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Dread can be a powerful motivational tool

bigthink.com

Positive and negative anticipation

A study from the University of British Columbia analyzed the effects of positive and negative anticipation.

The conclusions show that we tend to want a yummy snack immediately but prefer to delay paying our bills. This seems to make intuitive sense, but the researchers wanted to dig deepe...

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Anticipation pushes against our natural tendency to want good things now and bad things later.

We'd rather get negative experiences over with to avoid the dread of waiting. Yet this desire is not as powerful as wanting positive experiences immediately.

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We weigh negatives twice as heavily as positives. This is similar to loss aversion: We prefer avoiding losses than acquiring equivalent gains.

Loss aversion focuses narrowly on losses and gains, however, while subjective magnitude broadly considers positive and negative events.

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That idea was put forward at Fast Company: "Don't want to do something? Tell yourself that it will be horrible. The worst. A godforsaken burden."

Immediate gratification is more strongly woven into our DNA than dread. Yet dread can be a motivational tool as well. Co...

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