We often treat our (past) memories of happiness and our (present) experiences of happiness as one and the same. It turns out that our brains actually treat them very differently.
Daniel Kahneman goes into detail in the video below. He defines two versions of ourselves – our “experiencing selves” that live in the present and our “remembering selves” that maintain the ‘story’ of our lives.
It turns out that these two versions of ourselves are actually often in conflict. Our remembering selves are focused on significant moments and endings – they build a story of an event based on how much enjoyment we got from its most significant moments. Our experiencing selves are focused on the current moment and how much enjoyment we are getting right now.
There are some great examples in the video that explain the concept and the implications for our own decision-making.
If you want to find out more, you can check out Daniel Kahneman’s book Thinking, Fast and Slow which covers this concept along with many, many others.
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Also published on Medium.