Why you don't get what you want; it's not what you expect | Jennice Vilhauer | TEDxPeachtree

  • Published on Dec 16, 2015
  • Psychologist Dr. Jennice Vilhauer explains the psychological and clinical reasons why *we* are at the heart of *why* we're not living the life that we want in this fascinating talk and what we can do about it.
    Award-winning psychologist Dr. Jennice Vilhauer has helped thousands change the course of their lives by teaching them how to harness the mind's power of anticipation to create positive future thought and action.

    Vilhauer is director of the Outpatient Psychotherapy Program at Emory Healthcare and assistant professor at Emory University’s School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science. She served as an Assistant Clinical Professor with the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles and was the Clinical Director of the Adult Outpatient Programs and the Director of Psychology at Cedars-Sinai.

    She earned a bachelor’s degree from UCLA, a Ph.D. from Fordham University and completed postdoctoral training in clinical research at Columbia University. She is author of Think Forward to Thrive: How to Use the Mind’s Power of Anticipation to Transcend Your Past and Transform Your Life and creator of Future Directed Therapy (FDT)®.
    This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at ted.com/tedx

Comments • 760

  • O O
    O O Hour ago

    Great video!!! Thank you for precious words to the speaker!!! I wish I could listen to it much earlier!!!!

  • Bryan Pratt
    Bryan Pratt Hour ago

    You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.

  • LeRoy Young
    LeRoy Young 2 hours ago

    Change your paradigm

  • Bill McQ
    Bill McQ 4 hours ago

    Lots of truth in this little present...

  • Kan Lumé
    Kan Lumé 5 hours ago

    You can't lose if you don't play.

  • Ralph Waters
    Ralph Waters 8 hours ago

    This sounds a lot like the old "est" Training developed by Werner Earhard 60 years ago. All this psych technobabble has a BS component, but if you adopt it, it works wonders. In other words, if you accept responsibility for everything you have in your life (this is the BS part), you can no longer convince yourself that you're an innocent victim (no excuses) and you now have the power to implement change (the useful part). Example1: You got a flat tire because you steered your car over that nail. Example2: Amy's bad date. She is empowered to fix it; call Mr. Wonderful back; maybe he'll give her another chance. Then go meet him with expectations of a great date, but (experience) if he orders a bunch of really expensive food be wary if he suddenly goes to the restroom: Tell the manager to prepare to nab him on his way out the back door (grin).

  • Skalka78
    Skalka78 10 hours ago

    If only "Amy" had realized that men actually love hot sweaty girls in yoga pants.

  • Joylinda Jenner
    Joylinda Jenner 10 hours ago

    You will be single until somebody decides they want to be with you, you will be unemployed until an employer hires you. It is out of your control & thinking positively won't make them change their mind. They do it by free will, not when you want them to do so.

  • Joylinda Jenner
    Joylinda Jenner 10 hours ago

    THIS is bull s***!!!!!!! Every time I have though positively, I have gotten socked in the gut. When I think with a neutral mind, I have no expectations & then I won't get a big let down.

  • Charles Long
    Charles Long 10 hours ago

    What do women consider a bad date? The man pays for everything? The man takes the lead, forces the woman to make a decision? The man leads the conversation, introduces the topics? The man pushes the woman to do something she regrets later? The man has planned the date to the utmost, every action, every conversation? The man is most concerned with the woman’s problems? The man suggests solutions for the woman’s problems? The man commiserates with the woman’s problems, but doesn’t offer a solution?

  • raj singh
    raj singh 14 hours ago

    Thank You.

  • Labas Rytas
    Labas Rytas 18 hours ago

    fairy tale to little children

  • Corvus Crow
    Corvus Crow 21 hour ago +2

    Her voice started me bleeding from my eyes... :>/

  • Luce S
    Luce S 23 hours ago

    at 35 I realised the things I 'want' are not it when I say I do get it. More than often it is the unexpected. The wants are ideals, dreams etc. Nothing in reality.

