Part Three of a series of mini-articles under the umbrella of ‘Life Lessons’ in October’s Psychology Today focuses on the issue of time.
Therefore, it’s worth considering some ‘timely’ comments of the contributing authors with their insights on this immutable topic:
- The clock is ticking; consider the related, but differing, concepts of time carried on from ancient Greece – ‘chronos’, referring to time in the abstract, or as a sequential process, and ‘kairos’, referring to an opportune, decisive moment or a crucial point – the former concept feeding the validity of procrastinating, trusting action can be put off until the future, versus the latter concept, which embodies time constraints and the importance of acting before it’s too late; every moment impacts both past and future, so ‘do it while you can’
- The dials not followed; a sense of regret is one of the most impactful responses in life; while younger people often reflect on indiscretions committed while growing up (like cheating on tests), older folks are more likely to regret actions which were not taken along the way (such as not switching careers); at younger ages we are prone to skirting risks to minimize bad outcomes, but some of these turn out to be opportunities, the forsaking of which may be regretted in later life; engaging in the process of, while still young, pretending to be older, in turn reflecting back on experiences not partaken, can help identify activities to start while time is in your favour, and which may lead ultimately to a richer life
- Think longer term; an extension to the last point, in the context of goal setting, is imagining a narrative of one’s life and seeing what paths should have been taken or considered; we may well appreciate that “Our identity in the present is shaped in part by our view of the person we hope to become”; having a future perspective can steer our ship when encountering waves of big decisions
- Believe in the better you; it’s unrealistic to expect one’s life path will avoid obstacles and failures; random events will also occur and have an impact, contributing to the reality that, over time, almost anything can happen; therefore, we should give ourselves the benefit of the doubt, living with the belief that “Overcoming failure and genuinely believing in yourself is a winning combination”; being able to get through, with a positive spirit, what seem to be non-successes, allows us to move forward, in time rewarded with our share of accomplishments
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