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Warning: Your Brain vs The OK Plateau
I have a not-so secret confession. I am not a good driver. In my youth, I did some remarkable things with a car including: hitting a gasoline station bollard (but not the gasoline tank!), backing up and up and up and into my parents's house, and—the after-dinner family folklore favorite—turning around a corner too quickly, car flying through the air, landing in a fountain but not taking my foot off the gas, and flying back out of the fountain and...into a large hedge.
None of these accidents resulted in a wrecked car or trauma. They were fender benders. And at my ripe age of 39, I am now a fender bender connoisseur. I drive so slowly that it is impossible for me to do any kind of real damage, yet I still reverse into trees or the headlights/tail lights/bumpers of other cars.
"I'm not a good driver," I mouth into the rearview mirror at the irate parade of other drivers who follow me, their plans thwarted by my 18 miles-per-hour (neighborhood) or 50 miles-per-hour (highway) speeds. "I'm not a good driver," I tell my kids as I triple strap them into car seats that resemble the bulletproof, oxygen-poor, watertight titanium capsules used by Navy Seals to sneak into hostile international waters. "I'm not a good driver," I say as I hand over the keys to my husband, who sighs, rolls up his precious never-to-be-read newspaper and takes over the wheel for 12-hour stretches.
Then, last year, along came Joshua Foer, author of MoonWalking with Einstein, a book that everyone should read if only to understand that, hey, you already are a good driver or typist or figure skater; you simply need to get your brain off the "OK plateau" on which its rests, stymied by its unconscious acceptance of your minor competence. Foer's struggle was with memory. He wanted to remember better in order to compete in a memory competition.
Clearly I could never be a contender in such a competition, as I realized when I stumbled on this revelatory talk of his, about his book that I'd already read. His points made so much sense! And yet, I'd forgotten all of them ! So for all us who need a leg up on basic skills which we want to master, from remembering to driving to knitting, pizza making, and basic knots, here' s a recap courtesy of Behance:
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