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Future Self: Hyperbolic Discounting (a Cognitive Bias) in Life Choices

Cognitive biases

They are mental shortcuts we use, which generally help us make quick decisions, but don’t always work out for the best. 

Our brains were never wired to be truly rational because there is way too much information in the world for us to process. We evolved instead to make decisions quickly.

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Future Self: Hyperbolic Discounting (a Cognitive Bias) in Life Choices

Future Self: Hyperbolic Discounting (a Cognitive Bias) in Life Choices

https://www.nirandfar.com/2017/08/hyperbolic-discounting-why-you-make-terrible-life-choices.html

nirandfar.com

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Key Ideas

Hyperbolic discounting

It's a cognitive bias, where people choose smaller, immediate rewards rather than larger, later rewards.

For example, if there’s an important deadline looming (the pressure is on, all signs are pointing to you getting it done), yet you put it off, turn on Netflix, and fantasize about how you’re going to crush it tomorrow, you’ve fallen victim to hyperbolic discounting.

Cognitive biases

They are mental shortcuts we use, which generally help us make quick decisions, but don’t always work out for the best. 

Our brains were never wired to be truly rational because there is way too much information in the world for us to process. We evolved instead to make decisions quickly.

EXPLORE MORE AROUND THESE TOPICS:

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Overcoming hyperbolic discounting
  • Empathize with your future self: You put things off to future you because it’s easy to assume that future you has boundless energy and motivation. Unfortunately, that perfect visio...
Distinction bias

Is the tendency to over-value the effect of small quantitative differences when comparing options.

For example: we think a 1,200 square foot home will make us happier than a 1,000 squa...

Overcome distinction bias

  • Don’t compare options side by side: In comparison mode, we end up spending too much time playing “spot the difference.” Instead, evaluate each choice individually and on their own merit.
  • Know your “Must-Haves” before you look for something to buy: that way, you won't get suckered into features you don’t really need.
  • Optimize for things you can’t get used to: your happiness will adjust back to anything that is stable and certain like your income, the size of your house, or the quality of your TV.

Time inconsistency

When we think about the future we want to make choices that lead to long-term benefits (“Yes, I'll save more!”), but when we think about today, we want to make choices that lead to short-term. imme...

The answer to inconsistency

To beat procrastination and make better long-term choices, find a way to make your present self act in the best interest of your future self. You have 3 primary options:

  1. Make the rewards of long-term behavior more immediate.
  2. Make the costs of procrastination more immediate.
  3. Remove procrastination triggers from your environment.
Changing your environment=the most powerful way to change your behavior

In a normal situation, you might choose to eat a cookie rather than eat vegetables. What if the cookie wasn’t there to begin with? It is much easier to make the right choice if you’re surrounded by better choices. Remove the distractions from your environment and create a space with better choice architecture. - James Clear

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