Worrying vs Concern for one’s future self

Continuing with an occasional theme of ‘keeping multiple contending thoughts in your head at the same time’, Brain Pickings has a post about someone’s life learnings and one of them is ‘worrying solves nothing’. A contrasting theme elsewhere is about how we view our future selves as different people and thus have less concern for them. Seemingly there is a contradiction here.

The sweet spot between these thoughts would seem to be something along the lines of taking time periodically to vision your future self (evidently picture aging is a way to connect with that future self) while short circuiting the worry circuit when it happens (consciously box up your worries when you are cycling on them with a self agreement to examine them at a set future point).

Perhaps there is a temporal aspect to this in which worrying is a more near term rather than far term kind of thing which would tend to separate the ideas. Anecdotally though, people seem to worry about plenty of far term things. This could also be wrongly conflating two different things. Rather than worry being a manifestation of concern for some future self, maybe worrying is a different thought process entirely. Then the two ideas aren’t in contention. Worrying does have characteristics of a mental habit or tic. Concern for a future self is most defined by an absence. Basically not thinking about something.

While there isn’t good evidence to keep the two notions linked, there isn’t much contra evidence either so for the time being they stay in the hopper together.

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1 comment
  1. Chris said:

    I wonder what the time horizon is where one separates the Me from Future Me? There have truly been times in my life where I’ve said “I’ll just have to deal with that at the time.” Although I’m sure there are some who never think about that at all and then complain because “Everything bad happens to me.”

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