How the end-of-history illusion prevents you from shaping your future self - Deepstash
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The end-of-history illusion

The end-of-history illusion

The end-of-history illusion is when we underestimate how much our personalities, work situations and values will change in the future.

The end-of-history illusion was coined in 2013. It is based on a series of studies showing that people tend to think that they will change relatively little in the future, even though they've changed tremendously in the past.


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The impact of the end-of-history illusion

People believe that the person they are now will be who they are for the rest of their lives. It can create certain effects:

  • Reactive life choices. It is easier to default to what you are now rather than to work towards what you want to be.
  • Fixed mindset. "I'm too introverted to make friends", or "my job will always come first". A fixed mindset may prevent us from changing for the better.
  • Short-sighted planning. We can become overly optimistic or pessimistic, leading to short-sighted planning.


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Reflect on your past self

  • Take the time to consider who you were three years ago. What kinds of activities did you like? What type of work did you lie the most? Who were your friends?
  • Now consider who you are right now. Consider your current friends, activities you like now, and your work priorities. 

Thinking about our past selves can help foster the right mindset about how we might change in the future.


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Imagine your ideal future self

Consider penning down a vision statement - what you really want in the future.

Ask yourself:

  • What will a typical day look like?
  • What will your work environment look like?
  • How much money do you want to make?

Also consider relationships, children, running a company, or speaking another language. Once you have written your vision statement, you can plan to change for the better.


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Share your personal vision

Sharing your personal vision is vital to help keep you accountable. It compels you to change your behaviour to be consistent with your story.

Your trusted colleagues and friends can also cheer you along the way.


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