By Helena Smith
What to do when there seems there is a list as long as your arm things to do and about a month to do it all? Go on holiday, of course.
I should probably mention that it is a holiday which had been planned 6 months before, not a spontaneous jaunt…this time. In full acknowledgment of my regained status of ‘poor student’ I have hitched onto my final family holiday.
Whilst at the time it took me about 0.2 seconds to shout yes before the question of “would you like to come” had even been fully spoken by my parents, I can’t deny that a few days before, amid juggling my arm length list of things to do before the big move, the prospect of going away brought on a slight bought of anxiety.
Obviously, a cup of tea came next and then my packing commenced in a slightly different fashion to usual. I gave up on the extra two pairs of shoes and added in a couple more books off the reading list. If there is one thing that goes hand in hand with holiday, it’s reading.
With one week down and one to go having no home type distractions has proven extremely useful in making good progress through the reading list. And I have to say that being on holiday whilst reading these books has not only been fascinating because of their fab contents, but also because it has meant I have been considering said contents in a ‘holiday’ context.
Naturally when we go abroad we are all a little more alert; away from home comforts and familiarity. Whilst for some people this can be an exciting circumstance under which they thrive, I have to say it is not the case for my mother.
This year I have been lucky enough to travel and tick some special experiences of my bucket list, all from which I learned a lot. In particular, the ability to relax into local culture and enjoy the unfamiliar.
So since arriving in Turkey I was keen to visit some new places and being a foodie, eat as many varied foods as possible. The feat was getting Mum to also take on this attitude. Now, I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with the, sticking to what you know philosophy, but knowing that some of my most memorable experiences whilst travelling have come from when I was pushed into the unknown, I knew she would also love the satisfying feeling that results.
So when the opportunities arose, mainly at meal times, I was eager to get my family to try the restaurants that were offering more local, typical Turkish foods. Arguably they didn’t present much of a strong case for themselves in terms of aesthetics against the more English looking restaurants. So consequently, it was difficult to get, in particular my mum, on board.
And here is where the reading comes in. This sort of scenario couldn’t have been a better example for seeing people’s (apologies to those who have not yet read Nudge, this may seem like complete waffle if it doesn’t already) automatic systems which are keenly aware of risk come into play and loss aversion conquer because humans are more likely to focus on what they will lose over what they will gain.
So after reading Nudge I was able to conduct my own social experiment with the techniques of nudging it suggested. These specific techniques were to get people to follow through with actions that may mean a change from the usual. It did involve a bit of sneakiness but hey all in the name of advertising and a yummy dinner, right?
It talks of predetermining people’s actions through the nudge of asking what they intend to do and how they intend to do it. Which I did and specific plans were made in favour of the new restaurant. These sorts of dinner plans were different to usual for us in terms of pre- making the decision. Usually the relaxed holiday attitude takes over and we wander around to survey the choice of restaurants and though it was often said we would try somewhere new, when it came to it, it didn’t happen. So I nudged throughout the day.
It was a success and that night after eating seaweed and octopus everyone agreed it was the best meal yet. The nudging may have even worked too well as this particular place has become the new ‘go-to’ and we have been there a twice more since our first visit. But despite the results being slightly back handed I still consider it a triumph.
Humans are funny things and whilst most of the tendencies the books draw upon are aspects of our nature I think we are all aware of to a certain extent, learning about them in more detail and understanding how to capitalise on them has been eye opening. And noticing a change in my vision on things since reading is really exciting, so for once I can say that I am looking forward to further changes in this respect that are inevitably ahead.
Now hoping the following books will provide similar successful techniques on securing a place to live.