VIDEO OF THE MONTH: "3 Ways to Plan for the (Very) Long Term"
We increasingly make decisions based on short-term goals and gains -- an approach that makes the future more uncertain and less safe. How can we learn to think about and plan for a better future in the long term...like, grandchildren-scale long term? Ari Wallach shares three tactics for thinking beyond the immediate in this informative TED Talk
ARTICLE OF THE MONTH: "In Making Decisions, Are You an Ant or a Grasshopper?"
In one of Aesop's famous fables, we are introduced to the grasshopper and the ant, whose decisions about how to spend their time affect their lives and future. The jovial grasshopper has a blast all summer singing and playing while the dutiful ant toils away preparing for the winter.
Findings in a recent publication by UConn psychology researcher Susan Zhu and colleagues add to a growing body of evidence that, although it may seem less appealing, the ant's gratification-delaying strategy should not be viewed in a negative light.
"The decision strategy can be harder or more time-consuming in the moment, but it appears to have the best outcome in the long run, even if it isn't fun," says Zhu.
The ant is what the researchers would call a maximizer. A maximizer is someone who makes decisions that they expect will impact themselves and others most favorably: they seek to "maximize" the positive and make the best choices imaginable. Yet the ant may consider so many variables that the same tendency to maximize benefit may lead to difficulty in making decisions. Previous research suggested this, with maximizers being less happy overall, having higher stress levels, and possibly regretting decisions they made.