  • Kat Holiday
    Kat Holiday 23 hours ago +2

    This is powerful. I did this and changed my expectations about something I was selling. A very specialized musical item that I’ve been trying to sell for months and was so worried I’d never sell it. It cost thousands of dollars and last night I changed my expectation that I was going to sell it, and this morning it sold!!! This is so true! Thank you. This will change people’s lives especially those who feel stuck. I’m going to apply this technique to other areas of my life and see what happens :)

  • Kat Fiolet
    Kat Fiolet Day ago +2

    Thank you for this!!
    I love that it's an empowering message with practical tools by taking responsibility for oneself based on training our thoughts and taking action. Much gratitude for this resource!

  • Wayne Beeberger
    Wayne Beeberger Day ago

    what about living life without expecting what you want will make you happy

  • Jill HHB
    Jill HHB Day ago

    Why doesn't she win the lottery then?

  • sharon scheer
    sharon scheer Day ago


  • Claire Ellis
    Claire Ellis Day ago

    I don't know what i would do without RU-clip

  • Andre EWERT
    Andre EWERT Day ago +1

    she could do standup..a kind of coaching meets humour...like Steve Martin would Do

  • BANKO007
    BANKO007 Day ago

    The date story really shows the avaritious attitude that some people take to relationships.

  • olympischbriesje Nada Average

    I love your overall message, but this point at 04:42 is so false. Not buying a lottery ticket doesn't guarantee you losing, because you never involved into that lottery scam at all. In fact you'd better expect yourself to get yourself skills to earn more money than any lottery can provide. With the right mindset you can handle your money. Even if you win the lottery, 90% of the winners get them self in a financial disaster, because they never learned to manage a weird amount of money.

  • Anton
    Anton Day ago

    Everything Amy mentions about her dream guy in the date is superficial. Sounds like she expects good looks to equal good character. Or maybe she doesn't care about character.

  • Donna Hauge
    Donna Hauge Day ago +1

    The problem is y is this such a problem. Because we've been programmed this way duh. I've been told all my life by the system that no I do t get what I want

  • Chris Bova
    Chris Bova Day ago

    What was the initial situation that caused the self fulfilling prophesy? boy, we're we created like $#!+.

  • Ramzes Empire
    Ramzes Empire Day ago

    This was beyond weak

  • Elizabeth Long
    Elizabeth Long Day ago

    "◔ ◔¨ *
    ..inthemoment ;';;

  • Candersson Swedican

    Hmmm,,, I wanted to get my six pack back and i did it. I wanted a blue eyed red head I married one. I wanted my 1979 camero back I got it and restored it. I wanted a house I got it. I have for the most part gotten what I worked for...this video is boring...

  • James Purcer
    James Purcer Day ago

    So if I am poor and I expect to be able to acquire a partner or at least a date with an attractive woman, I'll be able to achieve it. BS. When she figures out that I'm not successful, she will ghost or make up some lame excuse for not wanting to date me anymore. This woman is full of it.

  • samudragupt473
    samudragupt473 Day ago +1

    Beautiful ! :-)

    SMI ZAKI Day ago


  • Elizabeth Long
    Elizabeth Long Day ago +1


  • Elizabeth Long
    Elizabeth Long Day ago +1

    `、、 `、、 `、、
    `、、 `、、 `、、

  • WhiteNight
    WhiteNight Day ago +3

    Jennice, you have the nicest smile I have seen, ever.

  • Vicarious Gamer
    Vicarious Gamer Day ago

    Ms Vilhauer, you've said a number of things about physical appearance that straight up knock people off the remote chance of success in achieving what they might want, beautiful tall, immaculate, etc. Many people are not and will never be those things. Society rejects those who will never be those things. You apparently reject those who will never be those things. To be successful is either out of luck, or to be groomed, the rest of us are only able to attempt to gather up the crumbs. A college degree grants no one success in achieving what they want. THAT is an expensive lottery ticket ! I gave up because of these things as I was shown time and time again that I do not fit in to what I was trying to achieve. All that was there for me were crumbs. Ultimately the realization of this prompted me to give up. I am near 60 and have tried, and tried, gave my very best to no avail. My best was never good enough. I bought the damn lottery ticket time and time again. Every time, every single time, I lost ! Your theory is quite flawed.

  • Two-MoonZ
    Two-MoonZ Day ago +5

    The universe brought me here. Thank you

    • Chris Bova
      Chris Bova Day ago

      @Two-MoonZ what came first though? That's all that matters.

    • Two-MoonZ
      Two-MoonZ Day ago

      @Chris Bova The universe feels the same way about you! Have a great life Chris!

