner and Outer Mongolia, The Faroe Islands, anyone in fact.

A: And the stereotypical English person you’re talking to says…

B: “I don’t understand that. If Wales were playing France, Albania, Turkey, Swaziland, etc.. I’d support Wales.”

A: And your witty retort was ….

B: “I really don’t care. In fact I’d prefer it if you didn’t.”

A: And they reply with “I don’t understand. Let’s go through it again…”

B: They just don’t get it do they.

A: Huh. English….

B: Individually OK, but collectively …

A: In the words of the female bard Cerys “Every morning I wake up and thank the Lord I’m Welsh”.

B: Xenophobic ?

A: I’d rather say ‘proud’.

B: But anyway. I’ve been doing a fair amount of research actually and I’ve discovered what a tricky job change management is?

A: Really?

B: Well they did a survey of 1000 patients who had heart operations after leading a ‘poor’ lifestyle.

A: Poor?

B: In terms of their health. Poor diet, smoking, drinking too much.

A: And?

B: Well they told these people that unless they changed their lifestyle they would be having further operations with the distinct possibility of an early death.

A: So?

B: So they had to change their lifestyle. But guess how many actually did change?

A: Tell me.

B: Just over 100.

A: 10% ?

B: Exactly .. …

…A: And?

B: And what does this tell you about change?

A: Well it tells me that you don’t want to be nagging people who’ve been through an extremely stressful time to stop smoking.

B: Uh?

A: For some of them it’s the thought of having another fag that’ll get them through all the bad times. Or, what sort of life is it if you can’t have a drink, watch some TV and eat some red meat.

B: Not exactly the response I was looking for.

A: Oh I see. Sorry. I of course mean – Change is difficult and we need more consultants to help people through it.

B: Right.

A: Right. We need more consultants don’t we? Do you know there are now more consultants in America than police officers, doctors, nurses and fire officers combined?

B: Is that true?

A: I have no idea. But it sounds like something that may be true. So, anyway what’s your angle on this heart operation thing then?

B: I think it’s to do with fearing death rather than embracing life.

A: Oh. Tell me more you old hippy.

B: Well of the patients that have been counselled with a positive attitude they are more optimistic………

A: And you worked this all out yourself?

B: Hardly. Just quoting from the article by Alan Deutschman

A: That’s called plagiarism in some countries.

B: Influenced by in others.

A: Have you no shame?

B: ‘fraid not.

A: So anyway that article on the Zeigarnik effect?

B: Oh yes. What’s that about?

A: I’ll tell you next time………………….


Published by: byron kalies

Writer, golfer and golf writer, I have developed and moved on (not permanently in case there are any publishers reading this) from the relatively straightforward world of management consultancy with motivation, leadership, change matrices, decision making, communication, customer care, bottom lines, double-loop learning, stress, attribution theory, behavioural interviewing, project management, group think and Johnson and Scholes’ Cultural Web, to the complex and unfathomable world of describing places where people can hit a ball into a hole. I have written for a number of golf magazines and newspapers including 'Golf International' , 'wales on Sunday' and am currently golf correspondent for Cambria Magazine (Wales's Magazine) and blogger for Wales Online.

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