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Focusing on solely one time perspective when making decisions can obviously have its downside when making decisions. Making decisions mainly from a life goal future oriented perspective can lead to less time for hobbies, family, and friends. Individuals also experience less sleep and time for personal indulgences. Whilst taking decisions mainly from a present hedonistic oriented perspective can lead to less; achievements and goals to be completed.

From their research findings Zimbardo et al. (2012) state that the optimal profile of balancing time which correlates with higher life satisfaction is experiencing; high past positive time perspectives, moderately high goal oriented future time perspectives, and moderate hedonistic present time perspectives. Whilst experiencing low negative past time perspectives and low fatalistic present time perspectives.

Essentially what Zimbardo et al. (2012) are referring to is to maintain the concept of balance, in which one should focus on creating positive memories in order to create a sense of community and a sense of identity. To create goals is important however remember to be flexible in understanding that they may change as you change and develop. Whilst at the same time life is about the journey not the destination, enjoy the pleasures in life moderately.

If you find yourself making decisions based on the following time perspectives consider on the following reflections:

Negative past time perspective and Fatalistic present time perspective:

  • You have acquired a certain amount of knowledge due to the negative experiences!
  • You can deal with a negative situation in a better way as you have already experienced negative experiences and you survived!
  • Why define yourself by your past?
  • Negative life experiences most likely will leave an individual with psychological injuries, which may hinder the individual from perceiving the positive life has to offer. This can be done by making decisions based on their past negative past and present fatalistic orientation perspectives.

Hedonistic present time perspective:

  • Is there a fear which you are not addressing?
  • What is convincing you to make decisions based on constant immediate pleasure?

Goal oriented future time perspective:

  • What does focusing solely on goals provide you?
  • Is the end result worth the sacrifices in your personal life?

If you find that your time perspective is hindering you from achieving your goals, speak to a mental health professional in order to process the different time perspectives in your life. This would be recommended in order to surpass the presenting issue and experience the personal growth which each and every one of us deserves.

Karl Grech is a counsellor. He offers counselling to both individuals and couples within Willingness. He can be contacted on karl@willingness.com.mt or call us on 79291817.

References:
Zimbardo, P., Sword, R., & Sword, R. (2012). The time cure: Overcoming PTSD with the new psychology of time perspective therapy. Jossey-Bass.