Action over thinking leads to more data

The Sparkle Experiment small creative play equals connction

Should you spend some time making art for fun? Hmm. Let’s have a think…

But you won’t get to an accurate conclusion of how you think your future self will feel making art, especially if you’ve not been getting creative with your hands. All you’ve got is your imagination to work with. Daniel Gilbert in his book Stumbling on Happiness suggests surrogation is the most accurate method to work out how we’ll feel in an unknown situation. We do our best by ‘prefeeling’ a situation, but with no actual experience or data, it’s purely our imagination in control.

If a friend tells us they felt amazing drawing more regularly and has experienced many long-lasting benefits – even if they are similar to us in terms of tastes and lifestyle – we doubt it will work for us because we are unique and all individuals. With surrogation, the friend’s experience IS the most accurate gauge of how we’d find it too. Aside from trying it ourselves.

“Our mythical belief in the variability and uniqueness of individuals is the main reason why we refuse to use others as surrogates. After all, surrogation is only useful when we can count on a surrogate to react to an event roughly as we would, and if we believe that people’s emotional reactions are more varied that they actually are, then surrogation will seem less useful to us that it actually is. The irony, of course, is that surrogation is a cheap and effective way to predict one’s future emotions, but because we don’t realize just how similar we all are, we reject this reliable method and rely instead on our imaginations, as flawed and fallible as they may be.” – Daniel Gilbert[emphasis added]

So if you’re undecided about starting a personal project, take action. Start making something and THEN have a think. It’s only once you’ve actually experienced it can you collect data.

Leap into the art-making process: set a 2 minute timer and have a go. See how you feel once you’ve tried it every day for a week. Then 2 weeks, 3… and suddenly you’re on a roll if you’re enjoying yourself. You’ll most likely feel different doing it day one compared to day 7. But you can’t think your way into knowing how you’ll feel day 7. It’s all data-collection.