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Do you know how foreign you are to yourself?

Do you know how foreign you really are to yourself?

Spoiler alert, no you don’t, no one really does. But the reason is a little more complex than it might initially seem, why you are foreign to yourself.

You know what you look like, what annoys you, what you like, and you also know what you do. Well, at least that’s certainly true for most people.
If we take it a bit closer, you only know all this with absolute certainty because of your past experiences. So until today, right now, status quo.

Over the years, everyone discovers new sides to themselves, new hobbies, passions and so on. Who can say for sure if you will be the same in 5 years? Hardly anyone, not even an AI based on algorithms, even if they can already analyze and deduce this very precisely.

But what is measurable thanks to advanced science is the center of your being, your brain.
The brain is the center of our whole being and yet we know almost nothing about it. Scientists still claim today that we know just up to 5% of what is really going on in our brains.
Exciting, if you think about what we could achieve if we could only use the full 50% or even 100%.

For the techies, this also distinguishes the brain from a hard drive: With a computer, I can easily see that I’m only using a quarter of my memory and three quarters are still unused. But the brain is not a hard disk, and one should not imagine it in such a way that individual self-contained brain areas are active and all others are dormant.

Instead, the brain often works in such a way that many distant areas network with each other and exchange information in different ways at different times.
With every thought, networks of neurons in the cerebral cortex work together.
There is no central location, but these impulses are distributed throughout the entire brain at lightning speed.

Fair enough, but what are we actually getting at?

In the course of a study, scientists took a close look at these thought processes with regard to the future ego of the people studied.

In the first run, the subjects simply had to think about their present self, their hobbies, preferences and their current life. In the process, the brain regions addressed were measured and traced.
In the second run, they were asked to think about their future self in 10-12 years and how they imagine their life then. This was also recorded according to impulses and towards brain regions.

In the last run, and this is where it gets exciting, the participants were asked to think of an actor, in this case Matt Damon, and his life. Again, the scientists measured and recorded.
And now comes the point why this topic is so fascinating.

In the test on the present self and the future self, completely different regions of the brain cloud be recorded and measured.

However, when comparing the future self and the strange actor, similar areas of the brain could be recorded and measured.

This in turn means that you treat your future self in a certain way like a stranger. Like someone you know briefly, but certainly not very well. Just like an actor.

Cool, but so what?

You have no direct connection to this person, which in turn also means that what concerns this person seems to be far away. It doesn’t seem to be about you, but about someone you at least rarely know.

And in this very moment, you are stranger to yourself than you might have ever imagined before.

Never forget that you always think you know yourself best, and for the moment that may be true, but your head is always one step ahead of you.
You are not aware of it, but that’s the way it is.

How does this influence people?

Well, this is also one of the great reasons, why people often find it difficult to plan further into the future and to build up certainties and constancy.
And this applies to private life as well as to certain business decision-making processes.

We do know better, but it just doesn’t seem that important or real to us in this said moment. So always consider this when talking about long-term decisions and their further impacts.

Your clients, your contact persons, your users. They all tick similary and have the same challenges when it comes to future-oriented planning.

Of course, they do now well, how markets could change and what impact that might have on their lives and their businesses. Nevertheless, the consequences and the preliminary work that has to be done often just relates on a time span of 2-3 years. That’s because it is more tangible than a time span of 5-7 years, even though that would often be the better time frame.

Trust your gut, but try to think and plan ahead and empirically gather the information needed to do so.

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