Against the Odds: Why We All Live for a Future We Can't Control

Research Scholar, Princeton University
October 31, 2017

Living in the moment is an exception, not the rule. So why do we invest so much energy into a future we can't predict, control, or anticipate? It turns out our happiness may depend on it. There is something deeply biological about our ability, and our need, to control the future. Despite the fact that the future is precisely what foils our most carefully laid plans, we go on planning for it. An emphasis on future planning is even a vital part of raising children. A great deal of our own well being depends on grooming future generations to hope, to anticipate, to plan.This video is part of a collaborative series with the Hope Optimism initiative, which has supported interdisciplinary academic research into under-explored aspects of hope and optimism. Discover more at