    • Chris Bova
      Chris Bova Day ago

      The universe is a piece of plastic dog $#!+

  • Kamil Karnale
    Kamil Karnale 2 days ago

    A great lecture!!👍👌

  • Todd Boothbee
    Todd Boothbee 2 days ago

    Problem is, most of us have inane dreams, usually manufactured in one of the world's financial capitals.

  • Todd Boothbee
    Todd Boothbee 2 days ago

    She's not a mathematician, I bet.

  • Paolo Martini
    Paolo Martini 2 days ago

    Great. All true but I have a couple more questions.

  • Nicholas Chapman
    Nicholas Chapman 2 days ago +4

    Thank you Dr. Jennice Vilhauer. What an eye opening speach.

  • tim walsh
    tim walsh 2 days ago


  • Miracle Generator
    Miracle Generator 2 days ago

    If that man were meant for her he would’ve seen past the sweatiness and no make-up. And Amy could have communicated what happened and why she showed up like that. Then if he were a good loving man it could’ve created intimacy through vulnerability.

    • Theron Ash
      Theron Ash Day ago

      It all comes back to the bottom line.
      What was her expectation.

  • kris c
    kris c 3 days ago

    How many million have i won now? Takes the focus of your disbelief of winning but focusses on how much ;-) perfect afformation, it assumes it already happened

  • Ksenia Savlushina
    Ksenia Savlushina 4 days ago +9

    Thank you so much! I've found the way out of depression thanks to this video

  • Joe Blow
    Joe Blow 4 days ago

    Disappointment only happens when you expect something. Stop expecting and start living..... Joe blow

  • atcsulb
    atcsulb 4 days ago +2

    Powerful message. I just picked up her book!

  • M S
    M S 5 days ago +13

    "You can't lose, if you don't play."
    Marla Daniels // The Wire

  • Victoria Hodges
    Victoria Hodges 5 days ago +3

    If you live without expecting anything you may receive everything that's meant to be in your life. 🦄💞🦄💞🦄💞

  • Samiksha Khobragade
    Samiksha Khobragade 6 days ago

    How come this talk have such less views?? It's an eye opener talk. .

  • attilaevil
    attilaevil 6 days ago +2

    Very basic and this is true for maybe 79% to 84% of the people ! Many of the speakers of this world do not leave the ground or the first level. because that is the majority of THEIR CUSTOMERS. Also if the exact secret of the formula of the real and correct manipulation of reality gets out then all the customers would build their own lives without stops and delays ! Basically these speakers will be out of a Job and would have to lay their careers to rest ! Paradox: She is right BUT cannot help You get 3 or 4 steps ahead in your own life ! Talk is subjective ! Cause and effect is not enough in the field of the sciences of psychology !

  • BD Matzek
    BD Matzek 6 days ago

    Wow! Top notch TED Talk!

  • Kai
    Kai 6 days ago +10

    Just be happy in the moment and all the rest falls into place: The conscious mind is a tricky one and will never let you be happy, will always keep chasing the next "...Oh, this is what I want..."
    Just imaging a happy feeling is glowing within you, and life will get easier.

  • nelson carreiro
    nelson carreiro 6 days ago

    i get what I want all the time. it might take some time and other times its instant. It really is all in what you believe.

  • vincent's Soul
    vincent's Soul 7 days ago

    it''s can not be say more simple, it's like Purified Version of dozens self help techniques ,
    Thank You

  • Brian O'Dwyer
    Brian O'Dwyer 7 days ago +11

    This stuff is gold...

    Thank you...

  • Gail Lewis
    Gail Lewis 7 days ago

    When you plan for a positive outcome, work toward what you want consistently, you get disappointed because OTHER PEOPLE and so many factors that we truly can't control are actually part of the equation. No matter how hard you work, naivete and false hope don't guarantee positive outcome.

