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The behavior behind optimism

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It’s human nature to be optimistic. We tend to think bad things happen to other people, but not to us. Here, behavioral expert and professor Dan Gilbert explains how taking a realistic look at risk can help us prepare for the unexpected.

The Pulse of the Challenge Lab
Do you have a better chance of being attacked by a shark or a vending machine?


Even though we've all experienced ups and downs in the past, we tend to underestimate the likelihood of anything unexpected happening in our futures. While it's good to think optimistically, it's important to plan realistically.

Know the Odds Today, Be Prepared for Tomorrow.

As humans, our perception of risk and reward is often drastically different from reality. And yet those perceptions shape important choices we make. Let’s see if we can align our perceptions more closely to the realities.

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Protect Yourself From Optimism Bias 

We hosted a seminar to tell people about the human tendency to be overly optimistic about the future. They thought they were just there to listen — they didn’t realize they’d be part of it.

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The things we’re searching for say a lot about our priorities. Based on these charts, we’re thinking a lot more about today than tomorrow.

Currently viewing: What Our Searches Say About Optimism

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The Optimism Challenge

We surveyed more than 2,400 people, asking them to share important events that happened to them in the past, along with ones that might happen in the future.

Not surprisingly, most people shared an even mix of good events and bad events for things that happened to them in the past.


However when it came to their future, most people predicted only good things would happen. Only 16% of responses were negative such as health issues or loss of a loved one.


It’s human nature to be optimistic about the future but it’s important to prepare ourselves for anything the future might bring.

Did you know?

A recent survey showed that people think life insurance is three times more expensive than it actually is.  Let’s do something about it.

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