CogniFit's Science blog: The Long Term Dilemma

The Long Term Dilemma

The "long-term dilemma" is one that does with difficult choices. It is much easier to accept and adopt actions leading to immediate or short term results, than it is to wait and believe significant improvements will occur over time or in the long run.

Why does this keep happening on and on? Why even though we know that sustainable actions bring the real structural improvements, we’re much more eager to do the easy ones?

The human being is an animal reacting to incentives. While this is probably an obvious idea, it brings consequences to what we do. Is the incentive available right away, or in the future? Our brain functions according to the answer to this question.

In the health care business, this idea has been for long understood and a whole business has been created based on it. Are you tired? Take this pill and you’ll be as new. Are you nervous? Take this one. The business of creating pills to instantly have an effect on your symptom (regardless of the secondary effects they may have) thrives. It doesn’t necessarily heal you, but it does give a sensation of desired result achieved.

The “long-term dilemma” is one that impacts mostly those who building sustainable solutions to improve the lives of the people. One of the examples could be healthy food. While everyone knows that eating healthy food improves your long-term health, it is much easier to each those things that taste better right away even though they may not be so healthy. Again this is our brain leading us to the immediate achievement, we actually need to fight our own will to change it. A lot of effort and discipline is needed to achieve such a result.

The concrete example of brain training is one that is much impacted by this dilemma. The brain improvement and the protection against cognitive decline in the long run is one that is amongst the most important aspects of our lives. However, it is impossible to really change and improve such a complex organ as the brain in the immediate, it takes time, persistence and discipline to guarantee the desired results. You will not significantly improve your memory, response times or coordination in one day, but if you work continuously you will create the connections between your neurons that consistently improve the way your brain functions, and therefore improve your brain health.

There are however examples of industries that have been able to overcome the “long-term dilemma”, and an obvious one is the beauty care world. The good examples have lessons to teach. What could be learned from the beauty care anti-aging area that could bring new ideas to improve the quality of the nutrition, or the brain health, of our population?