I first learned about Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance from an English teacher by the name of Mrs Blakemore when I was fifteen years old. She was the kind of teacher that likes to go off on a tangent. Once, she climbed up on a chair to stamp on it whilst reciting poetry (the Western Wind was Wild.) She was the reason I took English at A-level.
She used to like to talk about our teenage years. How the 'popular' girls in school wouldn't be quite so popular once we were all adults. 'Soon ripe, soon rotten' was how she described this, and my husband and I (we were in the same class) still use the phrase now that he's an English teacher. Why she chose to tell us about Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance has become a little fuzzy in my mind. Maybe she was explaining how our minds could help us overcome those calamitous events that happened on a daily basis simply because we were fifteen.
Whatever the reason, it really struck a chord with me, and I've never forgotten the theory or ever had cause to question that it is completely accurate.
Here's the magic of Wikipedia to tell you everything you need to know about Festinger without you having to really use your brain (Wikipedia, how I do love thee.)
I've often thought about this theory over the years, and it's even more relevant now that I collect rejection emails from agents like they're faberge eggs. If you're too lazy to click on the link, here's what it means.
You get a request for a partial. You squeak and do the happy dance (in your head, because you're at work and it turns out they don't appreciate you checking how your dreams are doing while you're on the clock.) You wait patiently (you check your emails forty three times before lunch.) You receive a thanks, but no thanks. But you've become so adept at consciously applying Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance (despite the fact that it doesn't need to be conscious) that what you think is: My first book wasn't good enough anyway; what I really want is my far-superior second book published.
And that's the theory of cognitive dissonance applied to the process of trying to be a published writer.
Now because you've sat nicely and done your learning for today, here's the trailer for Cowboys and Aliens. It looks freakin awesome and I can't wait to go and see it. I'm so excited I may have to blog about going to the cinema next week (I LOVE going there.)