Meeting Your Expectations

There’s a very sensible post at Motley Fool that points out something that’s recognized too infrequently—that people’s beliefs about the future are influenced if not determined by their own past experiences:

Your view of history is heavily influenced by your own experiences. But just like the Navy, your own experiences are an incomplete view of the world, arbitrarily blocked by when and where you were born — the equivalent of reconnaissance planes with limited fuel range. There are important events sitting outside your viewpoint that, if you experienced them, would totally change how you view the world.

Take what the stock market did in your teens and 20s. There’s a body of research showing that events experienced in your youth shape how you’ll feel about a topic for the rest of your life. And depending on when you were born, stock market performance has ranged between dreadful and phenomenal during your teens and 20s:

It’s not just stocks. Baby Boomers came of age during a period of very high inflation and the absolute ascendancy of American industry. Those born in 1970 didn’t. That has implications for different views between the two groups not only for investing but consumption, lifestyle, and any number of other things.

This is not a case of right or wrong. It’s a case of experience, judgment, and preference. There’s no arguing about tastes.

2 comments… add one

  • jan

    “…..people’s beliefs about the future are influenced if not determined by their own past experiences”

    IMO, that’s very true. However, people’s own belief systems and expectations also can shape how they see the world — IOW their own personal reality, which oftentimes conflicts with others.

  • Guarneri

    “This is not a case of right or wrong. It’s a case of experience, judgment, and preference. There’s no arguing about tastes.”

    Hmmm. Isn’t avoiding this oh-whatever-will-be attitude what cumulative and broad knowledge, experience and formal education are about?

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