A Fortune Cookie Future: How Anticipation Paves the Way to a Brighter Future

Fortified with the company of good friends, I set out to make a new path for my future. Lacking some gumption and direction, what better way to open the window to enlightenment than to crack open some mass produced fortune cookies.

If it might be any indicator of the ominous future I stared down, I decided not one, not two, but three fortune cookies would give me the best chance at getting something ‘good.’

Fortune Cookie Message #1: A cheerful letter or message is on its way to you.

Right? Who uses the postal service in the age of instant messaging?

Fortune Cookie Message #2: Your practice and hard work will soon pay great dividends.

Oh great. So the 18-hour work days were going to pay off. Maybe I won’t mind my thinning hair after all.

Fortune Cookie Message #3: More art in your life at this time will help you feel better.

I currently was working on a piece titled, “What’s the Point?” I was not sure that dark of a theme would be good to focus on, but who would know better than a commercialized fortune cookie?

Returning from my visit with friends, I set my three little fortune slips on the kitchen table. When life does a 180 on ya, how else does one align themselves with success again?

Each day I read my three fortune cookie messages. Not believing any of it, but obediently complying, trusting that one day the rest of me would catch up with the new future.

Much to my surprise, a cheerful letter did arrive via the US postal service! It was a book of encouragement and a bonus check for the hard work I had been doing at my new job.

I continued to work on my art, and it was making me feel better. I was adding beauty to the world around me.

My hard work and practice did pay off when I received a job promotion, a raise, and a bonus all in one day!

Now depending on which cosmic side of life you subscribe to, these could have been mere coincides or could a silly fortune cookie really determine one’s future?

What I started to realize is the fortune cookie messages are not prophetic as much as they changed my attitude and perspective. In reading my three little slips of hope each morning, I discovered my three completely impersonal messages created an attitude of anticipation in me. Not only did it give me direction, but it created an attitude of expecting good things to happen and that what I was doing would pay off. These little daily affirmations created in me a habit of anticipating good things to come to pass even when the present did not look so great.

The Science of Anticipation

Anticipation: The act of looking forward

When one anticipates something they are anticipating something positive to happen in the future. Neil Patel’s article, “The Psychology of Anticipation and What It Means for Your Conversion Rates,” explains:

We can’t stop anticipation from happening. The human brain is always on and always working. Anticipation is rooted in the portion of the brain known as the cerebellum, which controls “automatic, “non-thinking” behavior.

With this anticipation always in play, the human brain desires more dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical neurotransmitter. It’s released from the brain’s frontal lobe and acts as a stimulant that prevents pain, stimulates arousal and causes excitement. Dopamine stimulation happens when we experience and expect good things. Anticipating positive events sustains the output of dopamine into the brain’s chemical pathways.

Anticipation is its own reward. When we anticipate good things, our brain releases dopamine, an all-natural way to feel great!

Anticipation: The Psychology of Waiting” by Wray Herbert, author of, On Second Thought: Outsmarting your Mind’s Hard-Wired Habits,’ revealed:

Anticipation of experiences was linked to greater happiness, more pleasantness, more excitement and less impatience than was anticipation of material possessions. Looking forward to a vacation or other such experience was also more positive overall than not thinking of any new purchase.

So what trigger are you going to put in your daily routine to inspire an attitude of anticipation? A post-it note on the bathroom mirror? Subscribe to a daily Positive Quotes? Get pumped on a TedTalk? A postcard of your next vacation destination? Whatever it may be, do yourself and your brain a favor and infuse the attitude of anticipation into your mindset.

We will still work long hours, feel too tired to do certain hobbies, but we can adopt an overall new found belief that good things do come to fruition. The heartache, obstacles, disappointments that we experience in life are only temporary. There is always a new day tomorrow, and there is always goodness we can anticipate.

Embrace all that is good, and remember, time and friendship does heal all things. #igniteyoursoul #anticipategood