May 27, 2009
I just finished reading, “The Time Paradox: The New Psychology of Time that Will Change Your Life” by Zimardo and Boyd. It hasn’t changed my life, but it definitely gave me insight. Irrespective, it is a worthy read.
Before I began reading, I took the online Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory (ZTPI) and discovered that I am an off-the-scale futurist scoring a whopping 4.92 in the future perspective. On all other time perspectives, I am at or below average.
The description of the “Future-Oriented Person” closely describes me (dominant in concern about long-term consequences, able to sustain the unpleasant for future benefit, health conscious, goal-oriented…) – how scary is that?! Perhaps that explains WHY I have a blog titled the LONG VIEW!
The basic point of the book is to get Futurists to be more Present and Past/Presents to be more Futurist – we all need balance. Indeed!
The good news for me is that Futurists tend to be very successful in business because they are well equipped to deal with the complexities of the modern world. The bad news is that Futurists tend to have less joy because we undervalue pleasure – work first, then play (if there is time).
The best news is that I didn’t need the book to get me going to achieve balance! Over the past many years, I have been actively working to Be Present much more – to enjoy the process, the road, the flowers along the road, and my traveling companions. The authors reinforce that great leaders are engrossed in the Present.
Some of the most interesting threads in the book revolve around the clash of time perspectives and how differences give rise to conflict. For example, Presents tend to be “in the moment” proceeding with what is interesting to them, viewing punctuality, specificity, and conformance as limitations. Futures on the other hand, value punctuality, specificity, and conformance. Understanding these differences and cultivating balance can lead to less conflict. ☺
Are you working to achieve balance? Is joy on your priority list?
February 27, 2009
Over the past many years, I have had the privilege of analyzing many significant management issues within the technology industry using Goldratt’s thinking process. Each time, I set out to discover the core conflict, I knew that the adventure would be both interesting and challenging to resolve.
What I did not expect was for all of those core conflicts to coalesce to a competition between meeting short-term organizational interests and meeting long-term organizational interests: short v. long! At first, I was surprised because the actual manifestations (what people complained about) seemed quite different each time. However, with time and more examples, I began to realize that the common thread was essentially overly optimistic thinking: a) if everything goes perfectly and we are lucky, we can meet our goals, or b) we are not sure of our priorities, so let’s just try and do everything. I found myself asking, why would any rational business behave this way?
Not long after I decoded that common thread, a friend suggested that I read “Stumbling on Happiness” (it’s funny and enlightening; if you are a close personal friend of mine, you’ll probably get a copy for your birthday!) The answer is we (humans) tend to be irrational! This idea is not new, novel, or in any way original. In fact, there is an entire scientific domain devoted to these ideas: behavioral economics.
Although it’s not like I crawled out from under a rock without an understanding of the need for discipline in all aspects of life (my family instilled the importance of taking the long view and forgoing immediate gratification just like other families have done for millennia), I am simply taking it deeper. This weblog chronicles my absorption and application of this increased knowledge and awareness to life, business, technology, and family → kissing immediacy goodbye.