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The Pratfall Effect

Your likability will increase if you aren’t perfect.

Those who never make mistakes are perceived as less likable than those who commit the occasional faux pas. Messing up draws people closer to you, makes you more human. Perfection creates distance and an unattractive air of invincibility. 

@zweiss

MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE

Greater expectations drive greater performance.

The crux of this psychological phenomenon is the concept of a self-fulfilling prophecy: If you believe something is true of yourself, eventually it will be.

The more choices we have, the less likely we are to be content with our decision.

Even if our ultimate decision is clearly correct, when faced with many choices, we are less likely to be happy with what we choose. Because a wealth of choices makes finding contentment that much harder.

The more people who see someone in need, the less likely that person is to receive help.

Researchers call it a “confusion of responsibility,” where individuals feel less responsibility for the outcome of an event when others are around. In fact, the probability of help is inversely related to the number of people present. 

Your mistakes are not noticed as much as you think.

People aren’t paying attention at our moments of failure nearly as much as we think. The perception of our being under constant scrutiny is merely in our minds.

People place too much importance on one aspect of an event and fail to recognize other factors.

To combat this effect, it is important to remember to keep perspective, look at problems from many angles, and weigh several factors before making a decision. 

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RELATED IDEAS

This is when we mistakenly think that eventually, our luck has to change for the better.

Somehow, we find it impossible to accept bad results and give up—we often insist on keeping at it until we get positive results, regardless of what the odds of that happening actually are.

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IDEAS

Instead of thinking of a cut-and-dry end goal to certain situations, creative people sit back and examine the problem in different ways before beginning to work.

If you find yourself stagnating by focusing on generic problems, try to re-conceptualize the problem by focusing on a more meaningful angle.

For example: Instead of thinking “What would be something cool to paint?” rather ask, “What sort of painting evokes the feeling of loneliness that we all encounter after a break-up?”

Electronic communication is efficient, but it's detached. Sitting at a computer screen, the need for tact and a respectful tone disappears.

  • Being on the receiving end of such impoliteness can create lingering stress and negative emotions. The recipient may find it harder to stay engaged at work. The stress associated with e-mail rudeness can spill over into family life and, like a chain reaction, can send stress signals to other people.
  • A subtler form of aggression is failing to reply to a request, in effect giving others the "silent treatment." Not responding to an email leaves people hanging and struggling with uncertainty.