Headwinds/Tailwinds Asymmetry

Headwinds/Tailwinds Asymmetry:

Your parents probably help your siblings more than you.

Your favourite sports team probably get more bad calls than other teams.

And you probably hit an unlucky number of red lights, especially when in a hurry.

What if I told you these events are often fictions of our imagination? Similar to when you go for a bike ride, you are painfully aware when biking into the wind (headwind), yet as soon as you turn around to go the other way, you quickly forget about the tailwind pushing you along. We notice the headwinds, we don’t notice tailwinds.

This is a metaphor created by the research of Tom Gilovich and Shai Davidai for how our mind perceives negative events more readily than positive ones. We’re bound to hit some red lights, just like everyone else. Our favourite sports team is bound to have some bad calls go against them, just like everyone else. And our parents are bound to say no to us and yes to our siblings every now and then, just like everyone else. When we take these things personally, we are setting ourselves up to feel constantly attacked by the mere existence of randomness in the world.

The truth is, the world has a lot of randomness. Sometimes that works in our favour, sometimes it doesn’t. Try not to get too caught up in the headwinds. The tailwinds are often there somewhere in the background, they’re just harder to see at first.

Counselling Orillia
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