Your ‘marshmallow brain’ vs your ‘acorn brain’: Breaking the short-term thinking habit

Unthinkable: Acorn brain worries about pensions. Marshmallow brain thinks short-term

A tourist bus passes the unfinished basilica of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. ‘I think we need to build the ecological cathedrals of the future, not the old-fashioned medieval kind,’ says writer Roman Krznaric. Photograph: Albert Llop/Anadolu Agency/Getty

A tourist bus passes the unfinished basilica of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. ‘I think we need to build the ecological cathedrals of the future, not the old-fashioned medieval kind,’ says writer Roman Krznaric. Photograph: Albert Llop/Anadolu Agency/Getty

There’s something noble about starting a project that you know you won’t live to see completed. The Sagrada Família in Barcelona is one that typically comes to mind – Antoni Gaudí spent 43 years working on it and less than a quarter of the cathedral had been finished when he died in 1926.

The Oxford English Dictionary also stands out. It took 70 years to create, by which time its main editor James Murray was 12 years in the grave.

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