The Power of (Counter)-intuition

I was skiing this afternoon. As I was riding the chairlift, looking at people twisting underneath, I got to thinking about the “rules” of skiing and how they really don’t make any sense. For example, many (ineffective) skiers try to initiate turns by (violently) rotating the upper part of their body in the direction they want to turn. While this rotation has some momentum effect, it’s actually the opposite of how effective (and pretty) turning is accomplished; namely, a ‘quiet’ upper body, aimed more-or-less constantly downhill, while the lower part of the body rotates below.

This is hard to “teach” because it’s counter-intuitive. There are at least two more aspects of skiing that are like this. Although they’re not rocket science by any means, they’re like a little mound of counter-intuition that requires some effort (and information) to scale in order to overcome the mental inertia (and to then apply, of course).

Another example that occurred to me relates to guitar playing. Most people are in awe of a good guitar player’s fretting hand and focus all their attention on this aspect. As anyone who plays guitar to any level of accomplishment will tell you, the fretting hand has it easy; the magic is in the picking hand, regardless of style – plectrum, finger-picking or some combination thereof. It ain’t sexy, but it’s where the business of playing really happens.

I’ll bet if you talk to true experts in various walks of life about how things really “work” in their sphere, you’d find this phenomenon over and over again – what it looks like it’s about, just ain’t so.

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2 Responses to The Power of (Counter)-intuition

  1. Cloudy_Me says:

    it was very interesting to read.
    I want to quote your post in my blog. It can?
    And you et an account on Twitter?

  2. admin says:

    Sure. Go for it. I don’t have a Twitter account.