We were recently struck by this YouGov polling on optimism and pessimism. We found the polling on which decade is the best decade of your life fascinating – especially when you broke down the results by age. The ages between 21-30 came out as the clear winner, but what was interesting was that for each age group there was a tendency to say their current years were the best years. For example, over-65s were three times as likely as the population overall to say the 61-70 age bracket was the best (12% of over-65s said this, compared to 4% of the complete sample).
This suggests that there are a group of optimists within the population who go through life always feeling they’re living their best years. With this in mind, we thought we’d look at the sorts of values groups who might have this sunny disposition. The heat map below shows where agreement with the statement “I want to have an exciting life” was most common. (This was the best proxy we could find for the type of mentality we’re describing).
The findings show that those on the line between Prospectors and Pioneers are most likely to agree with this. The Settler hemisphere, by contrast, was very unlikely to agree. We already know Settlers are prone to nostalgia. So we can perhaps guess that those in the Settler camp perhaps look back on their younger days with more fondness than those in the ‘live for the moment’ bottom left corner.