The Psychology of Doing Nothing – Professor Helga Drummond

The Psychology of Doing Nothing – Professor Helga Drummond

This lecture explores decision avoidance in business. Why is costly inaction attractive? Why do individuals (and organisations) sometimes hesitate even though they know they probably have more to lose by not taking a risk? We also explore the other side of the coin: when is inaction the highest form of action?

The transcript and downloadable versions of the lecture are available from the Gresham College website:

Gresham College has been giving free public lectures since 1597. This tradition continues today with all of our five or so public lectures a week being made available for free download from our website. There are currently over 1,700 lectures free to access or download from the website.


February 9, 2015 / 27 Comments / by / in
  • i just added this video to my watch later list

  • Ultimately, doing nothing is the correct choice.

  • Fabulous talk! What an interesting topic.

  • Thanks for puting this online. very interesting!

  • No matter who you are or what you are doing, this is a very educative and valuable video. Im a musician and your words speak to me deeply. Thank's for sharing that wisdom Helga.

  • This lecture is as much about wisdom acquired over many years as it is about psychology..

  • 50:42 TYPO


  • Many religious texts revolve around human psychology.

  • Where Jerry Seinfeld sprang from

  • I hate to work out, eat healthy and exercise….so doing none of these leads to laziness, gluttony and sloth… Maybe not doing what we hate to do is not such good advice…. You decide

  • i can hear the clock ticking in the background when she paused.

  • Sometimes maybe sleeping forever will avoid you from suffering any wrong decision you made… sometimes walking with the reality is better than getting out the comfort zone… I know the pleasant feeling when you battle for your happiness but actually it doesn't always real .. like you have to be realistic

  • "For every old saying there's an equal an opposite old saying…"

    (Dave's Law – 'cause I invented it… ages ago!)

  • If you ever get the chance to make a living researching nothing, take it!

  • P H

    As a person who studied nutrition please don't eat less… Eat better, eat smarter and take the stairs rather than the elevator.

  • I am in love with this professor. Brilliant lecture

  • thats my aunt!!!

  • This was a great lecture! Really enjoyed listening and hearing her speak! Such great wisdom!

  • Accepting non-truths as answers and then applying them out of habit.

  • Err…hmmm…pooo…shhhhhh…oh…, I can't be bothered?

  • there is nothing to be done.

  • The instant gratification also comes with the bonus of the intangible nature of capital, plus the diminishing uncertainty of not being able to obtain the 120k in 12 months, BECAUSE I haven't taken the 100k to pay the mafia boss back. Knowing to have money now might also enable you to do things NOW you wouldn't have done otherwise. And since time is more limited than capital for a human being (you can earn more than you can spend, but you cannot live longer than you live), taking the 100k now is an absolut valid choice, given the simple circumstances.

  • I am contemplative!

  • I am nothing!

  • My nothingness is my cherished possession!

  • To be nothing is to have all!

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