How to be Invisible

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This week, a headline caught my eye on the webernet. Never sure if it's still called the web, the Internet, the net, or Dodge City these days. However, the headline in question was What does it feel like to be invisible?


Ask any new artist on a print on demand art site. They will tell you without committing millions in research, what invisible really feels like. Well, it appears that some people in Sweden can also tell you. These invisible people didn’t actually disappear. No magic capes, evil rings or cloaking devices were involved, and other people could still see them. Ok, all seems a bit disappointing. I was expecting from the headline to read the article and follow six or more steps to create some mystical device out of every day household items that would allow me to sneak up on people and shout BOO.


The people truly believed through some psychological trickery that to an extent that their bodies had vanished. I've heard of the bizarre things that are done in some odd cults, but this is Sweden. I've been there, and mostly the folks seem normal. Maybe with the exception of the bloke who gate crashed the meeting I was in. He came for an interview and it turned out that he had come into the wrong building. In fact, the wrong company.


I was in a meeting about criminal justice, this guy thought he was in some corporate HQ of a fast food chain. He actually raised a few great points apparently, I have no idea, I can't speak Swedish. It was a long meeting, even I would have given this fine chap a job, he just needs to do some work on his navigational skills.


And it seems that losing your body may have a positive side effect. “The experience of having an invisible body seems to reduce stress, specifically the stress we feel when standing in front of strangers,” says Arvid Guterstam, a cognitive neuroscientist at the Karolinska Institutet, whose team describes the finding this week in Scientific Reports. Wow, how much did that cost?


It might be a useful tactic if you are nervous about making presentations in front of an audience. But, even without this trickery, I have managed to get through around 2,000 keynotes in the last five years without reverting to such hocus. I've even had people clap at the end. I think not because they were relieved it was over, but probably because I now refuse to use any PowerPoint, I never prepare, I just wing it. Maybe some were also relieved it was over.


Apparently people seem to like my style of digressing away from the main points, and seeing the entertaining way I sometimes struggle to remember what I'm supposed to be talking about. I generally remember five small things they have come to hear, I don't always get them in the correct order. Sometimes even I laugh.


So why oh why do we carry out such research at such expense? In my day job people generally come to me because I have been doing what I do for years. They know I will tell them how it is. They also know that I listen. Well, ok, sometimes I switch off, but generally I listen and give them an answer. I do this for free. So, now I think I'm only going to tell them little bits, and sell them the rest of the answer three years down the line. It seems this is now an acceptable practice, it's called a funded research study.


So what else do I plan to do with this new methodology? I plan on setting up another page on this site where the best questions get the right answers on any subject. What will the page be called you ask? The Ministry of Common Sense. The cost? Free, or you can maybe buy me a Latte and a bacon butty from Starbucks if you really want to push the boat out.


Let's give this a try. Send me some questions so I can answer your problems, not including relationship advice, or anything about being a vegan. I really can't understand why some people don't like bacon. By the way, this post is a miracle. You won't believe the day I've had. I'll tell you about it tomorrow!



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