Anticipation, Part 2

A little over a month ago, I wrote the following post:


Dan Ariely, one of my favorite behavioral economists (yes, I do have several to choose from), has an occasional column in the Wall Street Journal where he answers readers’ questions.

Here is one of the recent questions:

Dear Dan,
I hate waiting for anything. I get very impatient when I have to wait for food in a restaurant, for my new iPhone, for the next time I will meet a good friend, etc. Is there anything I can do to make it less painful to wait?

And here was Dan’s response:

Sometimes anticipation can be a pleasurable part of the experience. Imagine, for example, that you could get a kiss from your favorite movie star. Would you rather get the kiss in the next 30 seconds or in a week? When faced with this question, most people prefer to wait because, in the end, a kiss is just a kiss, but waiting for a unique kiss can be wonderful. My advice is that you try to get into such a mind-set for other experiences as well, and instead of thinking about waiting as a delay, think about it as an opportunity for anticipation.

P.S. I got this question from you a few months ago, and I hope that you enjoyed anticipating my response.

First off, I love the P.S.

Second, well, you’re just going to have to wait for that.


Well, for all of you who have been anxiously anticipating my second point, today your wait is over. I hope, like Dan Ariely suggests, that you have enjoyed the wait.

My second point deals with Ariely’s example of getting a kiss from your favorite movie star.

Now of course nothing tops a kiss from my wife, but if I were forced at gunpoint to choose which movie star I would most want to get a kiss from, I think I’d have to go with Tea Leoni, currently the star of the TV show Madam Secretary.

I first became attracted to noticed Tea when she starred in Family Man, which also just so happens to be one of my favorite all time movies. I’m not sure if there is a connection there or not…

Anyway, since I know the odds of the kiss ever happening are less than one in a million (so you’re telling me there’s a chance), just think how wonderful (according to Ariely, that is) anticipating such a remote possibility will be.

And Tea, if you are reading this, I hope you get some enjoyment out of anticipating such an event as well.

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Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

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