TED continues to spread ideas and help us all be better critical thinkers. Watching, listening, and talking about TED Talks is a popular pastime for many in the CN&CO community. We visit TED.com regularly to clear our heads, have a laugh, learn, or get inspired. TED Talks open our minds, spark new ways of thinking, and can lead to some very interesting conversations and business opportunities. Each week we pick a favourite and publish it on a Tuesday because we like how “TED Talk Tuesday” sounds. It’s also a way that the CN&CO team plays its part in spreading ideas and helping to make the world a better place. 

A new year often invokes in us a renewed sense of energy to forge untried goals and dreams. And what better way to begin 2023 than with a TED talk that incites just this notion?

Daniel Goldstein, the Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, is an expert in the field of decision-making – expressly how we make social and financial choices throughout our lives, and how we empower ourselves with certain incentives, reminders, and rules of thumb to make long-term savvy decisions in lieu of short-term choices that offer instant gratification. 

The present meets the future

Goldstein presents an insightful talk on how the present self (who we currently are) hinders our ability to make decisions to realise our long-term goals, thereby creating unfavourable consequences for our future selves (the person that we will become in the future). 

The impact on goal setting

The truth is, it’s not that our goals are physically impossible to achieve, it’s our lack of self-discipline to see them through – thanks to temptation and our inherent ineptitude to resist it.

The problem arises when the present self struggles to make decisions that will benefit the future self, because it firstly has a hard time identifying with its future self and secondly, it tends to discount the value of future rewards.

This often results in behaviours such as procrastination, as people delay tasks that would be beneficial in the long term in place of those that offer instant gratification.

Sneak peek into the future

Goldstein has designed several ground-breaking tools that enable us to imagine ourselves over time. By plugging in various inputs of different aspects of our lives, we’re able to determine what our future self will inevitably become.

Goldstein makes incredible strides to equip us with the ability to make intelligent and intentional choices for both our future selves and ultimately society as a whole.

Make 2023 the year of your dreams and give this talk a watch…