Changing beliefs

by unshodashish on August 1, 2012


I just finished reading Dan Ariely’s wonderful The Honest Truth About Dishonesty. Another great read – another book I wish I had written. I’m developing a serious man crush on that guy.

Anyway, Dan (I’ve decided we’re on a first name basis since he took the last spot in a grad program for which I was waitlisted – back in ’92) describes a series of behavioral experiments he ran, and concludes

we may not know exactly why we do what we do, choose what we choose, or feel what we feel. But the obscurity of our real motivations doesn’t stop us from creating perfectly logical-sounding reasons for our actions, decisions, and feelings.

This really struck a chord, as I’ve completely failed in my attempt to use logic and reason to convince my many injured running friends to try going bare. (And that a certain famous American bicyclist doped.) It never works – just royally pisses them off.

I’m no longer sure I should be trying to “change” anyone’s mind – trying to “save” them. Perhaps all I can do is set an example, and those who have reached a certain point of inspiration (or desperation) may decide to follow that example. We’re more Troi than Data, all of us.

Dan suggests (in an email – yes, I have a message from Dan Ariely!) that behavior change may result from “endorsement from authority.” Authority, I assume, means anyone whose example you want to follow. Yes, some day, Lindsay Lohan or Justin Bieber might do more for the cause of healthy bare feet than my book, Jason’s, and Ken Bob’s combined. Cross your fingers!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Adolfo Neto August 1, 2012 at 10:47 am


I am a great fan of Dan Ariely. I have read two of his books. This post encouraged me to read the newest one.

There is a Buddhist proverb:

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”

So, your book (which I haven’t read yet) will be useful to the readers that find it.

I liked a thing that Steven Sashen said in a Run Barefoot Girl podcast. Once you buy a shoe, your brain tries to defend your option. You invested a lot of money and time on that shoe. Any argument against that shoe is doomed.


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