  • Lisa A Johnson
    Lisa A Johnson 7 days ago

    The reason folks give up on their dreams isn’t because they really think they can’t get what they want, but because they can’t take the disappointment of not attaining those goals or dreams. This is especially true in the relationship department. This is why everyone should be taught reality building techniques(aka witchcraft)in childhood. Not only do you need to know how to have the right mind set to achieve your goals, you need to learn how to directly control the process as well as recognize signs of false manifestations that can waste your time and cause disappointment(aka lower your vibration)

  • mdenyw
    mdenyw 8 days ago

    Lower your expectations

  • Thundzar
    Thundzar 8 days ago

    I mean, it was a nice message but.... I am triggered by the "J. R. Tolkien", where did the other R run away to? Did it not believe in itself enough to show up in the power point?

  • Galaxis
    Galaxis 8 days ago

    The problem is, I think that what I've decided I want is to not waste the time and effort of trying hard to get something only to discover that it's so much more difficult than I imagined and have the painful experience of failing to achieve. By not trying, I create a life that while being very little satisfying, is at least somewhat pleasant instead of a constant brutal struggle of disappointment. I might need to end that life by eating a bullet, but it feels like that's better than living for the pain of working hard(er) (though constantly losing motivation and giving up, then trying again and back and forth) and the roller coaster of hope and disappointment. I lived that way for too many years and I'm just too emotionally exhausted perhaps to believe that I can achieve anymore. What does one do about that? Nothing? Get old and die of cancer? Rationally, if I'm not going to plan and work for a better life, then I'm done already and should just end it. But... for some reason I'm still here.

  • Jorge Molina
    Jorge Molina 8 days ago

    This is very precise, I loved it

  • Illuminatus5
    Illuminatus5 9 days ago

    Not Always true. In my experience the partys i was less Looking Forward going too and where i had less expectations turned out to be better than others where i expected more but they turned out to be boring.

  • Cindy Lou
    Cindy Lou 9 days ago +6

    I was a very low key wife back in the day. We were in love. In the 8 years we were together I can honestly say that I never complained about anything. We divorced. I didn't know how to ask for what I wanted and needed...I always thought that was being needy and demanding. Our divorce broke his heart. I just never wanted to ask for anything. Now he has a demanding wife who gets everything thing she wants and runs the show. Men say they don't want bossy women but they stay with them

    • :Amadeus :Țurcanu-Moisl.
      :Amadeus :Țurcanu-Moisl. Day ago

      [ you cannot ask for anything, but for the divorce?How bout contemplating on the word" bias"? ]

    • Cindy Lou
      Cindy Lou Day ago

      @S A 💓 thank you

    • S A
      S A Day ago +1

      Believe me , you will find your value , he did.

  • Claire Hartney
    Claire Hartney 9 days ago

    Why can't TED talks get their sound right? I want to be able to hear the speakers without hearing their saliva and swallowing. Really puts me off listening which is a shame because it is usually really good content.

  • Henrik Larsen
    Henrik Larsen 9 days ago

    3 minutes in and I see it for what it is: A diet version of The Secret. "If you believe you will get it, the universe will send it your way". The comments even have the same "that's amazing, I don't have to DO BETTER, I just have to BELIEVE that I want it"! She even promotes buying Lotto tickets, how big a warning signal is that?!?

  • MDT -
    MDT - 9 days ago

    Every aspects of life, you create from scratches or even scraps. Work it out if see fits (no expectations included).if as expected, then proceeds.. till new obstacles arise, work it all over again. Its called experiment
    Stop when you get what you want.coz keeping it goin, would only makes you go through another failures wich is not what you want. At some point in life you want to stop being greedy

  • MDT -
    MDT - 9 days ago

    Fake it till you make it doesnt counts too

  • Sam Real
    Sam Real 10 days ago +6

    this is one of the best ted talks I've ever heard - well done!

  • Some Guy
    Some Guy 11 days ago

    wow... I m not disappoint .. really well explained

    ADDHOC 11 days ago

    I agree but want to add a thought: sometimes your anxious feelings are right: for instance i was too afraid to get a drivers licence. People said to just think positively etc But later i found out i really have health issues and really shouldnt drive a car. So my fear was right. So if you want something theoretically but feel bad when you try to do it: you might also consider the possibity that maybe you really are not capable of doing it. What you want maybe achieved in a totally different form

  • Self-Rewarding Qbits Under Human Control

    I think she is Amy...

  • Marcie Salkowski
    Marcie Salkowski 11 days ago

    I am Amy and thats why i stopped dating 😬

  • aldret aldret
    aldret aldret 12 days ago

    If we could have everything we want...we would know it. .... so what !!!! ?

