Course sections

Module Seven: Anticipatory Reality

Anticipatory Reality

Anticipatory reality is helpful in appreciative inquiry because it makes us focus on the future and what we want. One of the first steps of anticipatory reality is creating an image of the future and determining what can help you get there. We can change things, add new themes, and make goals – we are constantly fashioning our anticipatory reality. 


Imagining a Successful Future Will Affect the Present 

We know that our past does not always identify our future. But planning our future can affect our present. Thinking ahead to our successful future can increase our positivity in our lives today and raise our confidence. When we focus on the successes we want to achieve and imagine them coming true, it can give us great hope for the future, which in turn gives us hope for today. We can stay positive by knowing that we can achieve that successful future and always keep a positive attitude about reaching our goals. 


  • Positive outlook 
  • Goal successes 
  • Improved focus  


Controlling Negative Anticipation 

Many of us are the type of people who automatically assume the worst in any situation. We start to anticipate anything that can go wrong and try to determine how we would handle anything that comes up. But if we learn to control these negative anticipations, we can begin to see any situation from the positive side. When we view the positive aspects of a situation, we feel more confident about our ability to handle them. Because no matter how big or scary a situation may seem, remaining positive and changing how we view the problem can make anything possible. 


  • Watch for hidden negative thoughts or assumptions 
  • Avoid jumping to conclusions 
  • Realize the problem is in the situation – not you 


Current Decisions Will Be Influenced Positively 

The decisions we make today can influence how we see things later. When we limit our negative anticipations and concentrate on creating a positive outlook, our current decisions and thoughts begin to develop into a positive form of thinking, which can improve our overall confidence. Worrying about what may or may not happen or what could go wrong in a situation can drain our bodies and make us feel as though we don’t have any hope. But if we change our thoughts today and limit the negativity we allow in our planning, our decisions can be influenced by positivity and will help us make better choices in our everyday lives. 


  • More confidence in your decisions 
  • Less negative or anxious feelings 
  • Positive outlook on future decisions 


Base It on Data and Real Examples 

One of the negative things about anticipatory reality is that we often base our thoughts and conclusions on things that we have heard or have overplayed in our own heads. We begin to think about the worst thing that could happen or anything that could go wrong, but we have nothing to base it upon. Instead, we should always focus on the facts of a problem and realize what is actually there.  

For example, you forgot to turn in a weekly report to your manager. Part of you begins to panic and starts thinking of the negative possibilities that could come from it, such as employee demerits, upsetting your boss or even getting fired. But when you stop to look at the facts and data that are involved in this situation, we can remain calm and positive. We know that (in this instance), the manager allows reports to be turned in a day late with a reasonable explanation. He has told you before that if something comes up, you are free to go speak with him. Once you’ve reviewed this helpful piece of information to yourself, you feel less worried about the little mistake you make and feel more confident about picking yourself back up and moving on. 


  • “Word of mouth” stories 
  • The “maybe” or “what if” possibilities 
  • Dramatized outcomes or over-reactions 
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