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Trying new things Tue, Dec 18, 2007
I've written about this a few times in the past, but I'll go ahead and say it again:  I'm opposed to trying new things, and this comes as a direct result of past experiences.  Past bad experiences. 

The topic of food comes to mind.  I had some Indian friends in college.  They would say, "Hey white boy, try this weird food with a foreign name, made of ingredients we can't remember."  I'd try it.  And gag.  If I can't identify what kingdom of food I'm eating, things can't turn out well.  And they didn't.  I did this a few times, each time telling myself to stop trying Indian food as it was always a disappointment (my apologies to Indian people and Indian-food-sympathizers worldwide; if it works for you, go for it). 

The same thing would happen with [insert nationality] food.  Some friends would say, "Hey let's go to that Thai place."  We went.  It was awful.  It was the same with Korean food (what exactly is a dumpling anyway?).  It's not that these were the worst experiences of my life, but I can say with a pretty high degree of finality that I have no desire to eat any foods from any of these countries again.  That goes for most other countries as well.  Why would I take the risk of being disappointed for the small chance that I'll be absolutely blown away by something new?  Reward/risk = very small number. 

I think it has something to do with the difference between yearning for experience and being satisfied.  Some people feel the need to be experienced, and there's nothing wrong with that.  They try new things, and even if they don't like them, at the new things were tried.  Experiences are notches in the belt, adding wisdom and information to the rest of life's situations.  Plus, they provide excellent fodder for conversation. 

Other people are perfectly ok with the status quo.  They're satisfied.  In fact, they're so satisfied, they actually don't want a new experience to come in and disrupt things.  This is a little naive and close-minded.  But it is what it is.  These people won't be changed by pointing out their shortfalls. 

Obviously, I'm the latter.  I've tried enough new things to know that I don't like trying new things.  Even if there's a potential for some sort of immeasurable yet non-zero gain, it's just not worth it for me.  This probably has something to do with being extremely negative and how the chemicals in my brain cause me to remember negative experiences more vividly and for longer than positive experiences, thereby instilling in me an intense dislike for things that cause negative experiences, i.e. trying new things.  But whatever.  That's too deep for a Tuesday morning. 

In conclusion, if I'm consistently disappointed by trying new things, how could the solution possibly be to try more new things (as some people suggest, "You just haven't tried the right new things.")?  As someone famous once said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. #psychology


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