Why Group Brainstorming Fails Often

​Psychologists usually offer three explanations for the failure of group brainstorming. 

  • The first is social loafing: in a group, some individuals tend to sit back and let others do the work. 
  • The second is production blocking: only one person can talk or produce an idea at once, while the other group members are forced to sit passively. 
  • The third is evaluation apprehension, meaning the fear of looking stupid in front of one’s peers.

Sensitive Chatters

​Back here at Walker Creek Ranch and the gathering for sensitive people, the Extrovert Ideal and its primacy of cool is turned upside down. If “cool” is low reactivity that predisposes a person to boldness or nonchalance, then the crowd that has come to meet Elaine Aron is deeply uncool.

The atmosphere is startling simply because it’s so unusual. It’s something you might find at a yoga class or in a Buddhist monastery, except that here there’s no unifying religion or worldview, only a shared temperament. It’s easy to see this when Aron delivers her speech. She has long observed that when she speaks to groups of highly sensitive people the room is more hushed and respectful than would be usual in a public gathering place, and this is true throughout her presentation. But it carries over all weekend.

I’ve never heard so many “after you’s” and “thank you’s” as I do here. During meals, which are held at long communal tables in a summer-camp style, open-air cafeteria, people plunge hungrily into searching conversations. There’s a lot of one-on-one discussion about intimate topics like childhood experiences and adult love lives, and social issues like health care and climate change; there’s not much in the way of storytelling intended to entertain. People listen carefully to each other and respond thoughtfully; Aron has noted that sensitive people tend to speak softly because that’s how they prefer others to communicate with them.

“In the rest of the world,” observes Michelle, a web designer who leans forward as if bracing herself against an imaginary blast of wind, “you make a statement and people may or may not discuss it. Here you make a statement and someone says, ‘What does that mean?’ And if you ask that question of someone else, they actually answer.”

It’s not that there’s no small talk, observes Strickland, the leader of the gathering. It’s that it comes not at the beginning of conversations but at the end. In most settings, people use small talk as a way of relaxing into a new relationship, and only once they’re comfortable do they connect more seriously. Sensitive people seem to do the reverse. They “enjoy small talk only after they’ve gone deep,” says Strickland. “When sensitive people are in environments that nurture their authenticity, they laugh and chitchat just as much as anyone else.”

Tiring Tasks

​Consider that the simplest social interaction between two people requires performing an astonishing array of tasks: interpreting what the other person is saying; reading body language and facial expressions; smoothly taking turns talking and listening; responding to what the other person said; assessing whether you’re being understood; determining whether you’re well received, and, if not, figuring out how to improve or remove yourself from the situation. Think of what it takes to juggle all this at once! And that’s just a one-on-one conversation. Now imagine the multitasking required in a group setting like a dinner party.

So when introverts assume the observer role, as when they write novels, or contemplate unified field theory—or fall quiet at dinner parties—they’re not demonstrating a failure of will or a lack of energy. They’re simply doing what they’re constitutionally suited for.

The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity

Kok bisa?! Kok bisa ya, dia begini begitu, padahal dia orang (yang seharusnya) intelek. Pernah bergumam seperti itu? Kaget ketika menemukan seseorang yang diperkirakan berintelektualitas tinggi tapi mengeluarkan pernyataan tanpa dasar, aneh dalam artian tidak logis, tidak rasional, atau melakukan sesuatu yang mempermalukan diri atau orang lain, dengan kata lain melakukan’tindakan bodoh’? Cipolla menyatakan dengan tegas dalam Hukum Pertama tentang Kebodohan Manusia: “Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals on circulation.”

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Mental Traps

Pertama tahu tentang buku ini, rasanya kok seperti terbetik “obat gue kali ya?” 😀 Apalagi ‘dijanjikan’ kebahagiaan, hahaha. Kebanyakan orang tahu, terutama yang sering merasa terperangkap dalam labirin pemikirannya sendiri, bahwa kondisi tersebut benar-benar melelahkan lahir batin. Pusing tak ada ujung, tak jelas hasilnya, fisik pun lelah. Namun seringnya kita tak sadar–atau tak mau mengakui–saat sedang terperangkap di dalamnya.

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