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I really love this phrase: Anticipation is power.

I believe I heard it from Tony Robbins.

We usually condition ourselves to react: If (and when) this happens, then I’ll do that.

The problem with reacting is that we’ll always be late to the game. I’m not saying it’s too late to change a situation after it happened. But it’s easier to act before, maybe even avoid a bad situation altogether.

Reacting usually doesn’t involve any thinking. Which means we’re easily drawn into it. Unfortunately, we will often react the same way we’re used to. Which translates into not solving anything.

When we learn to anticipate — which has absolutely nothing to do with creating false expectation — we avoid a ton of unnecessary pain and frustration in our lives.

By anticipating a situation we put ourselves in a favorable position. Now we can play with possible solutions, come up with a plan and then act when it’s time.

Positive anticipation

To some of you, this may sound as woo woo talk. But it’s actually backed by science. There are many studies involving the power of positive psychology.

In his book, The Happiness Advantage (which I recommend), author Shawn Achor mentions a study in which people who just thought about watching their favorite movies actually raised their endorphin levels by 27%. He says, “Anticipating future rewards can actually light up the pleasure centers in your brain as much as the actual reward will.”

Anticipatory joy is often greater than the joy brought to us by experiencing the very things we anticipate. – Alex Lickerman, M.D. and author

If we keep reacting, we’re setting ourselves up for difficult times. We will always be one step behind in life, no matter what.

Negative anticipation is also part of the equation.

A dangerous one, if you will.

Being able to anticipate a possible problem, or challenge, is a great thing. It gives you time to work, to prepare.

But you must be aware that negative anticipation has the power to ruin the present moment. When anticipation transforms into worrying about something that might never happen, you’re just wasting your time. This is the quickest road to stress and frustration.

What about the “now”?

I hear you.

It’s easy to be confused by all of this. But anticipating doesn’t necessarily mean living with your head stuck in the future.

“Feel happy with what is, and eagerness for what is to come.” – Abraham-Hicks

This quote says it all.

We gotta live and enjoy the present moment. Remembering that what we do now will shape the future.

Some of us love planning every step of the way, nothing wrong there. But it could lead to not being fully connect to the moment.

Be aware and know that all we really have is the now. It wouldn’t even be possible to anticipate the future without the present moment. And the more aware we are of the present moment, the better are our chances of creating a great future.

This is a complex subject. I’m not sure if I was able to make it as clear as I could.

If it sparkles your curiosity, then I believe it served its purpose.

If you wish to share your opinion about the power of anticipation, please do so. Leave me a comment below.

Always remember: leaders anticipate.