Friday, April 8, 2011

What's Your Time Perspective?

Posted by Youtube user:theRSAorg

Once again I feel compelled to start by apologizing for my lack of entries as of late, but looking back over my archives from the past year posting only once or twice a week has sadly become the norm, despite by best efforts to do otherwise. But look, it's not my fault... Okay, so it is my fault, but I have a really good excuse, I blame my time perspective.

I know what you're thinking, "Time perspective? Sounds kind of woo-ie, does this have something to do with that time cube guy?"

First, let me assure you that this has NOTHING to do with Mr Marbles or his freaky little "Order of the Sphere". Though I have to agree that there is something about uttering the phrase, "What's your time perspective?" that makes me feel a little uneasy. It just has that, new-age-unwashed-hippie-feel-good-life-caochy-self-actuating-Tony Robbins kind of vibe that I just can't stand. Plus, the book which first introduced the idea did get a shinning endorsement from Ophra's magazine, which is never a good sign (I know, I know, ad hominim, blah, blah, blah, but c'mon, O MAGAZINE BAAAaaaD!).

The concept of time perspective was first presented by psychologists John Boyd, and Philip Zimbardo, in the book "Time Paradox", and it is the idea that how we choose to live our lives and the decisions we make are all largely based on how we choose to focus on time.

In other words, do mistakes from the past, or maybe even the fear of never regaining past glories, prevent you from trying new things or finishing new projects for fear of failure? Do you spend all your time chasing instant gratification without ever stopping to consider the long term consequences of your actions? Or are you so focused on the future that you deprive yourself of sleep, and fail to make the time to indulge in even modest pleasures in the here and now (this is waaay me BTW)? It's an interesting concept.

But, like a lot of psychological theories, I think the idea of Time Perspective overstates it's usefulness when applied to large-scale groups rather than individuals, and I certainly don't believe that identifying your own time perspective is the quick-fix-life changing-revelation that the book cover claims it to be. But asking yourself how your focus on time might affect the decisions you make, seems if nothing else a worthwhile exercise in self awareness, which is something that the vast majority of us could definitely use.

At the very least, time perspective certainly seemed like worthwhile fodder for the blog, and a convenient excuse to try and generate a little discussion in the comments for a change. Which is why, rather than spending days researching and pondering the idea, only to end up never getting around to posting about it all ( seriously I do that A LOT), I wanna know what you think. Is this a visionary concept with the power to change the world that I'm just to dim to truly appreciate? Is it an utter waste of time and brain power? Or is it just an interesting idea? Let me know.


For those of you completely unfamiliar with this idea( like I was up until a few hours ago), Here's a short video from TED talks where Professor Zimbard gives a more detailed description of the theory( is that even the right thing to call it? I'm not even sure.) itself.

(Oh, and I'm seriously trying to do something about that posting only once or twice a week thing. No, really! I SWEAR!)

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