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Showing posts from December, 2017

On the importance of setting expectations

The winter holidays are almost here, and the sense of excitement is in the air.  Even if you don’t celebrate anything in particular, you can look forward to the vacation week between Dec. 25th and Jan. 2nd forced upon us by office closings and our kids’ school break.  During this time, we tend to expect magic to happen: a wonderful family celebration, or perhaps that special present we have been dropping hints about.  We anticipate that everything will be just how we imagine it, but does reality match this expectation? Not usually...
   As humans, we are built to anticipate the future. In fact, forecasting and scenario analysis is what has kept us alive in an evolutionary sense, like: “If I leave food lying around in my cave, will a bear stumble into it and wreak havoc?” Yet, as Daniel Gilbert explains in his brilliant book, “Stumbling on Happiness,” humans tend to be terrible judges of what will make us happy. I won’t give away Gilbert’s punchline; only that he blames our “wild” …