  • Damon Savvy
    Damon Savvy 14 days ago

    Just let go of the outcome

  • DMSC
    DMSC 15 days ago +5

    WOW! That was just what I needed right NOW!

  • Bonnie Cochran Jensen
    Bonnie Cochran Jensen 16 days ago +26

    Lazy morning guess I'll listen to this Ted talk . Wow I'm glad I did. Thank you.

  • Lexi Des
    Lexi Des 17 days ago +1

    Great presentation! Expectations guide all our thoughts, feelings, & actions, which ultimately lead to results/outcome.
    Expect the best, Do the most, & Have your wish... Be, Do, Have; in that order!

  • Kal Heisenberg
    Kal Heisenberg 19 days ago

    Wow. Best Ted Talk ever

  • Livon Diramerian
    Livon Diramerian 20 days ago

    We better be positive.

  • Sedna Floating
    Sedna Floating 20 days ago +2


  • Aylbdr Madison
    Aylbdr Madison 22 days ago +9

    Her little low-key chuckle _"hmm hm hm hm"_ is totally cracking me up.

  • Pol Fartin
    Pol Fartin 23 days ago

    i want the last 13 mins back, but i don't expect to get it.

  • Pol Fartin
    Pol Fartin 23 days ago

    i want the last 13 mins back, but i don't expect to get it.

  • Pol Fartin
    Pol Fartin 23 days ago

    i want the last 13 mins back, but i don't expect to get it.

  • Pol Fartin
    Pol Fartin 23 days ago

    i want the last 13 mins back, but i don't expect to get it.

  • Pol Fartin
    Pol Fartin 23 days ago

    i want the last 13 mins back, but i don't expect to get it.

  • Sen Chi
    Sen Chi 28 days ago

    in my experience, this is one potential facet and a valuable one to look at. but there are overriding factors. this is not unequivocally true. if it was, there would be multiple different effective and fast training methodologies that wouldve uplifted most of the human race by this point with it spreading like wildfire globally. "living our dreams" would no longer be an idiom but a simple, understood and consciously practiced way of life for most of the population with more and more catching on each day. the amount of radical positive change we would see in the world if this were the end-all-be-all of living our desires would be astonishing on so many levels we can't even imagine a minute amount of whats possible from our current level of thinking.

    great concept. relevant. but just one piece of the pie. apply it but know we quite obviously don't have it all figured out consciously yet.

  • Doretha Davis
    Doretha Davis 28 days ago

    Very helpful...thank you😉

  • Randi
    Randi 29 days ago

    ha ha ha nice try TED Talks...almost believed it.

  • Randi
    Randi 29 days ago

    but first make a TED talk on "wanting anything" then this ted talk would make more sense

  • Bonka Hermit aka INTJudge

    Very interesting and informative. Filled with useful knowledge. Thanks for an awesome presentation.

  • Zoya Aleksandrovna
    Zoya Aleksandrovna Month ago +1

    One of the best talks I ever heard! Something to put on one's play list and listen to every day

  • Elizabeth Marks-Graham

    Winning mega millions for my family to get us all a better life I’m not one to blow it I’m someone who will use the money for good

  • TheFightaz
    TheFightaz Month ago

    When you prepare for something that hasn't even happened yet then you participate on the outcome, that is quantum physics in action. You are sending the vibrational energy to the quantum field that eventual gets you what it is you were conscious about at the default level or by true intention(design)

  • kiswanti surya utami

    Wow, awesome!

  • Edward Costa
    Edward Costa Month ago +12

    Less than a minute in and I'm already blown away and am rethinking my life. Wow. Even the title of this video is amazing. Initially I thought the "It's not what you expect" was pure clickbait, but it's actually the answer to the question of why you don't get what you want. Wow!

    • Galaxis
      Galaxis 8 days ago

      It is amazing to me that this helps anyone. Maybe you're young and still have the chance to be impressed upon. I hope you roll with it and it helps you.

  • Sarah L
    Sarah L Month ago

    I’m going to get myself a lottery ticket today and expect to win 🌸

    • Rachel B
      Rachel B Month ago

      So, what did you get??? :-)

  • Jhilik chakraborty
    Jhilik chakraborty Month ago

    it was lovely ...thanks jennice..