Roy F. Baumeister points audience towards the future at A.P.E.X. event

Ask. Ponder. Educate. [X]. partnered with the Dixie L. Leavitt School of Business to bring Roy F. Baumeister to the Great Hall on Tuesday, March 8.

An American social psychologist, Baumeister has published more than 700 scientific works including 40 books. He has received the William James Fellow Award, the highest award given by the Association of Psychological Science. He is currently the president-elect of the International Positive Psychology Association.

Baumeister recently began studying how people think about the future. While difficult to study, the future still has the ability to change — an important advantage over the past and present.

“Look where other people are not looking,” Baumeister said while explaining his choice to study how people think about the future.

Through his study, he found that 4% think about the past; 40% think about the present, a twenty-minute period that spans ten minutes before now and ten minutes after; while 14% of people think about the future.

Baumeister explained that thoughts focused on the present let positive emotions be maximized. On the other hand, thoughts focused on the past and future have a greater connection to negative emotions.

Despite the negativity caused by thinking about the uncertain future, these thoughts are considerably more meaningful. Planning is an overall pleasant experience which lowers stress, provides a greater control of thoughts and causes less mental fatigue.

“Planning tames the subconscious, allowing you to relax,” Baumeister said.

The idea that the future causes negative emotions and planning causes positive emotions seems like a contradiction but it is through this understanding that Baumeister was able to understand the two steps to planning.

The first step can be referred to as “Dream Big” in which wide, expansive ideas are turned into dreams within the planner’s head. The second step, “Get Real,” quickly follows, leaving the dreamer in the dumps as they come to terms with everything that must happen for the dream to become reality.

The second step is often skipped by those exploring business ideas and when it is not, it may force the individual to deal with the harsh reality of building a successful business.

Information on more events like this one can be found here


Article and Photo by Audrey Gee