Barbara Gail Montero, associate professor of philosophy and author of a forthcoming book from Oxford University Press, wrote for The Opinion Pages of The New York Times.
Her piece, entitled “The Myth of ‘Just Do It,’” explored athletics and sports, philosophy, psychology and psychologists.
Yogi Berra, the former Major League baseball catcher and coach, once remarked that you can’t hit and think at the same time. Of course, since he also reportedly said, “I really didn’t say everything I said,” it is not clear we should take his statements at face value. Nonetheless, a widespread view — in both academic journals and the popular press — is that thinking about what you are doing, as you are doing it, interferes with performance. The idea is that once you have developed the ability to play an arpeggio on the piano, putt a golf ball or parallel park, attention to what you are doing leads to inaccuracies, blunders and sometimes even utter paralysis. As the great choreographer George Balanchine would say to his dancers, “Don’t think, dear; just do.”
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