The Misplaced Appetite For Novelty And Change

And now, for something completely different. In Yankelovich polling summarized in one of the research firm’s Monitor Minute bulletins, 61 percent of respondents subscribed to the statement, “I would welcome more novelty and change in my life.” A breakdown of the results by age group was at once puzzling and predictable. Seventy-one percent of the poll’s youthful “echo boomers” said they’d welcome more novelty and change in their lives, as did 66 percent of Gen Xers, 59 percent of baby boomers and 48 percent of the “matures” (i.e., those even older than baby boomers). While that’s the pattern of response one would expect, it makes no sense whatsoever! It’s in the nature of things that people in their early 20s get a steady diet of “novelty and change,” so they ought to yearn for some stability. Folks in their 50s and beyond, meanwhile, are deep in their accustomed ruts and would benefit greatly from more novelty and/or change in their lives. Thus, the poll’s findings offer yet another example of people’s tendency to wish for the opposite of what they actually need.