Alarm Clock Sets Off A Real Wake-Up Call

Alarm Clock Sets Off A Real Wake-Up Call
January 01, 2014

Later this month, a Chicago based company called Fig will ship out a new product that it believes will help keep people motivated to meet their life goals. It’s an alarm clock, but an unusual one.

RYAN GURY: Instead of telling you the time, it tells you three very important things. It tells you:

  • how much money you have in your savings account.
  • It tells how many friends you currently have online, and
  • it tells you how many days you have left to live.

SPIEGEL: That’s Ryan Gury, one of the people who created ALARM clock, programmed it to remotely pull information from your bank accounts and social networks, programmed it also so that after filling out information about your age and your health habits and your family history, it could use actuarial tables to estimate – and then display – the number of days until your death.
So that every morning when you open your eyes…

GURY: You see reality. You see the truth. You see a little bit of a motivating number

… actually it wasn’t the depressed people whose view of reality was distorted. In all kinds of areas, when depressed people were measured against people who were emotionally healthy, their assessments were more realistic.

BAUMEISTER: Depressed people seemed to hit it pretty much on the head. They got the answers right. It’s the normal, non-depressed people who twist things and see things as better than they are. [Optimism bias]

SPIEGEL: Baumeister says that starting in the ’80s, psychological researchers started aggressively promoting positive thinking because a positively skewed view of oneself and the world was seen as more productive and more helpful just in general for everyone, but especially for depressed people.


Online alarm clock
What does this photo represent, and why is it meaningful?
The Science of Happiness
Berkeley University of California

A “Positive Book”/My “Happy File”




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