Thursday, September 19, 2013

Damned in the Present, Damned in the Future

Present self vs Future self TED Talk.

New York Times article on the same
 It's about the battle between the two-headed beast inside us.
The present self. "I want an oompa loompa, Daddy, and I want it now."
The future self. "I may not have considered all the costs and annoyances associated with having an oompa loompa."

I am not interested in the second half of the talk on the "financial" relationship between our present and future selves, but instead it's the concept of commitment devices (to keep ourselves in check) and the misestimation of our future selves (that we will do better than our present) that intrigues me. I definitely fall into a category of impulsivity which disregards my future self completely. I am also quite good at manipulating my best intentions and breaking, getting around, or breaking my commitments.

I can really relate to this sentiment, postulated in the NYT's article:

Ignoring the needs of our future self is one way we create problems for our present self. Another way is by dumping all the issues we don’t want to deal with now on the mythical future self who’s somehow going to be more patient, more organized, more restrained — more everything we’re not now .
“It’s hard to imagine that we’re going to be under the same stress” when we’re older, Dr. McGonigal said. “It seems like we will have more time and energy and we can let the future person deal with what we can’t deal with now.”
And that gives an excuse to procrastinate. In my case, I’ve been putting off eating better for some future time when somehow I’ll want to eat bulgur wheat rather than chocolate cake.
 Let me eat cake, I say. 

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