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MedZag
02-13-2009, 06:39 AM
Stumbling Into Happiness is a great book written by a psychologist at Harvard named Dan Gilbert. He's done a great deal of exhaustive research looking at how our brain processes information, and how some of the ways our brain processes information actually work against us being happy.

In one chapter, he discusses how anticipation and expectations, such as for a vacation, a new car, a date, etc work against our happiness because reality rarely, if ever, comes to meet the 'fabrications' our brain fills into the 'expectations' box. Indeed, studies have shown that we derive a great deal more happiness from spontaneous activities and outings, because our brain lacks time to ruminate over its expectations for said activities, leading us to focus more on the enjoyment of the activity or experience itself instead of what we expected of it. It's one of the main hypotheses of Dr. Gilbert for his book and the reason for his word choice of "Stumbling" into happiness as the title.

Which brings me to my point. There are lot of EXPECTATIONS surrounding this team. We've had a whole off-season and season to ruminate over what we EXPECT of this team. And, like many things in life, the team itself has failed to meet the expectations we all have fabricated for them in our hours spent mulling over these boards, watching games, etc. I was lucky enough to "stumble" into last nights game. I've been swamped all week with work and didn't really have an opportunity to mull over what I expected from the team in Moraga.

And you know what? I enjoyed the game a heck of a lot more as a result.

Look, in terms of EXPECTATIONS of this team, they should have rolled into Moraga and trounced a shorthanded St. Mary's team still reeling from the loss of its leader. They have the talent for it, we all know what.

But what last night's game ACTUALLY WAS was a gutsy win on a very difficult opposing court. Sure, the boys made some big errors, they didn't hit the boards well, they had some bone-headed turnovers, they missed some bunnies. But they played hard, played through some tough officiating, hit some big shots, got some great contributions from unexpected players, and caught a couple lucky breaks and walked out of the building with a tough win.

Me, I'm planning on trying to file the "expectations" box into the closet for the rest of the season. I've found being being a Zags fan is a lot more enjoyable that way.

Now, let's "stumble" into a great end of the season. :D

FuManShoes
02-13-2009, 07:07 AM
MedZag, you raise an interesting point. I suppose as it pertains to fans, you are right. If we stop and enjoy what this team is rather than bemoan what it isn't, we might well be entertained and sleep better. However, I think the hypothesis is flawed when it comes to the team, any team that aspires to greatness. We fans aren't the only ones with high expectations - players and to a lesser extent coaches have spoken of them or scheduled to them. So for the team to leave Moraga merely satisfied with the win rather than pissed over the sloppy play and hungry to shore things up seems foolhearty. Can one ever achieve their dreams if they live only in the moment and never pause to set a goal and regularly stop to evaluate their progress toward that goal? Fans can do it as sport, players must do it out of necessity. So come on Zags, achieve our, I mean, your dream!

gamagin
02-13-2009, 07:20 AM
I enjoyed the game, too.

Watching these guys work their way through the various challenges, not the least of which was the desperation in the actions of the fine smc leaders (and seniors) who were essentially playing to salvage their season.

no small task.

Gufan
02-13-2009, 07:21 AM
Great post, Med

rennis
02-13-2009, 07:34 AM
I'm going to cut/paste that introduction into an email to all of my current and ex-girlfriends. Listen ladies, if you didn't have your perfect relationship and wedding all mapped out by age 12, maybe you'd be a little happier in life.

just a thought.

gamagin
02-13-2009, 08:09 AM
I'm going to cut/paste that introduction into an email to all of my current and ex-girlfriends. Listen ladies, if you didn't have your perfect relationship and wedding all mapped out by age 12, maybe you'd be a little happier in life.

just a thought.

THAT is funny. best,

roxdoc
02-13-2009, 08:20 AM
Great post MedZag which I intend to take to heart. What makes it hard is the board starts in the summer raising expectations about this or that player is going to be a beast, play lock down defense, have a blow up season, etc. and many tend to be sucked into the frenzy.

