Learning From Your Mistakes is a Big Mistake!
As it turns out, trying to learn from your mistakes isn't such a good idea. Reporting in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, scientists from Vanderbilt University say that focusing on the past appears to put people in worse moods and may even be self-fulfilling. "Be very careful when you ask anybody to dig up the past," says Kelly Haws, an associate professor of marketing and coauthor of the study. She adds that looking forward tends to be far more effective explaining, "You don't buy the $700 boots, because you want to go on that trip to Europe. You study instead of party because you want a good score on the test. It's generally a more effective way to try to make decisions." To study this, the team divided subjects into two groups, asking one to remember their self-control "successes," the other their "failures," reports Futurity. They also asked participants to remember different numbers of stories -- some recalling many, others only a few. Finally, participants were given a budget and asked them how much they'd spend on something they can't afford -- shoes or a video game, say. Turns out that those asked to remember a couple successes stuck to their budgets, while those asked to remember past failures or lots of successes all splurged. So if you want better self-control, keep looking forward. Or as I heard it once well put: "Glance back, but don't stare." (Journal of Consumer Psychology)
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