Issue No. 311 | July 29, 2020

Sniffing the Future

Like most dogs, Cody likes to stick his head out the window when we are driving around town. News reports will tell you that dogs do this because they love the rush of wind on their face and like to let jowls flap and ear fly.

Given that Cody’s olfactory senses have mine outnumbered by a factor of 50:1,  I think there is another element in play. Cody may be using his snout to predict the future; He has an idea of what is coming around the bend, whether it the smell of a restaurant or another dog who he may want to get ready to bark and  growl at as he protects me while we drive on by.

Forecasting what is coming up ahead is a powerful skill in resilience and a core element of The Resilience Advantage. If we can anticipate both the good and the bad in our future, with some regularity and accuracy, then we can mitigate or at least minimize the elements that we have to respond to, and which might stress us out.

The Centre for Collective Intelligent Design in the United Kingdom has studied how people can be better predictors for the future. Here are a few of their tips:

  • Diverse ideas: Get lots of viewpoints from different people, which will provide more information with which to make an observation.
  • Look for patterns: We tend to see the world through our own lens which can lead to confirmation bias. List the objective facts especially if they do not support your ideas.
  • Stick with your ideas, once you have them: Good predictors stay with what they have concluded and aren’t easily dissuaded.

After he’s checked out his future, Cody has a password he uses to let me know he likes where we are going. He eases off from the window, scoots across the seat and plants a wet, icky lick right across my face. You’ll be pleased, too with how your better forecasting leads you to a bit more happiness.

© Richard Citrin 2020

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