William Liao

January 29, 2022

wear a bandana!

In an experiment conducted by Harvard Business School professor Francesca Gino, students were asked to sing “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey in front of strangers.

Some students were asked just to sing the song, while other students were asked to put on a bandana — something that many admitted made them feel uncomfortable — before singing the song.

Which group would you expect to perform better and feel less anxious?

If you guessed the students who didn’t wear the bandana, then you — like me at first — are wrong.

Surprisingly, the students who wore the bandana reported feeling less anxious when singing. Even more surprising is that students who wore the bandana stayed in tune longer compared to the other group!

In a weird bout of irony, it turns out that breaking the rules — doing something that one wouldn’t normally expect themselves to do — instilled a feeling of confidence that resulted in better performance.

Does this mean you should literally wear a bandana the next time you’re looking for a boost in confidence and performance?

Maybe.

But if not, at the very least, entertaining what the bandana represents: breaking the rules, doing something new and strange, and embracing discomfort.