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:
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.
In the meantime, enjoy this classic 70s commercial: