The Art of Sailing

TED Blog | A monkey economy as irrational as ours: Laurie Santos on

Laurie Santos makes an interesting connection between understanding the perspective of making choices for a gain versus making choices to avoid a loss.  She shows that monkeys make the same “mistake” we make when we choose to avoid loss. Santos points out it is all about how we ask the question to ourselves.

TED Blog | A monkey economy as irrational as ours: Laurie Santos on

In sailing we are continually faced with situations that require us to make a choice involving risk and reward.  Do we tack back towards the center or continue left?  Should we cover the boats behind or try and pass the leaders?  Tack or cross?  But the underlying question is do we work for a gain or worry about loss.  Think about it:  How many times have you been in situations where  decisions you make are based on your belief in avoiding loss or seeking gain.   These type of questions often precede statements with either ‘yes, and…’ or ‘no, but…’

Should we tack and cover (even from behind)?  Yes, and… then we can be ready to pounce on an opportunity when we find a good one.  Now compare to this mind frame.  Should we tack and cover (even when behind)?  No, but… they have been pointing better all day so we have to split.  Not believing you can win leads to avoiding confrontations that will produce a winner and a loser. Not believing in your pointing leads to allowing the wind to decide the race versus your sailing ability.  Conversely, believing that you are just as fast will give you the confidence to be patient and the mindset to see opportunity where others see risk of loss.

So, next time you are in the heat of battle,  slow down enough so you can think clearly and make decisions using a Yes, and... approach.  Belief that you can win is evidenced by which choices you make.

Pamela Meyer, is a DePaul University professor, author and consultant.  I learned the idea of Yes, and… while taking her class Quantum Creativity.    You can order her book here.

Share your thoughts!

Sail Fast, @bryanhayes1


2 thoughts on “TED Blog | A monkey economy as irrational as ours: Laurie Santos on

  1. Ron Buzil says:

    So what does this all mean? That we are really just monkeys going around the buoys?

    This reminds me of an article years ago by Stuart Walker, about avoiding loss by not confronting the chance at victory. (“if I didn’t really try then I didn’t really lose”)

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