The Psychology of Your Future self

15 Jan The Psychology of Your Future self

How much have you changed in the last decade? How much do you expect to change over the next ten years, and does it matter?

According to Dan Gilbert, Harvard psychologist and speaker, we all tend to vastly underestimate how much change is coming our way. Moreover, that change does matter – quite immensely. In his TED Talk, “The psychology of your future self”, he provides a compelling explanation of why.

For instance, why is it that teenagers spend good money to get tattoos, only to spend good money removing them ten years later? Why, moreover, do 20 and 30-years-olds rush into a marriage with someone who they rush to divorce hardly a decade later?

Dan explains that this is largely due to the fact, that we do not appreciate the power of time. It is true that the pace of change in our lives tends to slow as we get older. Yet it is an illusion for us to think that,who we are right now, is who we will always be in the future.

Indeed, our values, personalities, likes and dislikes change as we age. Your current extroversion may not last, for instance. You may find that you gain more energy from “alone time” rather than from socialising as the years go on. The same applies to our best friend. Many of us believe that this person will remain so in ten years, yet mostly likely this will change.

Why does this all matter? It matters because it affects how we make important decisions about our lives. It can hold us back. Imagine you are offered a great job opportunity in another part of the country, yet you are reluctant to move there out of fear of losing your best friend. Should you stay or go? Arguably, if the friendship is meant to last, then distance will not change that. Not moving to take this “perfect job”, however, could turn into a lasting regret later.

If you’re interested in learning about how time shapes our preferences, values and personality, then we at Tandem heartily recommend this great TED Talk to you. It is short, to-the-point and entertaining to listen to. There is also some compelling research in the presentation to back up the points being made. Enjoy!