You and I and all the 7 billion and counting people on the planet are endowed with the magic of time travel. We can visualize our futures in the minutest of details. We can set goals that take us in the direction of desired futures. And yet, somewhere between where we stand and where we want to get to, we come across obstacles that feel like driving with the brakes on. What we do not realize is that the vast majority of these obstacles live in our own mind.
The tendency to catastrophize and to focus on what can potentially go wrong is inherent in us because of its evolutionary advantages. After all, if our ancestors continually hoped for the best, they would not have survived the nearest saber-toothed tiger, nor passed on their optimistic genes to the oodles of us roaming the planet today.
However, in the relative safety of the 21st century, this negativity bias may be holding us back. It may be affecting our interpretation of past events and painting our future gray. Or it may be giving rise to regret over having done the wrong thing and staying stuck in a cycle of rumination. When beliefs are biased and exaggerated, life can begin sounding like an apocalypse!