Upheaval

(couldn’t think of a subtitle today. OH WAIT I JUST DID)

In the wake of Tottenham (finally) sacking their manager Tim Sherwood, I’ve been thinking about upheaval – a radical, short-term change – in general and whether it’s a good thing; obviously, the individual cases are important, but on the whole, is it better to stick with a mediocre solution, on the grounds that its consistency will be a benefit, or have an upheaval, and take the risk that a new system or idea will be better than the old one, because anything must be better than that old crap, right?

Timescales are important too; if there is a fast-approaching goal you have to hit, a change will probably be better because you need an improvement right now, while a farther-off goal would probably warrant consistency in the hope that the existing system can be adapted over time, rather than ripping it out and starting again.

But regardless of the individual examples, it seems that public perception has played a role in deciding between upheaval and smaller change, basically because the former is far more exciting. In sport, no-one wants to hear that a player will slowly be working on their game and adapting to a new role within a team over a five-month off-season, they want to hear that the team is spending £30 million on a new player who can fill that new role right now; in politics, people don’t want to hear a long-term plan to improve employment figures through a series of grassroots measures to slowly change the perception of employment in society, they want a manifesto that says ‘We’ll cut employment in half within six months!’.

And often, the longer-term developments can be more beneficial; a player who works on their game will be a more rounded athlete as a result, so they could fit into more tactical systems of different managers and different clubs, and society as a whole would probably benefit if people started doing things out of their own free will and growing self-awareness rather than being spoon-fed help from a local authority.

So there is a contrast between that which is effective, because it addresses fundamental problems, and that which we want to be effective, because frankly, having the opinion that anything worth doing will take a bloody long time is kinda discouraging; we want to live in a world where quick fixes are actually effective. And this isn’t out of an inherent laziness to humanity, it’s simple logic: if improvements can be made using a 2-hour program, or a 2-year program, the former will be favourable, as our gaols will be completed faster, giving more time for relaxation, or even more improvements!

This is especially important for me as I get closer to exams, as I’ve seen some revision techniques that involve watching summaries of texts on YouTube or searching through the ‘chemistry’ hashtag on Tumblr, but these are often ineffective, as a broader re-evaluation of one’s working methods, and often exam technique, is often more helpful; we’re now sadly in the situation where exams are literally underway, and so these sorts of structural changes are likely to be too long-term to be effective right now.

I guess it comes back to my original query, that it depends on the timescale you’re working with: it would be nice to revise through past papers and seminar sessions with your peers, but if you’ve got a History exam three weeks today, it would probably be a better idea to shove your nose into a book for a few weeks.

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