At some time during the season reality sets in that they are what they are and what you see is what you are going to get for the rest of the season. Just enjoy the rest of the ride....but just think, next year so and so is just going to have a huge break out.......

ZagSlug
02-13-2009, 08:40 AM
Stop Making Sense MedZag. This is supposed to be a message board! :D


http://www.bestweekever.tv/bwe/images/2007/08/Stop%20Making%20Sense.jpg

Reborn
02-13-2009, 08:53 AM
To me basketball is not supposed to make sense. The idea of not having expectations in sports, may sound nice, but it's totally obsurd. Basketball is a game. And it's a game of passion, and I think, temporary insanity. It's a time that we can "get out of reality" and escape for two hours into an unreal world. And that's what it's supposed to be. For me, as a fan, basketball is not a game of being calm, cool and collected. I am passionate about this sport. I yell and scream and make illogical comments throughout the game. At times I need to really hold myself back in fear of throwing something through my TV set. Sometimes I scream so loud that I'm sure that my neighbors can hear me and I feel embarrassed and apologetic the next day. But they understand me, and since I'm otherwise a good neighbor they always forgive my temporarily insanity. Outside of sports, I can be very rational and practice "right thinking." But I need a break from all the perfectionistic thinking.

In all honesty, would all you guys who "don't" have expectations, felt better if we had lost last night? I've never liked neutrality, which this "no expectation" philosophy sounds like to me. Yes. You may feel better than I do when we lose because for me it does hurt when the Zags lose. So what. I'd rather hurt for a few days, and feel passionate and caring about something or someone than be neutral and feel "better."

siliconzag
02-13-2009, 09:14 AM
My life partner and I hosted a basketball party last night in the Napa. Three season ticket holders and die hard friends from Spokane joined us, as well as a ski buddy from Australia and his two teenage sons, who were incidentally, less Gonzaga fanatics than the rest of us. The game as it unfolded was far closer than most of us "expected" and therefore the cognitive dissonance (a concept introduced by Leon Festinger in the 60s--from Stanford no less) was heightened, and the grumbling began half way through the first half. Due to the fact that I was busy making sure everything was served at the right moment, and that everyone's wine glass was filled, I was only able to watch the last 10 minutes. It was enough. I also enjoyed the game. But not for having low expectations. I was able to detach myself from the team enough last night, that my enjoyment came from watching the absurdity of getting upset over a bunch of 19-20 year old overgrown adolescents behave in a perfectly predictable manner, and additionally, watching a bunch of middle aged Zag fans over react to what has become life as we know it.

I think, and perhaps I am wrong on this, that we are longing for 1999 (the equivalent of basketball Camelot for Gonzaga). And I think the more I honor that year for what it was, a once in a lifetime accomplishment, the better off I am. Gonzaga is at best a top 20 program this year. The idea that they have a chance at outdoing the Cavalry-Frahm-Santangelo team is a pipe dream.

MedZag, I like your approach of adjusting expectations. And a busy mind is unable to fabricate and become overly grandiose. These Zags for me are still lovable enough, and they are still my team, but as soon as I tell myself that no matter how badly I want them to win, they likely are going to have a rough go with teams in the top 20, then I feel better (another way of lowering the bar). Seems like the team agrees with me on this. If there is over reaching by this squad, it is difficult to detect, and as the season progresses, they don't appear to do so (with the exception of Matty).

BTW, I loved Malsteins analysis of the year so far on another thread. Like him, I suspect we are going to be lucky to survive the first weekend of the tournament. And we will not make the elite 8 unless we are in a bracket where there are big upsets early.

Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good. It's great if you are both. We've been neither, so far this year. We've been pretty good, and not that lucky, save last night.

Sili

zagfan24
02-13-2009, 09:43 AM
My best friend once wrote: "People spend their whole lives falling off of pedestals we put them on."

