CogniFit's Science blog: Do Something Crazy: Think About The Future

Do Something Crazy: Think About The Future

Long-term thinking is something very inhuman. Let’s face it, while the greatest men and women in history have been known either by having an extreme courage, or an extreme vision, most people make decisions based on the immediate goal.

To some extent, the past has proven this behavior right. It hasn’t been until recently that the projection of a long-term vision and long-term decisions has become instrumental. Life used to be much simpler than it is nowadays, and the added complexity means a different way to approach decisions.

Having a vision isn’t just about using the brain to be creative or to have imagination. It is indeed about having an idea for what the future will be, and make it happen, engaging who needs to be included to help it come to life, and removing the barriers. In a way this is what leadership is all about. But in this case it’s all about personal leadership.

If everyone, suddenly, would be able to have that vision of their own future, surely many of today’s actions and decisions would change. But if that is the case, why don’t they actually change?

The fact is, most people don’t make those projections. Either by lack of knowledge or lack of interest, life in this increasingly complex world becomes, contrarily to the desired behavior, an immediate effect. Thinking long-term is boring because the benefit of the actions isn’t immediately tangible.

Only education, not necessarily formal education but in the sense of information, can change some of those habits. One example we write a lot about is the risk of dementia and mostly Alzheimer’s. For most people, to understand the risks inherent of the fact of aging, is by itself having long-term thinking. To do something about it, to reduce the risks of falling in the spiral of dependence, is personal leadership.

So what could be learnt, what information could help change today’s decisions? Well let’s take a look of some “no-so-funny” facts: Did you know that Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th biggest cause for death in the USA? Did you know that deaths from Alzheimer’s have increased 66% since 2000 alone (and is expected to continue this exponential growth)? Again in USA alone, did you know that from today’s 5 million people living with Alzheimer’s, this disease will increase to 16 million by 2050? Taking into account that this disease is by far visible in over 65 year olds, this can tell a lot about the odds.

There are many more facts to shock any reader. The point is, it isn’t when it happens that an action should be made. Fighting the Alzheimer’s disease in a society means thinking long-term and acting today projecting the results into the future.

Now another fact: Did you know that each individual’s actions and decisions, can cut by at least half the risk of developing Alzheimer’s in the future?