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The Formula for Good Life Choices

Updated: Aug 14, 2021

Researchers have found that the level of empathy we have toward our future selves is similar to the level of empathy we feel for a complete stranger. Not only is it hard to do simple favors for this unfamiliar version of Future Us (like going to bed at a reasonable hour or programming the coffee maker), it's even more difficult to make large and impactful changes like exercising consistently or increasing retirement contributions. After all, these changes make life more challenging for Today Us; a character we know well and have a lot of empathy for.

So how do we take better care of our future selves? The same researchers found that people who spent a few minutes looking at a computer-generated simulation of themselves in their old age were more likely to increase their retirement contributions. Maybe all those hours we spent torturing/entertaining ourselves with FaceApp weren't a total waste of time, and glimpsing mortality from a safe distance will help us make better decisions for Future Us.

Meet your future self using the Russian app FaceApp... if you dare.

Here are three more:

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