The host of CNN’s Parts Unknown (starting again on Sunday) wants to make a great show—and challenge some cultural assumptions.
The point is to resist the predictable, especially when it comes to TV’s ingrained conventions. “The only thing that makes me upset and, really, a dick is if something is fucking plodding and reasonable,” he says, spitting out that last word with palpable revulsion. “It starts with an establishing shot, I go someplace, I meet somebody, I sit down, I eat, and I come to a conclusion: That kind of conventional thinking really upsets me. I would much rather see some incomprehensible, over-the-top, fucked-up thing, because at least you’re trying to do something awesome.”
“Email is relentless. There’s no break. You’re on this treadmill. You’re trying to stay on top of your email, which really means staying on top of the tasks that you’re being asked to do on email, but then you keep getting more and more email which represents more and more tasks.”
If you’re putting something off over and over, there’s probably a good reason for that.
Over the years, I have become quite a student of anti-procrastination techniques. There’s the work-on-something else method (I’m writing this article because I don’t feel like editing a different project). There’s bribery (I can read a magazine afterwards!) Then there’s my favorite method: starting in the middle. I write an easy paragraph, then write a little bit above, and a little bit below, and so on, until, miraculously, I have a draft.
Sometimes these work. But sometimes, there’s a deeper message in procrastination. If you pay attention, these lessons can not only advance your career, they can help you finish the task that’s stymying you right now.
A key insight is that most of us don’t procrastinate everything. Much of the stuff we grumble about we get to eventually. So if you find yourself resisting something again and again, step back from your usual crutches (email, web surfing) and spend some time asking why.
Riveted, a book from cognitive science professor Jim Davies, presents a unified theory of compellingness.
What makes for compelling art? Any creator who has given half a thought to paying the rent, or achieving immortality, has considered what makes art sell. We know that the notion of quality—the idea that “the best” art and marketing and media reaches the most people—is insufficient to explain what gives some creations mass appeal. So why do people—large number of people—find books, ads, movies and art works compelling? How can we know, ahead of time, what will pique our curiosity and sustain our interest?Jim Davies, an associate professor at Carleton University’s Institute of Cognitive Science and director of the Science of Imagination Laboratory wanted to find out. The result is a theory of compellingness, outlined in his book Riveted: The Science of Why Jokes Make Us Laugh, Movies Make Us Cry, and Religion Makes Us Feel One with the Universe.
Introverts recharge by spending time alone. They lose energy from interacting with other people for long periods of time, particularly in stimulating, crowded environments.
Extroverts, conversely, lose energy from spending time alone. They recharge by interacting with other people in highly social environments.
This personality dimension has nothing to do with shyness. According to author Susan Cain, presiding commander in chief of the introverts, shyness is a fear of negative judgment, while introversion is a preference for quiet, minimally stimulating environments. In other words, a lack of interest in socializing (introversion) is clearly different than fearing it (shyness).