Time Perspectives and Decision Making

We often take time for granted, and how our perspectives of our past, present, and future can shape our lives.

How we plan for the future, how creative we are in the present, and how our past can influence our moods and attitudes are topics covered in a book on the psychology of time that was published in August of this year.

The book, The Time Paradox, by Philip Zimbardo and John Boyd, helps to explain such things as why the D.A.R.E. “Just Say No To Drugs” effort to educate teens on drug abuse was a failure – it focused upon a small percentage of students who are future oriented rather than the many who are present oriented. (Perhaps the New D.A.R.E. will fare better.)

The authors of the book gave a presentation at Google on the topic, and it’s one of the best videos I’ve seen this year. I’m running out to get a copy of the book it’s based upon in a few minutes.

The web site for the book includes the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory (ZTPI) survey, which you can take to find out your scores in the different time perspectives. You may not only learn more about yourself, but also about others whom you interact with.

How you think about the past, the present, and the future can influence the decisions that you make in your life. A better understanding of how your perspective of time influences you could mean a happier, healthier, and more successful life.

Thanks to Kimberly for showing me the video.

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4 thoughts on “Time Perspectives and Decision Making”

  1. The one thing I think social media & the marketplace in general is..an understanding of the human mind. The psychology of human interaction & communication.

    We, as consumers as well as marketers, turn to the internet for guidance & strategy, hoping the advice we find is from a voice of reason & a voice that has our best interests at heart. We expect this advice to be from knowledgeable & educated resources.

    One of the dilemmas our readers face, is the prevalence of ‘herd mentality’ that’s promoted by the majority of supposed authorities. It is shocking to find that so many readers are convinced by these resources simply because:

    1. They speak at a glamorous conference
    2. They have many followers in social networks
    3. They talk about ethics or transparency
    4. They are employed by a supposed ‘reputable’ company, etc..

    Philip has a way of speaking that brings us back to the realization of needing ‘our own’ voice. Trusting in our own abilities & internal processes & instincts. Sadly, this is considered thinking outside of the box, when it should be the norm.

    My absolute favorite video is “How ordinary people become monsters or heroes“..How easy it is for nice people to turn bad, how easy it is to be a hero, & how we can rise to the challenge.

    In the marketplace we desire to be considered innovative as well to please our clients. We cannot do that by showing we have no more ability than to blindly follow the majority who’s ‘system’ is negligent & faulty. The video I mentioned explains the difference of ‘bad apples’ vs. a ‘bad barrel’.

    Thanks for cluing people in to a terrific speaker. The marketplace can use more of his thoughts.

    PS: I want the book when you’re done! lol :-)

  2. Thank you, Kimberly, for introducing me to the video, and to Phillip Zimbardo’s works. You can have the book when I’m finished, but I might want it back to read again sometime. :)

    Those of us who are marketers shouldn’t forget that we are consumers as well, and that we have a responsibility to do the right things, to do what we do for the public good rather than for the quick dollar. We need to think about that in the clients that we choose to work with, in the methods that we use to help them, and in how we interact with others on the Web – as peers, as neighbors, and as people, rather than as potential audiences.

    It’s easy to be mesmerized by people who try to shape and influence the online marketing industry. But I do believe that there are many ways to provide helpful, responsible, and ethical help to businesses, organizations, and individuals that have nothing to do with conferences and social networks, and are independant of people who might have the loudest voices or the most visible soap boxes.

    There are a number of marketing sites that do spell out codes of ethics that they work under, but while many of those describe the conduct they might take between themselves and their clients, they often fail to address how they might strive to educate the public and consumers, work to avoid misleading people with their marketing efforts, and work to help the public good.

    One of the things that I really like about the videos from Philip Zimbardo is that he does open our eyes to thinking about the world around us differently – from our perspectives of time and how they influence us, to paying attention to the world around us, and the social forces that we may follow without questioning, even though we should.

    Innovation is important, and people who working to market should pay attention to what is happening in the industry, but explore and experiment, and try out new things, and listen to ideas from people like Philip Zimbardo.

  3. I was not sure about commenting on this as it was not about SEO but I’ll give it a go…

    I have a degree in philosophy so I’ve read a lot of things similar and contradictory to this. I don’t really agree with many of the things Zimbardo goes over. One of the things is that there have been lots of philosophers that have discussed similar things in the past and came up with a variety of solutions and so I don’t agree that he was the first to talk about some of these “time issues” as the Google employee suggests.

    The way I see it and from what I have learned from my own studies and experience is that some of us are here in the now, the present, meaning that we are aware of and operating as if we are totally at that intent of time or those successive instants of time that pass. And then there are some of use partially here in “the now” or only here in the now some times or not at all here in the now. A not at all here in the now could easily be seen by looking at someone who is insane. They ramble on and do things that have nothing to do with the time period of right now.

    I’ve found that when one is here in the now things are much clearer, crisp and this all seams to allow you to make much more rational decisions and think more clearly – thus leading to a much happier life.

    But anyways that’s some quick thoughts on the subject.

  4. Hi SEOsean,

    Thanks.

    One of the reasons that I wrote this post is because the video did make me think about time differently, and I thought it might do the same for visitors to this site. I’m happy that you decided to comment, even if you have differing thoughts on how people perceive time, and how that might shape their actions and awareness of others.

    I think one of the most important things that Philip Zimbardo has done with his book and presentations on it is to get conversations started about how perspectives of time might fit into how we interact with others and the world around us.

    I’d argue that it’s possible to be too much here in the now, not considering the wisdom of what we’ve learned in the past, or anticipating outcomes in the future.

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