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

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.

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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 hopeoptimism.com.

Hope Isn’t Blind: It’s a Way to Build Trust and Manage Anxiety

Some anxieties are essential, and for millennia they kept our ancestors alive. But there's another type of anxiety that we can actually do away with—and it's defeated via hope.

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In this refreshing take on the utility of hope, Princeton research scholar Victoria McGeer explains that there's a difference between blind hope and practical hope. The latter means taking a clear-eyed view of potential disappointment, knowing that there may be failure, and then putting your anxieties offline by trusting in the elements that are beyond your control. Trust is a critical feature of human social life, and we're often obligated to trust in uncertain circumstances: trust your kids, trust that stranger, trust your neighbor. Hope, when done properly, can fortify trust, reduce anxiety, and actually give you the tools to cope with disappointment. This video was filmed as part of the Los Angeles Hope Festival, a collaboration between Big Think and Hope & Optimism.