Time for an admission…. I hate it when people stop in doorways. Everything is moving along nicely and then someone stops dead at a doorway… looks puzzled, checks their pockets, scratches their head, turns to say something to someone else..or does one of a thousand other things that could be done before or after getting to the door. It frustrates the hell out me of me. There, I admitted it!
A surprising admission
This might come as a surprising admission.. particularly given that I have previously written about how a doorknob can keep you sane. But these two posts really do belong together.
That piece challenged you stop and think every time you put your hand on a doorknob. However the circumstances causing me the most frustration are not the doorways with doorknobs, but the automatic doorways in public places… so no chance to put in action the specific little zen challenge contained in that doorknob post!
Turning gut reaction into science!!
Then I find that Professor Gabriel Radvansky of the University of Notre Dame (published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology) may have provided an answer as to why this phenomenon occurs.
He found that “Entering or exiting through a doorway serves as an ‘event boundary’ in the mind, which separates episodes of activity and files them away. Recalling the decision or activity that was made in a different room is difficult because it has been compartmentalized.” His study included a series of virtual and real world scenarios testing memory recall differences between crossing a room and exiting a doorway and in every set of scenarios the act of walking through a doorway resulted in the decline in memory performance associated with the task in that scenario.
I wondered…. is this act of stopping at the doorways triggered by a human gut reaction? Do we instinctively know that after crossing a threshold like a doorway that we will forget something. After all there are many examples of things that people do that have subsequently become the focus of psychological experiments… is this just another one?
What is your experience?
Have you experienced that sudden doorway stop… if so in what circumstances? Are you frustrated when other people do it? Does the Professors research ring true in your experience.. do you experience that memory loss of what you did in one room after you pass through a doorway?
If you are like most of the people I’ve already discussed this with then your answers are all likely YES!
Most people have mentioned the experience of having you gotten up to do something, walked into another room and then stared blankly thinking what did I come in here for? What was it that I was going to do?
Then I thought….
You know what… even if it is an instinctive gut reaction that doorknob post is still relevant….and a bit of a tweak might help to counteract this “forgetfulness” associated with moving through doorways.
So it’s time to update the challenge but instead of focusing on every time you put your hand on a doorknob… the challenge is for every time you approach an open doorway between doing tasks! I encourage you to ask yourself the questions like those contained in the doorknob challenge…..questions such as:
What am I feeling now?
Why am I feeling like this?
What am I about to do?
What is my intention on going through this door?
What is the task that I am going to perform on the other side of this doorway?
Who am I going to meet on the other side of the door?
Am I ready to really “meet” with them, and give them my FULL attention?
Are you up to the new doorway Challenge!
Choose a time-frame, whether it is a particular day or a week and every time you approach a doorway do one of these mini meditations….you never know you might find that your forgetfulness begins to disappear, and you begin to enjoy those mini zen like moments of clarity!
I’d be interested to hear what you think, or how you go at trying the doorknob challenge or this doorway challenge.. you can share your thoughts or experiences below.