How Dan Ariely Works

Dan Ariely

Some great nuggets from Dan Ariely, behavioral psychologist/economist, as part of Lifehacker’s How I Work Series. One of my favorite excerpts from the interview concerns pushing yourself in new directions:

When I was a Ph.D. student and I was considering where I wanted to take a position as an assistant professor, Ziv Carmon, who was one of my advisors, suggested that I should pick the university that would make me the most different person from who I was at the time. He explained that it was not that he did not appreciate who I was, but that I should think about my next step as an opportunity to learn and develop further. Since then I have taken this advice many times, and I often think about my next steps, not in terms of what would be the simplest to do next, but what would teach me the most and what would make me a better person.

It’s very hard to seek out new things, uncomfortable situations. But, those sort of situations tend to be ideal environments for growth and learning. Indeed, researchers like Daniela Fenker and Hartmut Sch├╝tze have shown than novel stimuli promote learning and retention. A great lesson.