But how can that be, when the future in the distance past was seen as scary at that time? And yet, once the future became the past, we view it positively? Is it because of the “whew, made it through that one” psychological effect? I don’t know.
What brings this to mind is this excellent article by Bob Veres, “The Price Clients Pay for Worst-Case Forecasts“ August 27, 2013 in Advisors Perspectives about how the future is often seen negatively based on lots of news in the present about all the troubles there are.
The first and last pages set up and summarize, while the middle two pages support. Below are his ending points after developing how web searches can turn up lots of information (but not so much wisdom) for people.
“They’re going to walk into your office, just like they do with doctors now, with a self-diagnosis and a suggested course of treatment.”
“And then,” Stearns adds, “they come in to us and expect us to refute it, or give them a different perspective. Many times, their mind is made up and they don’t want a different perspective.” Your role, increasingly the role that advisors in the future will play, is to help the client see through the fog of short-term thinking and negative projections, and recognize the opportunities that tend to outweigh the dangers.
And, of course, that can only happen if you’re able to unplug from the prevailing viewpoint yourself, and recognize what is easy to see in hindsight, never easy to see looking forward: that the future has always been bright, and betting against its brightness has never before been a good bet.”
PS. I explored the medical analogy in this prior blog.