Want to Know How to Fight The Recency Effect? Become an Optimist!

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Want to Know How to Fight The Recency Effect? Become an Optimist!

US_HighwaysDriving up to Scotland for a business meeting last week I was struck by the number of Lorries on the motorway. Then it occurred to me there were probably no more than usual. My attention was drawn to them because it was raining heavily during periods of my journey and on several occasions I had to overtake two at a time (because one was overtaking the other) from the outside lane, whilst not being able to see properly due to the spray they were kicking up.

The return journey was a different experience altogether as the weather had cleared up and I made good time. Later that evening, when asked about my day I replied that I enjoyed the meeting and that it was a pleasant drive.

This is an example of the ‘recency effect’: a psychological term that simply means the most recent experiences we go through are the ones we are likely to remember and we assume those experiences will continue into the future.

As an optimist I’m immune to the recency effect because I tend to view what is happening now as temporary and assume that my circumstances will only get better.

If you’re surrounded by pessimists however, you’re likely to assume that nothing will improve – whether that’s the world’s problems, the national economy or your personal situation.

Remember, optimism is a learned behaviour and one that comes naturally to some of us because we’ve practised it over a long period of time. So, decide on something you’d like to feel more optimistic about and start practising today!

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