CogniFit's Science blog: Today’s Actions Are Tomorrow’s Probabilities

Today’s Actions Are Tomorrow’s Probabilities

Act 1: After meeting with the school teacher, a father tells his son "Son, you need to study and work hard at school, for one day all this effort will be compensated and you will enjoy its benefits". The kid is thinking "This is not important to me, it 's much more important to play, to be seen as cool by my friends, why does my dad keep telling me these boring things?". And he goes back to his room.

Act 2: The wife tells her husband "You need to come home earlier, life isn't just what happens in the office, you have a life at home and a family wanting to spend time with you". The daughter of this couple has a perception of her father as an absent person, she rarely sees him, and never looks for him for advice. He, on the other side, will keep coming home late and choosing work over the family.

Act 3: A man, in his forties, has been advised by a wise friend, to start a private retirement plan and a brain training program. He was told that these simple choices can change his life in the future and guarantee financial and life independence. He chooses not to take the advice, he remembers that old saying that “in the future we’ll all be dead”.

What do these situations all have in common? Very little you might argue. But there is a clear link between them. It is always very difficult to see the future from where we stand. It is very difficult to connect the dots, and most of the times the dots will be connected over time by coincidence.

Based on the three examples above, and looking with an external eye, it could be easily expected that the kid with no interest in school has very high chances of not being a strong achiever and not being compensated by the lack of work. The absent father will likely have a distant relationship with his daughter in the long run, and the man in his forties will probably have a weaker financial situation when he retires, and a higher probability of developing mental health problems due to the cognitive decline.

Surely none of these reported consequences are taken for a given. But the probability of happening is increased in the future based on the actions today. This topic is extremely important to the brain health area, as the symptoms of the cognitive decline appear way in the future, and when they do it may already be too late.

Conclusion: it is imperative to have a long-term mindset in order to identify the correct actions today, even though the future effects may seem so distant. It might not seem so, but this is one of the most difficult tasks to ask from our brain.