Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

I'm in a miserable stupor.

The World Cup finished last Sunday and, as an act of arrant cruelty, Major League Baseball took time off for its best players to vacation in Washington D.C., have a few beers and discuss nasty tweets they sent when they were teenagers.

What am I supposed to do? 

I'm bereft, forlorn, pained beyond measurements of magnitude. 

People at Starbucks avoid standing anywhere near me. In restaurants, servers bring an extra napkin for me to cry into. 

My wife looks upon me with a pity usually reserved for dogs tied up to parking meters, while their owners enjoy a glass of wine or four in a bar.

I feel a loss akin to at least five defeats suffered by my San Francisco Giants.

Finally, this morning I felt some relief. No, it's not because baseball's back tomorrow -- even if I'll have to bear the abject St. Louis Cardinals play the permanently suspect Chicago Cubs.

Instead, it's because large-brained scientists have declared that sports can really make you miserable.

Peter Dolton and George MacKerron at the University of Sussex in England researched human feelings around the outcomes of football matches. 

That's saacker matches, to some of you.

What they discovered was that humans feel much more miserable after their teams lose than they feel happy when they win.

What a pungent metaphor for life itself.

The researchers used an app that pestered 32,000 people for their feelings. The strongest feelings -- one way or another -- came in the first hour after the game. 

Worse, the elation after a win dissipated far more quickly than the misery after a loss.

Even worse, the feelings are more pronounced if you actually go to the game and bathe in every moment of the action.

I'm concerned, however, that the research concluded that humans are stupid.

"Fans systematically over-estimate the probability of their team winning and never revise and learn from experience," the researchers say.

This doesn't correspond to my own feelings. I rarely go to a game, or watch one on TV, where I'm convinced my team will win.

This despite my Giants winning the World Series three times this decade.

It seems, though, that many fans go to games with the sincere belief that their team will win.

Even if they're Cleveland Browns fans. Or, I suppose Cleveland Cavaliers fans during the NBA Finals. (Disclosure: Also a Golden State Warriors fan.)

"It would appear from our results that football fans are irrational," say the researchers, with faces straighter than they perhaps should be.

Dolton and MacKerron confess that their research doesn't take account of elements within the game that might spike happiness or misery.

It doesn't take account of the positive feelings engendered by being with your fellow fans -- the singing, the banter, the shared joy and pain, the occasional tinctures of relief.

But I'll leave you with one of their sentences, so that you can decide how much you can take for the rest of this year:

The negative consequences of losing on happiness are around 4 times higher than the positive consequences of winning. 

I wonder if it's the same with winning in business.

I doubt it. Business is far less fun and far, far less important.

Published on: Jul 18, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.