The Myth of Just Do It

Barbara’s piece this week in the Philosopher’s Stone in New York Times:

OPINION   | June 09, 2013
The Myth of ‘Just Do It’

The idea that thinking interferes with doing is often taken for granted. But the realities at the highest levels of athletic and artistic performance are more complex.

→ go to The Myth of ‘Just Do It’

How well do you think this applies to expert action in mathematics? Go and post comments at the NYT…


Barbara was interviewed by Christie Nicholson at CBS News, Smart Planet, in the Pure Genius series:

CBS News, Smart Planet | June 28, 2013
Innovation / Pure Genius
Q&A: Barbara Montero, philosopher,
on the myth of ‘Just Do It’

Christie Nicholson interviews Barbara Gail Montero

There is a widely held view that thinking about one’s performance while performing ruins our ability to perform well. Many athletes say that once you’ve mastered the skill, one ought to let go of thinking and well, to quote Nike’s tag line, “Just do it.” Professional golfer Dave Hill said, “Golf is like sex. You can’t be thinking about the mechanics of the act while you are performing.”

I first heard that quote from Barbara Montero, associate professor of Philosophy at College of Staten Island and Graduate Center, City University of New York and author of a forthcoming book, Mind, Body, Movement: The Relevance of Consciousness to Expert Performance. (This is a working title, to be published by Oxford University Press.) Montero holds that thinking is not detrimental to successful expert performance. She describes the kind of thinking that might interfere but also the type of thinking that is actually necessary for an expert to improve upon his or her top performance.

SmartPlanet spoke with Montero, to hear more about the ‘just do it’ philosophy and why she feels it is misguided.

→ go to the interview

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