Simon Terry

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The misery of anticipation

More human misery has been caused by anticipation than the events that were feared. Stop bringing forward the pain.

This morning I caught a commuter train. Aside from the aesthetic misery caused by anti-graffiti fabric on the seats, the other noticeable thing was how glum a Monday morning work crowd can be.

We all know why work might make people glum. Engagement of employees is remarkably low. However, none of the people on the train were yet at work. They were glum because of the anticipation of the work day ahead. They could have been enjoying their last moments of freedom.

Stress is also a consequence of anticipation. Stress is a present concern about future events. We bring forward the pain with our anticipation.

Anticipation is a positive when it enables us to act and avoid negative events. However that demands we recognise the source of the anticipated pain and get on the job of avoiding it.

If anticipation is causing pain, either do something different or accept that the present moment is better than you think.


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