Being nice to my future self
I've been working on this as a concept for a long time and I wanted to write it down to clarify it for myself, although of course you're welcome to read it too.
It's a pretty straightforward idea. When I was young I used to go out and get blind drunk or whatever, even when I knew that I had to get up early to work the next day.
Come the morning and the inevitable hangover, I'd be cursing myself for not taking it easy or going to bed before 3am.
After a while, I became aware that the person who had to get up early was actually me, and I could make life better for that person. It's not just me, research suggests that most people have the same level of compassion for their future selves as they do for other people in the present.
This idea was first described by Derek Parfit in a book called Reasons and Persons in the 1980s. He suggested that our future selves aren't really us at all, which comes about by a series of tiny changes in ourselves, day by day.
As psychologist Hal Hershfield says,
It's fine to think about that future self as another person—it just has to be another person you feel close to and have a lot of overlap with. The marriages that work best and the friendships that work best are the ones where people feel like the other person is almost part of them. So perhaps the key to being "future-conscious" is making sure that, insofar as our future self feels like someone else, it's someone we love and care about.
How does this help?
By making you more connected with your future self, you're less likely to procrastinate and more likely to do things that are beneficial.
There's now a website, futureme.org, where you can write emails to your future self. I've written myself a message to be delivered a year from today, containing my hopes for what my future self will be doing.
US Bank Merrill Edge have launched a website called Face Retirement that shows how you're going to look at retirement age in an effort to make you save more into your pension.
I really hope I don't look like this at 67.
But I get the general principle. Feel like eating the entire cake? Want to stay up to 5am because Bryan's still awake and you have Fear Of Missing Out? Might as well finish the bottle?
Think about what your future self would say, and listen to them/you.
Tomorrow morning you'll feel okay, and you can say "thanks, me from the past!"
In ten days we're leaving the UK for new adventures in Spain...Read more
Archive2016December 2016 (2)November 2016 (2)October 2016 (2)September 2016 (3)August 2016 (4)July 2016 (5)June 2016 (4)May 2016 (4)April 2016 (5)March 2016 (4)February 2016 (4)January 2016 (5)2015December 2015 (4)November 2015 (4)October 2015 (5)September 2015 (4)August 2015 (4)July 2015 (4)June 2015 (4)May 2015 (5)April 2015 (4)March 2015 (4)February 2015 (4)January 2015 (4)
What's this about?
Hi I'm Mat and I'm addicted to new hobbies. I used to think this was a bad thing but now I'm embracing it.
Writing them all up in this blog encourages me to finish projects, and helps me keep track of which ones I've tried.
I always laugh when I hear people struggle to spell words phonetically, when they say random words starting with that letter instead of the standard (if dull) NATO phonetic alphabet...
Also in Inside my brain...
I often find myself compulsively checking my phone...