Anticipation or Anxiety?


This week’s blog post comes from Scott Peterson.

We can be our own worst enemy or we can be our best asset. It depends on our mental model/perspective/attitude. When we look at things through a lens of anticipation instead of a lens of anxiety, we can experience greater fulfillment. 

What is the difference between anticipation and anxiety? 

  • Anxiety is the fear of what might happen (experiencing failure in advance, negative, etc.)
  • Anticipation is the excitement about something that is going to happen (preparing for something that you enjoy, positive, gives you energy, etc.)

To quote The Most Interesting Man in the World (from the Dos Equis commercials) — “I don’t always use my lens of anticipation, but when I do good things usually happen.”

Anxiety can pop up for a ton of different reasons (unexpected changes, tasks we are avoiding, tough subjects or conversations, etc.). When I operate from a fear-based perspective, my anxiety increases and my productivity, energy and fun drop dramatically. The reason for this is that I spend all my time thinking about all the different things that could go wrong (before they do) and then I procrastinate. It is a vicious cycle.  

Anticipation is also thinking about the future; however, it is the antonym of anxiety because you’re looking at things from a positive perspective. For example, ask yourself, “What if I lean into this tough conversation?” There are many positive outcomes:

  • You could have a stronger relationship with that person
  • You might be able to really help him/her be more successful
  • You could help him/her grow as a person
  • And many other possibilities

In the next week I am going to approach situations with the lens of anticipation, and as a result I will have less anxiety when problems pop up. 

Please share one example of when you or someone you know took the anticipation highway and avoided the anxiety tunnel.

Have a great week and continue leading the Interstates way!

Scott Peterson