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31 days of ideas
Dan Gilbert

The psychology of your future self

Recommended by Eduardo Briceno

Over the next ten years, how much do you think your values, personality and preferences will change?

It turns out that they are likely to change more than you think. When reflecting on our past, we realize that throughout our life we have significantly changed. But when thinking of the future, we tend to greatly underestimate how much we will continue to evolve. In his fascinating seven-minute TED Talk, "The psychology of your future self," Harvard professor Daniel Gilbert shares powerful research revealing this consistent miscalculation.

As I reflect on professor Gilbert’s talk, I wonder whether this "illusion that we just recently became the people that we were always meant to be and will be for the rest of our lives" leads us to be less purposeful regarding who we become. Does thinking that we won't change prevent us from directing our own change? To me, this question is especially relevant in a world in which we are often inundated with social media and other messages that redirect our attention to biased events and ideas we don't proactively seek, yet powerfully shape us. As the new year approaches, could we use professor Gilbert’s insight that "human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they're finished" to more purposefully drive our own evolution?

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