Have you ever sat down and thought about how there are so many different emotions? Weird thing to think about, I know. I’ve been thinking a lot in my free time at home though, and I’m gearing up to write my final Oracle article of the year. Needless to say, I’m feeling a lot of different emotions.
A good friend of mine, Dani Walpole, has argued that disappointment is the worst emotion. While I do agree with her, I’m not on a quest to rank the worst or best emotion, as I feel that it can change in any scenario. For example, maybe you got a test grade back and you did really well while your peers struggled. In that moment, maybe the best emotion you feel is pride.
Perhaps, though, the next week you get good news from the doctors about your grandmother that you weren’t expecting. Now the best emotion is relief. See what I mean? Instead, I’m seeking out the most powerful emotion one can feel at any given moment — an emotion that is strong enough to take its toll on you physically, whether it be good or bad. I argue that this emotion is anticipation.
The more I thought about this, the more I realized how much of this philosophy I’ve already applied to my life. My favorite day of the week is Thursday, because the anticipation of the weekend makes me very happy. My favorite holiday is Christmas Eve, because I know the best is still yet to come. The reason why sometimes the days leading up to a big trip are better than the trip itself is because of the anticipation.
Those are my favorite moments of anticipation, but there are bad ones too. The walk to class when you have a test that you aren’t prepared for. The stomach sinking feeling when someone texts you “can we talk?” It’s more than nervousness or dread, it can make you sweat and shake all over.
Public speaking is one of the nation’s most common fears. If you think about it though, the scary part is when you’re sitting and waiting to talk. Most of the time, as soon as people get up in front of the crowd, they start to relax. It’s the unknown and the waiting that gets people so worked up.
I have learned how to harness this emotion and use it for the better. When I decided to go skydiving last summer, the anticipation was driving me insane. I was up all night wondering if I was crazy for signing up to jump out of an airplane. I mentioned it to my dad and he put it all into perspective for me. The actual free-fall part, which is considered the best part, was only going to be about 30 seconds. He told me to change my mindset before going because it would be over so quickly and I will have wished I cherished it more. I did exactly that, and instead of getting the palm sweats and shortness of breath leading up to the event, I started getting the positive effects: the euphoria that I was about to do something amazing.
I know you can’t always spin a negative feeling into a positive one and that my example was for a very specific scenario. I do think, however, that when we are feeling the effects of negative anticipation we should all try to find one thing about the event that we are looking forward to.
Don’t ever underestimate the power of anticipation, and don’t let others stop you from taking advantage of it, either. If you want to celebrate your entire birthday week, go for it! It will make your special day feel longer and more important. Especially during the hard times we are all currently living, I encourage everyone reading to download a countdown app on their phones. Put something in there to anticipate, and let it be a motivation for you as we approach the light at the end of the tunnel. Personally, I’ll be counting down the days until I get to write another Oracle article. It’s been real, folks. Au revoir!