Why Do People Get Stuck? May 8, 2018 1:06 PM   Subscribe

A few months ago, I read something - I thought via MeFi or AskMe - that addressed why people get 'stuck' in times of difficulty and become unable to 'think outside of the box' with any clarity. I really regret not saving the link - please help me find this article (blog post?) or something similar.

IIRC, the gist of the article was that when things are not going well, we develop tunnel-vision about the issue and become unable to contemplate creative solutions. Instead of being open to new ideas, we become more determined to cling to things (ideas, concepts, items) that are familiar and comfortable, even if letting go of those things would objectively reduce stress and help to improve parts of our lives where we are really struggling.

I believe there was some discussion about how to get yourself out of the tunnel-vision, and possibly some info about helping others to do the same for themselves - but I could be wrong.

I realize this is a bit vague, which is why my attempts to search for this here and elsewhere have failed, but... anyone else remember this?
posted by VioletU to MetaFilter-Related at 1:06 PM (11 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

This is a BIG stretch, but could it possibly have been something related to John Boyd and the OODA Loop? It comes up around here periodically, although the most recent FPP seems to have been in 2015.
posted by saladin at 5:16 PM on May 8, 2018

This reminds me of Pema Chodron's book on the Tibetan Buddhist concept of getting 'hooked'/shenpa, which I found here, from scody.
posted by mdonley at 3:17 AM on May 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

Was it a podcast?
When you're hungry, it can be hard to think of anything other than food. When you're desperately poor, you may constantly worry about making ends meet. When you're lonely, you might obsess about making friends. This week, we bring you a March 2017 episode about the psychological phenomenon of scarcity. Researchers say this form of tunnel vision can affect our ability to see the big picture and cope with problems in our lives.

Tunnel Vision from Hidden Brain podcast. https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/hidden-brain/id1028908750?mt=2&i=1000408039277
posted by taff at 3:20 AM on May 9, 2018 [5 favorites]

taff, I never, ever, ever listen to podcasts - but I read through the transcript of that episode (here) and there were parts of it that were exactly what I remembered reading, and large chunks that were new. I'm wondering if I read something that someone based off of this! Thank you so much!!
posted by VioletU at 6:05 PM on May 9, 2018 [5 favorites]

I was about to say I know not but wish you the best because I know the feeling.

I am so happy your question was answered.

All the best, live long and prosper, always always always...

...ad infinitum, da capo.

posted by y2karl at 5:40 AM on May 10, 2018

This is the most fascinating thing I've read in a long time. Thanks VioletU for posting the question and taff for the answer!
posted by Ziggy500 at 6:57 AM on May 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

This all reminds me of the book Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much by Sendhil Mullainathan, and Eldar Shafir.
posted by peacheater at 5:10 PM on May 10, 2018 [4 favorites]

peacheater, they're the people interviewed in the podcast.
posted by Ziggy500 at 2:02 AM on May 11, 2018

peacheater, they're the people interviewed in the podcast.

Ha, touché!
posted by peacheater at 6:09 AM on May 11, 2018

peacheater, the funny thing is that I checked my GoodReads history and found that book in my 'read' list from 2016 - and apparently I rated it 4/5 stars... so, the pieces are definitely falling into place here!
posted by VioletU at 6:50 AM on May 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Wow! This is incredibly helpful to me just now, thank you all so much for the posts and the links.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 8:45 AM on May 13, 2018

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