Time Perspective and Happiness

In my search for videos to learn more about productivity, I came across this short TED Talk by Philip Zimbardo called “The Psychology of Time.” Philip Zimbardo is the author of the book The Time Paradox, and founder of the Heroic Imagination Project.

An animated version of the Secret Powers of Time at the RSA

And a longer version at the RSA

The Positive Present and the ability to shift

As the above graphic from “Time Perspective” shows, Zimbardo describes the Present time perspective as Hedonism or Fatalism. But when I apply the ideas of time perspective to the Happiness Habits identified by Positive Psychology, the majority have a primary focus on the present, in a positive way.

Primarily Present Happiness Habits:

  • Breathing
  • Meditation
  • In Flow
  • Share
  • Uplift
  • Noticing

Primarily Future: Aspire

Both Present and Future: Exercise. (We exercise in the present, often with a goal for the future.)

Both Present and Past: Gratitude

A mixture of Present, Past, and Future:

  • Emotional awareness
  • Relating

Tal Ben Shahar’s model of happiness describes four different states of mind related to time perspectives. These four states correspond with those (in parentheses) described by Vishen Lakhiani in his book, “The Code of the Extraordinary Mind.”

The ability to delay gratification and shift our attention between the different time perspectives has a big impact on happiness and success. An article about the effects of time perspectives on goal attainment at the National Library of Medicine. What do you think? Let us know at the Daily PlanIt Facebook page.

I seek to create order from the chaos of complex information. Join me at the Daily PlanIt to gain insights, inspiration, and information to increase skills for a better life. I unlock the power of teaching reading with phonics in the pursuit of literacy at www.phonicspow.com. In my spare time I explore books and movies, often choosing titles available on both screen and page.

Posted in personal development, productivity

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