Monday, September 1, 2014

THE JOY OF COGNITIVE DISSONANCE by Rolynn Anderson



This month’s choices; Fall in Love, Fall to Pieces, Fall into Place, Fall by the Wayside

I’ll pick FALL INTO PLACE, which I'll call 'cognitive dissonance,' our human approach for making decisions and feeling comfortable with them.

From Wikipedia:
Leon Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance focuses on how humans strive for internal consistency. When inconsistency (dissonance) is experienced, individuals largely become psychologically distressed. His basic hypotheses are listed below:
 1. "The existence of dissonance, being psychologically uncomfortable, will motivate the person to try to reduce the dissonance and achieve consonance"
2. "When dissonance is present, in addition to trying to reduce it, the person will actively avoid situations and information which would likely increase the dissonance"

Welcome to my newest cognitive dissonance.  After 30 years of boating, we’ve decided to sell our beloved INTREPID (see her here: http://intrepid-for-sale.blogspot.com/) and move on to other adventures.  We’ve spent four summer months on our boat for at least 20 of those years; now it’s time to try other modes of travel to brand new and exciting places.

         You hear the cognitive dissonance at play, already, don’t you?  Here are some more of our new ways of thinking which make us feel better about selling our boat:
         1.  We only have to keep up one house, not two.
         2.  We’re physically fit for travel now…we shouldn’t wait.
         3.  We’ll increase our savings by selling the boat
         4.  We’ll use the money spent on maintaining the boat for travel
         5.  We’ve seen about all we can see of the Inside Passage
         6.  We’ll deepen our friendships in CA, by having only one residence
         (I could go on with 20 more...see how easy this is?)

         I don’t call this fickle thinking or merely a process of rationalizing.  This is the human, humane, comfortable way of making decisions feel good.  How about you?  What’s your latest trip down the road of cognitive dissonance?

Intrepid Journeys  -  http://steveandrolynn.blogspot.com/


13 comments:

Leah St. James said...

Well, it sounds like a difficult decision, Rolynn. But it seems like you took your time and reasoned out your choices, and hopefully you'll have a bunch of new and different adventures to keep you busy when next summer rolls around. :-)

Hubby and I have faced many decisions of the years that had us doubting, and feeling more than a little apprehensive. I like your explanation of cognitive dissonance.

Diane Burton said...

What a difficult choice, Rolynn. But it sounds like you are at peace with your decision.

Like Leah, Hubs & I have had to make a lot of decisions. Our latest was building our first house and moving a hundred plus miles away. After almost a year in our new place, I can say the dissonance is gone!

Jannine Gallant said...

You have a wealth of memories...and now you get to make new ones!

I feel the dissonance every time I publish a book. Indie or traditional, I wonder if I've made the right choice. Then I try to come up with positives to validate my choice. I think we all do that as a coping mechanism.

Margo Hoornstra said...

The positives seem to have overshadowed the sadness. Last year, we bought a full sized (33foot) travel trailer. We're using it a lot and enjoying every minute. We used to be boaters too. It's a big change!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Leah and Diane, Jannine, and Margo, thanks for your encouragement. I worry less about my regrets than for my husband. He loves the boat...and I worry he'll miss all the boy toys and the dilemmas to solve. But he's the one who brought up the sale, first. I don't think he figured it would happen so quickly!

Jannine, I hear you about the indie or traditional conundrum. I'm chewing nails right now about that. Diane and Margo...new houses/RV's/moving...all BIG Dissonance issues. But what's life without risk, huh?

Ashantay said...

Best wishes on your lifestyle change! I wish you many wonderful adventures in the upcoming years.

I used cognitive dissonance for years. It's a subversive tool for the corporate world! For instance, dress and talk like management while presenting ideas in direct opposition to current approaches. Doesn't always work, but gets people thinking, leading eventually to change.

Alison Henderson said...

Rolynn, your struggles with cognitive dissonance really strike home with me. Early in 2013, we (mostly me) made the decision to pull up stakes after 25 years in Minnesota and move to coastal California. The next year was filled with upheaval to the extent that my husband managed to give himself a stroke. Now, after five months in the new house, he's learned a lot about stress management, and I'm starting to feel like I make the right decision after all.

I wish you a much smoother transition to your new life. It sounds like you're better prepared.

Barbara Bettis said...

What a great attitude on resolving cognitive dissonance. Great list, but I can totally second the travel while in shape! And good luck as you make your other transitions.

Betsy Ashton said...

I've been where you are Rolynn. We moved to a resort lake in SW Virginia, bought a small sailboat, sold the sailboat (not enough sustained wind), bought a pontoon boot and spend as much time on the water as my writing allows. My husband settled in with his toys: motorcycle leading the pack. Yours will too. Keep us posted on what happens next. Remember, it's the journey...

Glenys said...

Love this idea! Cognitive Dissonance is when there's a disparity between what your reality is and your image of what it should be. Pinning that down and making changes is definitely great decision making. Wishing you lots of fun in your travels!

Rolynn Anderson said...

My goodness, what thoughtful comments. I don't know where to start! Glenys, I like your rephrasing of the CD concepts; Betsy, thanks for sharing the men with toys story; Barb...I try not to take much luggage, but hauling any suitcase up steps is a challenge; Alison, I've been following your journey to CA...I'm so glad the choice is feeling right...even after your husband's stroke; Ashantay, I love your stealth approach to management...I should have done more of that during my high school principalship! Thanks to all for commenting!

Alicia Dean said...

Nice post. Yes, it was a difficult decision and I'm sure there will be a period of adjustment, but it will all work out. I'm sure you'll make a whole bunch of wonderful new memories.

I've dealt with cognitave dissonance a few times. Back in 2006 when I decided to move to Kansas City and in 2009 when I decided to move back home to Oklahoma City, to name a few. Both moves were difficult decisions and I had to weigh the bad with the good. The paths we take lead to where we are now, and I try not to have any regrets.

Donna Michaels said...

Great post, Rolynn. I think your approach to your decision was a smart one. If changing your way of life makes your life easier, then I feel that's the best way to go. There are still things you may miss, but it's always good to keep moving forward.