What is your attitude towards time? Your answer to this question can determine whether you will zoom forward to success or sabotage your chances of happiness. According to Philip Zimbardo and John Boyd, the authors of The Time Paradox: The New Psychology of Time That Will Change Your Life, how you view time drives how you live.
Of course, no one has one way of viewing time, but you probably fit into one of six major time “perspectives.” Here’s a brief description of each:
High Past-Positives: Often recall happy pasts and like “the good old days.”
High Present-Hedonists: Sensual and spontaneous; life revolves around short-term fun.
High Present-Fatalists: Live in the present and believe fate determines everything.
High-Past-Negatives: Painful past; keep replaying regrets.
High Futures: Planners; focus on goals, delay gratification, keep commitments.
High Transcendental Futures: Believe in time extension, that is, life after death.
What’s the best view on time for a life that is well-lived? The authors’ research suggest finding balance by practicing the following:
• Choose to focus on positive experiences in your past.
• Look for the most favorable interpretation of a difficult past.
• Enjoy plenty of fun in the present while keeping a reasonable eye on the future.
• Don’t dwell on past miseries.
• Don’t see what happens in the present as fixed by fate.
And here’s the good news. Whatever your attitude towards time, it can be changed. If you want to find out what time perspective category you fit into, you can take the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory online. (Click here.) And if you want to reset your time perspective clock, The Time Paradox: The New Psychology of Time That Will Change Your Life, has exercises to help you do just that. Is it time to change your outlook on time?