One of the saddest ironies of human nature is that we are simultaneously clever enough to make thoughtful, long-term plans yet foolish enough to abandon those plans in the face of temptation—while still being intelligent enough to feel remorse about it.

Marcus (2009, p. 160).

In the quote above, cognitive scientist Gary Marcus has identified a fundamental bind in ordinary human life, we can know what we want, and even how to get it, but if that goal is far enough away in time, or even sufficiently abstract, we can often by easily tempted away from the path to get it. As we have seen throughout this book, this tendency does vary over people. For instance, conscientious people are more likely to perseverate in attaining their goals, ...

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