“There are two kinds of forecasters: those who don’t know and those who don’t know they don’t know” wrote John Galbraith, a Harvard economist (who was also the US Ambassador to India.)

There is an innate desire in all of us to be praised, flattered and told all nice things about ourselves, our children and our future. In olden days it was all about ‘you will own a car, your own house etc’

Today with the availability of home loans and car loans, every Tom Dick and Harry owning everything in sight, maybe they say you will reach the moon in this lifetime. I haven’t checked.

In olden days, young men used to proclaim that they were experts at palm reading and would clutch the palms of gullible young women and prattle on and on. Now of course there is no need for such ploys — you just claim your girlfriend and why on earth shouldn’t one at least hold hands. Actually there are two sets of people, one who will not get anything read, and methinks it’s because heart of hearts they believe, and therefore do not want to know. Second, there are people who will go to any lengths and go to anyone or everyone either because they believe or they love to hear about themselves.

We hear on a daily basis, experts’ predictions and fortunately for them, forget these predictions promptly. However, a research was done over a period of ten years covering 28,361 predictions from 264 self proclaimed forecasters and the forecasts were alarmingly inaccurate.

We believe every year that on June 6/8 it will shower and this year we were still waiting but started saying, ‘it’s cloudy…the temperature has come down’ etc conveniently forgetting the prediction.

Those who like to hear predictions, no matter what, are the ones who keep these guys in business. And fortunately for them no one can claim a refund of money or take them to court. One company is now threatening to sue a world famous auditing company for giving them incorrect facts which led them to buy a company and thereby lose millions of dollars!

Finally there are risks and ambiguities or uncertainties. You have a risk of dying young if you want to emulate Schumacher and you are certain of dying one day but you are certainly uncertain of when you are actually going to die.

There seems to be a morbid fascination about the subject of death. I know of someone who bought a property next to Apollo Hospital in Jubilee Hills and he not only built a house in record time but started living there all because it was predicted that he would have a heart attack and die if not given immediate attention. As if he was never going to travel to Secunderabad or LB Nagar or somewhere!

(Santha John is founder, director, Coachlife. Email: santha.john@coachlife.asia; www.coachlife.asia)