Posted by: Nicholas Davis | February 25, 2009

Wonder, don’t hope

While looking for books on Amazon, I came across Susan Jeffers’ “Embracing Uncertainty: Breakthrough Methods for Achieving Peace of Mind When Facing the Unknown”. In the reader comments I found the following remark:

“The second exercise that I found very useful was to teach myself to stop `hoping’ for things. Instead, I only let myself `wonder’ about what might happen. Wondering instead of hoping stops me from feeling disappointment that can come when something I hope for doesn’t happen. A `wondering’ world is a much easier one to be in than a `hoping’ world!”

That’s the essence of scenario-thinking right there, and a value statement for scenarios to boot. Hoping, expecting, wishing – these are things that make one prone to a whole range of psychological biases (e.g. confirmation bias), and open us up to feeling let down when the desired state doesn’t materialize. Wondering, considering, dreaming, imagining, rehearsing… you can still have a desired state, but you just might be better prepared, whether it happens or not.

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