The brain is a machine for pattern recognition


I worked at a place once where the doorknob shocked me about half the time. There was some kind of static buildup in the door knob or the carpet or whatever, and when I went to go in it would often discharge itself harmlessly, and almost-but-not-quite-painlessly, into my unsuspecting hand.

I only worked there for a few months but I’d never even consider going back. I ended up having anxiety about the stupid door. Sweating and hesitating, forcing my hand closer to the knob, wondering if today was one of my many unlucky days.

It doesn’t take a lot of pain to create a negative association which will have people wondering if there’s some way to avoid the situation entirely. Sometimes it’s the little things, the things you’d never expect or think about.

I knew someone once. Every time I talked to her, she immediately yelled at me about something. So I stopped talking to her. I felt bad about it, but not as bad as the alternative.