Quitting is an option… this sounds like the opposite of what we’ve been told about success! BUT research has shown that performance on tasks actually improves if people are given the choice whether to carry on with the task or not.
The study involved two groups of participants who were both asked to solved puzzles. One group of participants were not given the choice to quit (forced choices) and the other group where given the option to give up whenever they wanted. Contrary to what was expected, those in the second group were actually more persistent and solved more puzzles than the ‘forced choices’ group.
So, the psychology behind this… why is this case?
One theory is that once you choose to carry on with the task, you have taken on responsibility for the task and therefore you feel more invested in succeeding. Other research shows that creating your own goals makes you more likely to achieve them than when goals are thrust upon you.
Finally, many people have an amount of ‘coercion sensitivity’ meaning that if they are told to do something, they tend to do the opposite! Whatever the reason behind this, we can use this theory to improve our performance in life and in the agility ring.
So let’s relate this to your dog training journey
Do you tell yourself that you cannot quit… ever? That you must carry on no matter what? If we go by what this research says, you will perform better if you give yourself options. Not walking your dog every day is an option. Not going to the gym three times a week IS an option. Never eating a vegetable ever again IS an option.
Even if you don’t ever intend to take these options, the fact that they are there as possibilities in your mind is the important thing here. So why not try it – make quitting an option in your mind and see if your performance changes! Read more about this HERE.
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