How Do You See Your Future SelfApr 14, 2020
Is your future self a total stranger?
Or do you feel like who you are now is exactly who you will be?
The amount your circles overlap represents how attached you feel to your future self (“future self continuity” - Hershfield, 2011)
We know from neurological studies 🧠 that when thinking about our future selves, our brains “light up” in areas similar to when we are thinking about OTHER people.
And neural activity is in a different area when thinking about our current selves.
BUT this differentiation varies between people.
⭕️ Circle overlap determines how similar your brain activity is when thinking about you right NOW versus FUTURE you.
Why you should care ⤵️
The more your circles overlap, the more likely you are to act based on 𝗹𝗼𝗻𝗴-𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗺 𝗴𝗼𝗮𝗹𝘀, 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗻𝘁 𝗴𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗳𝗶𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻.
When there is a sense of similarity & familiarity between your current and future selves…
📊 You’re less likely to cheat, lie, and not follow through on promises (Hershfield, et al. 2012)
📊 You have increased patience with financial decision making (Bartels & Urminsky, 2011)
📊 AND you’re likely to report being physically and mentally more healthy (Rutchick, 2018)
^^ In in this last cited study, people were also 1.43x more likely to exercise after writing a letter to themselves 20 years in the future, compared to those that wrote a letter to their “in 3 months self”
This isn’t just a fun personality quiz, it’s psychological & neurological science with behavioral evidence.
Worried you don’t have enough overlap?!
Here’s an exercise for you to work through:
1️⃣ Imagine the future (not success, just you in a random future situation)
2️⃣ Describe: what can you tell your future self that you are going to do right now to start helping them out?
3️⃣ Consider: What would your future self thank your current self for?
If there are some things in your life that you want to change, to help out your future self...
4️⃣ Picture yourself changing, or not changing.
How do you feel? How does your life look?