Sculpting Project 18: My Mind in Time Week 2

Sculpting Project 18: My Mind in Time Week 2

The 4-year-old sits in the room alone with one marshmallow in front of her. Her dilemma: eatOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA the one marshmallow right now or wait until the adult comes back and receive two marshmallows. What will she choose? 2/3’s of the children choose to eat the one marshmallow right now; present hedonist oriented. The final 1/3 wait (with difficulty) and receive the two marshmallows; future oriented.

Now 14 years later the researcher’s assistant returns to the discover any differences between the 2/3 present hedonists oriented and the 1/3 future oriented children. The differences were huge. Here are a few of the findings: The 1/3 future kids scored 250 points higher on SAT tests, were more self-reliant, more confident, and worked well with others. The 2/3 tended to be more indecisive, moody, over react to frustrations, and prone to envy. How we orient to time makes a difference in how we make decisions and live our lives.

What would you have done as a 4-year-old? I don’t know about me at age 4, but by the time I was in my teens I know what I would have chosen. I am predominately future oriented. This orientation has served me well in many ways,but its dominance has also created difficulties because too much of any one time orientation can be problematic. All future and we sacrifice family, friends, hobbies, fun, and sleep so we can work and achieve. I am very good at deferred gratification but not so good at savoring the present or the past. When we are too oriented to the past we never move forward or savor the present. When we are all present hedonist and we loose accomplishment and are likely to find ourselves pron to addictions. So what is the most helpful way of time orientation? Zimbardo finds this to be the ideal:

Past positive: High

Future: Moderately high

Present hedonist and holistic: Moderate 

Present fatalist Low

Past negative :Low

Note: (Present holistic and future transcendental are less developed in his research)

Why is this the ideal balance?

Present fatalist and Past negative breed hopelessness and depression. They are not helpful ways to orient to time.

Past Positive gives us roots, identity, family, groundedness

Future gives us wings to do wonderful things

Present Hedonist/Holistic gives us energy

The big skill Zimbardo encourages us to learn is the ability to shift our time perspective to fit our situation. I need to continue to develop my present holistic and hedonist orientations and take some time for past positive. Some of our sculpting projects have been targeted to this very need of mine. What is your orientation? What time zone do you need to develop?

Psychologists have taken Zimbardo’s research and designed programs to help folks with various problems such as addictions, dropout rates, PTSD vets, family conflicts. and more. Time orientations can help us strengthen our love for God, our work for His Kingdom and our ability to care for others.

This week you are becoming your own psychologist and designing a project that will help you develop one of your less developed time zones. Pray asking God assistance. It is God’s heart that you orient in a healthy way to the time He has given you.

Sculpting project 18 My Mind in Time

Select a time orientation you need to develop.

Create a project that will help you develop skills in past positive, future, or present holistic/ hedonist.


Increase Past Positive by setting aside a time to fondly remember the past, look at old photos, or resurrect a family tradition this week.

Increase Future: Dream a plan and then schedule it, or defer some gratification to achieve a goal.

Increase Present Hedonist/Holistic: set aside time to savor something you like (sunset, friend . . .), eat your favorite food with attention, play, be kind to yourself.

Let us know what you do? I am curious.

Sculpting ourselves to Love God and neighbor


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