Because of Day-light Savings Time I have been thinking a lot about Time. When I think about Time I can’t help but think about Dr. Philip Zimbardo & John Boyd’s book – “The Time Paradox: The New Psychology of Time That Will Change Your Life.” Our behaviors and decisions relate to how we perceive time. The different time perspectives consist of: Future, Past (positive & negative), Present-Hedonistic, and Present-Fatalistic. By understanding a person’s perspective of time we are able to empathize with the person and have a better comprehension regarding choices and behaviors. We enter the world as Hedonistic Presented centered – we want it and we want it NOW! As we get older some of us change that perspective based on our life experiences, culture, family values, religious beliefs…
Here is a brief overview of each orientation:
Future: behaviors are dominated by a striving for future goals and rewards; focus is on if-then reasoning, probabilistic thinking, and logical analysis; and good at delaying gratification
Past: behaviors and choices are made based on recalling similar situations that did or did not work in the past; rituals and traditions play important roles in their lives; suspicious of the new and different; most prone to prejudices; and have a stable sense of self over time
Present - Hedonistic: behaviors are self-indulgent, playful and focused on things that bring immediate pleasure; avoids things that involve much effort, work, planning, or unpleasantness; often do poorly in academics because there is little concern for future consequences; and do well on creative tasks, activities with immediate feedback, sports, and high energy activities.
Present-Fatalistic: behaviors are a result of feeling helpless and hopeless toward the future and life; believe it does not pay to plan since nothing works out for them as they envision; feel their lives are externally controlled (either by religions values such as being a subordinate to the higher powers or is a byproduct of economic failures/being lower class); believe in luck for changing rather than hard work or planning; superstitious; perform poorly in school/work because they have little external control; and have more psychological problems.
The ideal Time perspective is to have high scores for Positive Past, Present Hedonism, and Future while having low scores for Negative Past, and Present Fatalism.
The video presented is only a brief clip from Dr. Zimbardo’s lecture but it will give you a 10 minute visual of how these perspectives influence our lives. Enjoy!