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About Everything Wiki » Motivation » How the illusion of the end of history prevents us from becoming better in the future

How the illusion of the end of history prevents us from becoming better in the future

01 Jun 2023, 12:00, parser
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"Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" is one of the most difficult questions we can hear. It can be difficult for us to imagine where we will be in 5 days, let alone in 5 years. Nevertheless, many are confident that their character, values and work environment will not change much in the future, even if all this has changed dramatically in the past. This is due to a phenomenon called "the illusion of the end of history." And you should get rid of it if you want to improve your personal and professional life in the future.

What is the illusion of the end of history

The essence of this phenomenon is that people tend to underestimate how much they will change in the future, despite the fact that they understand how much they have already changed relative to the past.

The term "illusion of the end of history" was coined by psychologists in 2013 — after conducting a number of studies J. Quoidbach, D. T. Gilbert, T. D. Wilson. The End of History Illusion / Science . More than 7,500 adults participated in them, who were divided into two groups: "predictors" and "reporters". Participants from the first group were asked to guess how their character would change in the next 10 years, that is, 25‑year-old "predictors" estimated what they would be like at 35. The "reporters" participants, on the contrary, were asked how they had changed over the past 10 years, and 35-year‑olds told what they were like in their 25s.

As a result, the "predictors" were sure that they would change less in a decade than the real experience of the "reporters" showed. The authors of the study noted that people of all ages — young, middle—aged and elderly - knew that they had changed a lot in the past, but thought that they would practically not change in the future. Thus, they considered the present a turning point when they finally became the personalities they would be for the rest of their lives.

In the second part of the research, psychologists studied how people's basic values change, including the perception of power, success, independence and conformity. The researchers also analyzed how the participants' preferences in food, movies, hobbies and friendships were transformed. All tests showed the same results. People underestimated how much their personality, internal attitudes and preferences would change in the future.

How does this illusion affect our lives

It makes you go with the flow

Of course, life can be very unpredictable. However, the illusion of the end of history steals our rightful ability to create new versions of our "I". It is much easier for us to stay in the familiar present than to try to imagine a different future from it. But if we do not think about who we want to be and do not meet this vision of our personality, then we become what the current circumstances make us.

It encourages labeling

"Work always comes first", "I'm an introvert, so it's hard for me to make new friends", "I'm too irresponsible to take a pet". The illusion of the end of history makes us hold fast to such formulaic beliefs. And we miss opportunities that would help us change for the better.

It interferes with rational planning

Imagine that you are a student who needs to prepare for an exam. When you make a preparation plan, your real self feels rested and even wants to start studying as soon as possible. Therefore, you confidently decide that you will easily spend several hours on classes every day. But after just a couple of days, your future self feels tired and no longer considers the subject very interesting. This is how the illusion of the end of history works. Offering a more optimistic or more pessimistic view of the future instead of an objective one, it does not allow us to competently manage time and energy.

How to get rid of the illusion of the end of history

People tend to think that they have a wonderful character and choose the right values. And no one wants to change for the worse. In order to maintain a positive view of our own personality, it is important for us to believe that our positive traits will never change. Besides, it is much more difficult for us to imagine the future than to analyze the past. Nevertheless, it is quite possible to free oneself from the influence of the illusion of the end of history.

Remember yourself in the past

Think about how you have changed over the past few years. What was your life like three years ago? What were your hobbies? What kind of work did you like? Who were your best friends? Then analyze who you are here and now. Have your hobbies, work priorities, or friendships remained the same?

When you spend a little time with the past version of yourself, it will be much easier for you to understand how you can change for the better.

Imagine yourself in an ideal future

Make a personal "mission statement" about how you will be in a few years. This is a good opportunity to think about what you really want from life. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What does your typical day look like in the future?
  • Where and by whom do you work?
  • How much do you earn?
  • Who is in your social circle?

Do not focus only on those areas of life that you consider important to yourself today. Try to explore aspects that attract little to your present self, but may become central to the future.

For example, now you don't want to build relationships, have children, open your own business or learn a foreign language. What about you in the future? Once you have written out your vision, it will become easier for you to make plans to achieve these goals.

Share your vision with others

You may want to keep your plans a secret. For example, you are worried about the unpredictable reaction of others or you are afraid that you will not be able to achieve what you want. Nevertheless, an open conversation about the vision of the future is incredibly important, because it helps to take responsibility and act according to a new model of behavior. In addition, reliable colleagues and close friends will be able to support you on the chosen path.

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02 May 2023, 10:33    0    0
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