A new book explores what it means to create and become the future version of ourselves we wish to be.
The aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic has shortened many people’s timelines for the future. Many feared death for two years and had no idea what life would look like without the disease or how they would advance their careers and personal lives in the aftermath. With the last major outbreak having cleared 16 months ago, people are finally beginning to look to the future once again.
Even without that immediate challenge of trauma and stress, it can be difficult for more people to imagine the person they could be tomorrow and even more difficult to create actionable plans to become that person.
Professor Hal Hershfield teaches marketing and psychology at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. He is the author of Your Future Self: How to Make Tomorrow Better Today, a new book exploring how to set up a future version of the person you want to be.
The book draws on a decade of working on groundbreaking research exploring the ways that our minds conceptualize future versions of ourselves, viewing the person we will be distantly and unclearly like a stranger. This makes it hard for us to push past momentary gratification and make improvements. Building a better version of ourselves requires imagining what we could be and learning to build a bridge to that point, avoiding the mental mistakes that keep us from thinking and acting on that future and turning it into a reality.
What the Critics Are Saying
“UCLA Anderson’s Hal Hershfield has spent nearly two decades researching our relationship to our future selves and devising methods—nudges, workarounds, tricks, and more—to help us make decisions now that will be kinder to the older versions of us. His book, Your Future Self, is filled with actionable methods, backed by his own and other academics’ research, and with a generous understanding of what it means to be a human, facing the future, right now,” says the UCLA Anderson Review.
“The daily stresses of life, for many of us, are sufficiently overwhelming that finding time and energy to contemplate more existential questions may seem impossible. Beginning a conversation with your future self, however, might just open the door to those concerns.”