I, The Absolute

Archive for December 8th, 2005

Disappointment Psychology

Posted by itheabsolute on December 8, 2005

Assume I buy a lottery ticket with no hope of winning any money on that ticket. If I win prize money of INR 10 Million, the second prize, and lost out the first prize of INR 20 Million by just one digit, what would my reaction be? I will be happy no doubt. But I will be equally disappointed that I lost out the first prize by one single digit.

If a person applied to Mckinsey with the only ambition of just getting into Mckinsey. Did not matter what position. Assume, he got in as junior associate, but later on discovers that he could have actually gotten in as associate. Far from being happy for having made it to Mckinsey – which was the goal he had set for himself – he would be more disappointed and depressed by starting to compare the lost opportunity.

Though this may appear quite commonplace, it is only recently that research on disappointment psychology has proved that we do not necessarily judge the outcome of some of our action / some incident against our expectations which we had set before the action / incident took place. Once the action / incident happen, our mind judges the outcome against all other possible outcomes that could have been in our favor. So, it is not possible to prepare the mind to be insulated from the outcome. Even if the outcome is favorable, the lost opportunities hurt us more.

It was not without reason that Milton said, Mind is a place in itself; it can make hell out of heaven, and heaven out of hell.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »