How Tomorrow Feels Today

May 14, 2018
Whether expecting joy or despair, we tend to overestimate the long-term emotional impact of life events.
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Imagine you've just been through a major life event: The birth of a child. A major award. The loss of a job. A divorce. Now picture yourself 10 years in the future and try to imagine how that event affected your overall well-being. Research shows that—more often than not—your predictions will miss the mark. Why is that?

On this episode of Choiceology with Dan Heath, we examine a bias that influences the way you believe you'll feel in the future.

  • The show begins with a quick survey based on the work of psychologists Daniel Gilbert and Timothy Wilson. The survey demonstrates—in a surprising way—our tendency to misjudge the importance of future events.
  • From there we raise the stakes with two very dramatic stories from the opposite ends of human emotional experience. Diann Roffe describes the elation she felt after a stunning athletic achievement, and Scott Fedor shares the harrowing story of a life-altering injury. And while these events were totally different, you may be surprised to learn how they affected Scott and Diann's lives over the long run.
  • Then, Boston University professor Carey Morewedge explains how this bias works and offers suggestions to help you re-examine your greatest hopes and fears.

Choiceology is an original podcast from Charles Schwab.

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