It's what I find funny about somebody or some team being called out for being overrated. The team are what they are...the media and the fans decide where to rank them. I had really high expectations for the Zags this season, and if those were too high -- that's my error. They play their asses off and I am still very proud to be a Gonzaga fan.

titopoet
02-13-2009, 10:21 AM
I love the post. My two cents about the expectations and reality comes from a seminar I took. It has served me well over the years. The core concept is that problems stem not from expectations, rather it is our response to reality. I have an expectation then reality is different. I then blaming reality for not aligning to my expectations. Unhappiness does not stem from expectations, but from blaming reality. Very intellectually description, let me first put in my life and then in regards to GU.

My wife is pregnant, and we both expect a trouble free pregnancy that goes to term. Last night, She had to cancel her class at GU because she started to feel contractions. We spent the night watching GU beat St. Mary from the Hospital. Not what we expected. As it turn out, it was false labor and she is doing okay. As I went to the Hospital, I had to workout that reality was different than what I imagined and the respond to reality. As we waited for the test to come back, anger does nothing, being with my wife and distracting her by watching the game does. If I stayed blaming reality, it would be good.

In regards to the Zags, fully expected them to beat Memphis and had tickets. They didn't. It did stop me from rooting for them and keeping them as my team. I also fully expect them to make a deep run in March. They have the talent, experience and ability. Saying this does not mean I am blind to their shortcomings, with lack rebounding being the main one. I also know that this season is one where there seems to lack a great team. Any number of teams could get hot and make a run, so why not GU? If they don't, there is always next year. And even if they do, then there is always next year.

Either way, I will have a baby in my world.

MedZag
02-13-2009, 10:57 AM
MedZag, you raise an interesting point. I suppose as it pertains to fans, you are right. If we stop and enjoy what this team is rather than bemoan what it isn't, we might well be entertained and sleep better. However, I think the hypothesis is flawed when it comes to the team, any team that aspires to greatness. We fans aren't the only ones with high expectations - players and to a lesser extent coaches have spoken of them or scheduled to them. So for the team to leave Moraga merely satisfied with the win rather than pissed over the sloppy play and hungry to shore things up seems foolhearty. Can one ever achieve their dreams if they live only in the moment and never pause to set a goal and regularly stop to evaluate their progress toward that goal? Fans can do it as sport, players must do it out of necessity. So come on Zags, achieve our, I mean, your dream!

Absolutely. My post was merely in reference to us as fans. For as much as we stress, rejoice, despair, and worry about this team's success, we have no control on the performance of our players (except, of course, if we're offering encouragement from the stands). Thus, if we can't tangibly DO anything to help MEET our expectations, my argument is that we should try to let go of them.

Now if you're the players, of course, its a different argument. But I would argue that for them, these things aren't expectations... they're goals.

I'd also like to clarify my point. My point wasn't to LOWER expectations. Lowering expectations means you still have... expectations. It's a sticky trap. My point was maybe that we should LET GO of some of our expecations. Not alter them, not lower them, but instead focus on the experience of fandom, the enjoyment of a basketball game where 10 players on a court share common inherently conflicting desires to be the winner.

There was a lot to ENJOY about last night's game. It was a tightly fought contest the whole way, with numerous lead changes and some big shots on both sides. The building was loud and exciting. THOSE things can bring just as much enjoyment as fulfilled expectations.


In all honesty, would all you guys who "don't" have expectations, felt better if we had lost last night? I've never liked neutrality, which this "no expectation" philosophy sounds like to me. Yes. You may feel better than I do when we lose because for me it does hurt when the Zags lose. So what. I'd rather hurt for a few days, and feel passionate and caring about something or someone than be neutral and feel "better."

