Earlier today, I got bored and happened to find my elusive digital camera. Took a few pictures of myself to relieve the said boredom. Looked at them. Got a bit disturbed. Cameras don’t lie, and they reflect the objective reality a lot better than our own flawed perception system. Even though I thought I looked pretty much the same as I did a year ago, a quick comparison of my archived pictures proved otherwise: turns out, I got some more gray hair and developed fairly odd-looking circles under my eyes. (Caused by lack of sunlight or my nocturnal lifestyle? Or both?)

While neither of these changes is alarming, it got me thinking about the daily self-deception we all indulge in when we look in the mirror. Just like in the boiling frog experiment, changes are almost unnoticeable when they’re small and gradual. By the time they add up, we’re so used to them that we deny their very existence, clinging to the archived, idealized image of ourselves. It can be something as simple as minor changes to our appearance, or something as significant as new personality traits, growing slowly but surely. The simplest way to keep up with your changing appearance is to take pictures of yourself every few months, but how do you discover the changes in your personality? Most of the time, friends and relatives either don’t notice the gradual shift within you or hesitate to point it out. Nobody’s personality is completely static – we always change, if ever so slightly. You are not the same person today as you were a week ago. That version of you is gone, replaced by a slightly altered, though nearly identical duplicate. The question is, how do you track the gradual changes within yourself?..