Is It Just Me?

Lately, I've had some events happen that made me think about how I think, and I was wondering if it's just me or if other people have experienced this as well.

I bought my first ever real cell phone - a smart phone, woot! - and we had an animal behaviorist come help us with our newest dog, Tyche. These two events seem disparate but they both involve something new coming into my life.

From the time when I decided to get a smart phone to when I had it in my hands, I kept catching myself having strange thoughts in the back of my mind. It wasn't really conscious, and it went along the lines of "my new phone will make this task easier or the way I do this better."

It turns out that the phone really does enhance how I do things and I love it. But I was getting those anticipatory thoughts for just about everything, for stuff that obviously wasn't going to improve just because I got a shiny new gizmo. So I would have to say, "Neece, that's not rational. The phone is not going to do your dishes for you."

It seems trivial, except at the same time we had Lindsay the animal behaviorist scheduled to come for the assessment of Tyche. I was nervous and also really excited about what I'd learn about dogs and their behavior.

But I found myself thinking, "when Lindsay comes, this irritation won't happen anymore." As if her appearance in my home was a panacea for all my ills. Just like the phone.

I'm basically pragmatic and reasonable. I know that having a new gizmo is not going to keep the dogs from tracking in buckets of mud all day long. But it didn't stop the reflexive thoughts in the back of my mind.

Is it just me? Or have you ever noticed this kind of thinking?

I've seen my friends anticipate something good in their future and be overly optimistic. Is that the same thing? It seems like it might be.

A classic example is when someone gets a new job. Before they start they are usually 98-100% optimistic about the job. The first short while everything is groovy. Then a crack in the pedestal shows up. The boss makes a bad decision (the first of many), a co-worker starts to show an irritating habit, a policy changes.

Usually the person will rationalize the first few problems. They will work around them and still try to stay positive. But then the frustrations start to pile up and a dam starts to grow up in the river. The optimism slows to a trickle and resentment builds. Next thing you know that awesome job is the worst career move ever. This is the extreme, but you get the point.

The same goes for many relationships. The person you first go out with seems so perfect, then time goes on, familiarity breeds contempt, and you end up hating all the cute little idiosyncrasies you used to find so endearing.

If most people do this, what is the advantage, and is it evolutionary? Why do we do it? I welcome your thoughts and perspectives.


  1. People like to assume the best to happen. Excitement overrides the ability to look for flaws. I've seen this happen with animals so it is evolutionary.

  2. There is an evolutionary advantage if dissatisfaction with a mate lead to producing more offspring with another mate, but i do not think the same can be said for other sorts of behavior. In your job example there are all manner of socials factor in play, and other people could remain happy in the same situation.

  3. Sometimes when I want to watch a movie that plays on TV but late at night, I set my PVR to record it. Then, next day, I bring up my Recorded Programs list, see the entry I wanted, and then think to myself, "Hmmm... The PVR has already watched this program. Now I don't have to." And then I click Delete. I'm amazed by how many movies I've watched done this way.