Daniel Kahneman proposed the prospect theory which essentially relates to our views towards risk-taking. What was originally showing up in terms of financial decisions begins to be recognised in other situations as well. In general, when dealing with change, we face some difficulty recognising something new is better when we haven’t yet experience the full benefit and may resist it even if it’s better than status quo because the lost of status quo feels much more painful for us.
For some reason, I think improvements in living standards have made us less capable of grappling with loss. Smaller things in life seem to become such a big deal that earlier generations would not have understood why they afflict us so badly. In some sense, modernity and the physical comforts of life are starting to make us even more fragile mentally. And we have come to be more and more reliant on not just certainty but somehow having almost all of our expectations fulfilled.
And that is to say even if things do not move along with expectations, there is a sense of loss which is felt. What is operating today is growing to be a pandemic of mental issues and I believe it is not just about re-tuning our expectations but coming back to embrace human-ness, struggles, failure and tragedy as integral parts of life. We are better because of these challenges and not worst off. We better start recognising that.
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