david hieatt

Embrace the counterintuitive

Oct 88


Have you noticed that doing the opposite to what you think often has surprising results.

To get better results at work, our instinct is to put in more hours.

When things stop going so well in our business, our intinct is to work even longer and harder.

When a footballer stops scoring, his instinct is to train harder, do more practice.

And yet, doing the opposite may give you better results.

It's counterintuitive, so it's not something many people try a lot. So there's not much proof.

But here's one example to think about:

 An experiment in the 1940’s measured men loading pig iron onto a train freight cars at The Bethlehem Steel Company. Each man didn’t stop until they managed 12 1/2 tons. By noon, they were exhausted and could do no more.

The next day, they were told to load the pig iron for 26 minutes. Then rest for 34 minutes. They rested more than they worked.  At the end of the day, they had loaded 47 tons. That’s almost 4 times as much as working flat out.

It feels counterintuitive, but if you want to do more, if you want to achieve more, if you want to get better results, go for a run as often as you can, take naps, stop trying so damn hard.





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