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 vision is not real.
  • Pre-commitment: You increase your chance of success by removing a temptation future you may try and weasel out of.
  • Break down big goals into small manageable chunks: Big goals take a long time to achieve and so are susceptible to the far-off reward curse of hyperbolic discounting.
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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.

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


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 square foot home. We think earning $70,000 a year will make us happier than earning $60,000 a year.

Mostly encountered in when we are in the situations of buying something new.

Distinction Bias: Why You Make Terrible Life Choices


Confirmation bias

Is the human tendency to seek, interpret and remember information that confirms pre-existing beliefs. 

It affects every choice you make and it all happens in the background without you noticing.

Confirmation Bias and Making Life Choices


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