Can you desire to win without truly expecting to win? I'd argue absolutely so. I doubt many of us Zag fans truly could have comprehended or EXPECTED to beat Minnestoa or Stanford or Florida that trip to the E8 in '99. Make no mistake, I was absolutely ROOTING for the Zags last night. I was making faces, yelling, clapping at my TV. But afterward I was more filled with a sense of enjoyment of the game itself than any worry or aggravation over performance of any players or any mistakes made.

MedZag
02-13-2009, 10:08 PM
Bump.

drogba11
02-13-2009, 10:54 PM
Question

Has a GU team ever gone undefeated in conference play? Guess what we're on the verge.

Reborn
02-13-2009, 10:59 PM
Yes. I believe a couple of times in the last ten years.

ZagSlug
02-14-2009, 06:26 AM
2004 and 2006

zagray
02-14-2009, 07:25 AM
It is as simple as that for me. I have played competitive sports for 40 years, high school, college, rec. The most successful teams i have been on have that mentality. Put aside the stats. I have seen guys pouting after big wins because they went without a hit. I have seen the same guys go home happy, full of glee after a loss because they had a four hit game. I have seen guys crawl in a hole if they don't reach their own lofty expectations, negatively effecting the team. All for one and one for all, these are the best teams and the funnest to play on. If this group of Zags can grasp this mentality the sky is the limit. No one players expectations or goals should be above the teams. Win pretty, win ugly, and always with class. Take it with glee, in reality its why we play the game.

MedZag
02-14-2009, 08:46 AM
MedZag. Maybe you felt good because we won. Let me know how you feel the next time we lose.

See, I'm actually trying to make a point in this regard. There were people upset after the win. Why would someone be UPSET after a WIN? Because the "win" didn't match the "win" they expected in their heads.

I'm not trying to make any point in regards to losing. If you're a fan, it sucks no matter what. The memphis game would leave you feeling crappy even if you had NO expectations for the team going into that game. No matter what your expectations for this team, no one wants anything but success for the team.

What I AM trying to say is that these imperfect wins can be a lot more enjoyable if you learn to let go of the "imperfect" part and focus more on enjoying the "win" part. It's not "lowering expectations" or "expecting to lose" or anything like that. It's making a more concerted effort to enjoy the experience of fandom. To revel in each individual play of the game, to cheer each individual success, instead of worrying about what everything means in the grand expectations of the team.

I don't know, maybe this is too out there. It's the philosophy degree in me coming out.

Shanachie
02-14-2009, 09:18 AM
There are lot of EXPECTATIONS surrounding this team. We've had a whole off-season and season to ruminate over what we EXPECT of this team. And, like many things in life, the team itself has failed to meet the expectations we all have fabricated for them in our hours spent mulling over these boards, watching games, etc. :D

Absolutely right on. Expectations drive the enjoyment (or lack of enjoyment)we get out of many things.


The idea that they have a chance at outdoing the Cavalry-Frahm-Santangelo team is a pipe dream.


The funny thing is that at the time, expecting three wins out of the '99 team would have been a pipe dream, too. Nobody expected it; that's part of why we enjoyed it so much. As much as we all would have liked the Zags to beat UCLA in '06, we would not have enjoyed that run as much as we did the first one because our expectations were higher in '06.


No one players expectations or goals should be above the teams.

No argument from me, but this thread is about the expectations and attitudes of the fans, not the players.

MedZag
02-15-2009, 08:25 AM
Think this needs a bump after last nights game. I know our perimeter D is somewhat wishy-washy, but USF was playing like a team possessed last night.

I only caught the 2nd half, but things that made me happy last night:
-Austin displaying clutchness from the line
-Josh declaring his territory in the paint.
-Meech's wheels and career high.
-Ira's intimidation factor up 3X with the black jersey and headband.
-Micah's clutch answer 3 on the big USF run with ~10 minutes left.
-The team displaying patience on offense through USF's runs.

MedZag
03-10-2009, 04:14 PM
Lot to make you happy as a Zag fan now, but thought I'm bump this since there are a lot of expectations floating about now.