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Thread: Do you fail at forethought and sacrificing the present?

  1. #1
    Let's make this showy! Array raz's Avatar
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    Nov 2008

    Default Do you fail at forethought and sacrificing the present?

    A problem I've had my entire life is being able to do something lesser right now in exchange for something better in the future. For example, I have a really hard time getting into RPGs because they take a heavy time investment and I get stuck in the "I want it now!" mode. I end up not playing many of them because I just can't make myself be ok with doing something really small right now in exchange for doing something much more fun in a week, or a month.

    It applies to pretty much everything. Do others have issues accepting major or minor losses in the present in order to have something greater in the future? How do you deal with it? It affects me in school also. Telling myself to be ok with taking general education classes in college, knowing I'll take more specific advanced classes in 1-2 years.

  2. #2


    Loss and pain aversion as well as short-term thinking are very human failings.

    I too fail sometimes at sacrificing the present for longer term happiness.

    I am comfortable (though still fairly miserable) where I am. I want to make a major career shift and go to get a Ph.D., but I have a lot of work to do before I can, and there will be a period of less comfortable living for about a decade.

    I know I will be OK with the less comfortable living, once I get there...I used to live out of a suitcase and a sleeping-bag. It is the short-term work and the associated life-changes that has me the most stressed. (Getting a job near my parents' place, living again with my parents, transferring schools, packing up all my stuff and moving it to storage, renting out my condo, actually making the move, and finally working my new job while finishing undergrad and saving up money)

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  3. #3
    Fail 2.0 Array BlueScreen's Avatar
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    Nov 2008


    I have more of the Skywalker problem: "All his life has he looked away. To the future. To the horizon. Never his mind on where he was… what he was doing!"

    In a way I end up in the same place though. You focus too little on the present, you never get to that future.
    Freude, schöner Götterfunken Tochter aus Elysium, Wir betreten feuertrunken, Himmlische, dein Heiligtum! Deine Zauber binden wieder Was die Mode streng geteilt; Alle Menschen werden Brüder, Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.

  4. #4


    I'm pretty bad with that kind of thing. I avoid doing things in the present that will screw me over in the future, so I'm not reckless, but I also avoid sacrificing the pleasure and comfort of the present for something better in the future. I'm impatient and I procrastinate a lot.

    Sometimes I just naturally do what I need to do in order to get ahead, so if the proper motivation is there the process just goes smoothly and it doesn't seem like a big deal at all. Unfortunately, there's a lot of crap in life that I'll never feel naturally motivated to do but that need to be done anyway.

    I know that I'll never truly be satisfied until I'm really reaching my potential in life, and that's never going to happen if I constantly choose to avoid adventure, challenge, pain, and hard work in favor of simple comfort and momentary pleasure.

    Fortunately, I believe that once I start living proactively enough, I'll be a lot more naturally motivated and excited to do what I do. The boring little duties will seem insignificant to me compared to the fun I'm having trying to reach my potential and they'll just get done. For example, if someone was going to pay me a million dollars to wake up at 6 AM every morning and go running in the snow with only my shorts on for a week, I'd do it with passion and love!

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