Experiencing Self vs. Remembering Self | Why you often take weird decisions!

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Imagine there are two brothers, John and Jack. Although brothers they are extremely different from each other. John lives in the present. He likes to taste things and enjoy them without worrying about past and future. Jack, instead is very anxious. He daydreams most of the time. Jack is either thinking about the past or anxious about the future.

Since John is very peaceful, he makes Jack decide about anything. The consequence though is that John ends up in the most awkward situations because of Jack. Nonetheless, John is always in charge!

John and Jack are not fictional characters but rather the two selves that live in your skull. John is the experiencing self. While Jack is the remembering self.

by Gennaro Cuofano

Now imagine you went on vacation on a beautiful island. You spent there two weeks of your life and each day you experienced there it was unbelievable. You felt increasingly tied to that place. Until unfortunately you have to leave! The coming year you have to reserve a vacation at the same location. Although when experiencing the vacation the longer, the better. When you remember it, you don’t feel the same. It is almost like your second week there was not as good. You end up reserving a shorter vacation. Yet once you get there, you realize how wrong you were. What’s going on?

Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking, Fast and Slow (which also influenced the works of Nassim Nicholas Taleb) explains how we have two selves. We have an experiencing self and a remembering self. The experiencing self lives in the present. The remembering self is the one who makes decisions about the future. The problem is this remembering self only remembers things that are truly memorable. Thus, neglecting the rest. This principle is pretty important. Particularly in the business world. Imagine you have an important pitch. Investors are ready. All is great. The presentation goes pretty well if it wasn’t for the last minute¬†technical issue, which made you stop for a couple of minutes. All of a sudden when investors think about your presentation their¬†recollection is not as good as your pitch really was! All fault of the remembering self!

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Published by

Gennaro Cuofano

Gennaro Cuofano, International MBA. Creator of The Four-Week MBA Community and Content Marketer/Business Developer at WordLift