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How to solve life’s puzzles? Understand your time perspective!

January 1, 2012

Was your new year resolution “solve life’s puzzles” too? Well, it turns out that many of life’s puzzles can be solved by simply understanding our own time perspective, and that of others. If only I knew before… ;). It’s really the most simple idea in the world according to Philip Zimbardo, professor of psychology at Standford university. Being aware of your own time perspective and that of others will help explain some of the differences between you and the other, he argues. What predominant time perspective you have explains why and how you make some of your decisions. It reminded me of the concepts of ‘remembering self’ and ‘experiencing self’ by Daniel Kahneman (See post “When am I“).

I’ve sribbled away while watching his lecture (animated by RSA Animate), see below:

I followed his advice and found out what my time perspective is, according to his Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory (ZTPI). This is the result: past-negative 1.70 (on a scale of 1 to 5), past-positive 2.78, present-hedonistic 3.93, present-fatalistic 2.44, future 2.38 (didn’t know how to plot is in the graph). See below for a graph of my score (black), compared to the ideal time perspective according to Zimbardo:

The 50%-line marks the average scores of the data collected so far

I wonder why I’m so far ‘below par’ on the past postitive perspective, I have a wonderful past, I just don’t think about it an awful lot. See the animated video of Zimbardo below:

Thanks to the blog “Have you met Eric

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