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How to think in another age

·813 words·4 mins

The long and short of it

I’ve just listened to an episode of the Hidden Brain’s Best Years of Your Life. In the episode there is a key insight how to change your own perspective of the world with respect to seeing how much time you have left.

Learning from “best years of your life” episode

The episode highlights a vision that a person holds influences their behaviors. Essentially boils down to two perspectives of how much time they have left to live. Long or Short.

In longer perspectives you will tend to value more novel experiences, take more risks and be more free with how you use your time. There is also a greater emphasis on creating newer relationships. Here you tend to have a greater focus on the past and future states of yourself. This is you as your were young.

On the flip side, with shorter perspectives individuals there exists a scarcity in your time. Here the value you place on the familiar is great. It’s not worth it to explore newer things when you don’t have much time left. You focus on the present moment and all of it. This is you as you get older and older.

That is the typical route for most of us, or at least is how we imagine it to be. You might be wondering, is there value in either perspective? The answer is it depends. It depends on you and how you choose to see the world.

Let’s talk now about some ways to induce the perspective that may be useful to you:

Why would you want a longer time horizon?

This probably comes natural to you, but some do struggle with getting out there. Like me, I have found myself into a comfortable environment. It is very difficult to convince my brain to try new things and explore new things. In fact, it does not come naturally. It only comes out of necessity and induced by external motivators. Yes, this is a long answer for the long perspective. With a longer perspective there exists a possibility that you are the you the you’ve always wanted to be. There is time, it is not too late; all you have to do is put it to work.

How to see more time

There is an endless ocean of possibility. Let’s go sailing.

Think about the next few years ahead of you. Think of all the open possibilities in the information age has set before you today. You can connect with more people than ever before, learn more things than you can ever learn, and experience many things that was not possible. You can become a much more realized you than you’ve wanted to be. All you have to do is plan out the steps to get there, starting from something that is exciting to you, something that draws you and your attention. This would be a big effort that would span long periods, but you can do it. You know you can with all of the experience has taken you to this point. You know it is achievable.

Why would you want a shorter time horizon?

I admit it that it’s much more natural to think about the past and the future rather than the present. They say it is a gift. For what? Many of the productivity / mediation / flow experts you find preach that being one of the goals of mindfulness is being more present. Why?

Here in your present moment, we find that it is really the only space that we have to make our choices. Here you dictate the direction of your life for good or for bad. The present is all you really have, the past is gone and can’t be undone, the future is undecided and fleeting. The present is where the rubber meets the road. Therefore, savor it for what it gives you.

How to see less time

There is an end

There will be a time when you don’t exist anymore. If you want to make this real calculate your age, subtract it from 100 years (that’s being generous) and start a count down timer. Watch as the seconds waste away as you calculate how much time you have left. Pretty depressing huh? But bringing this to your attention should help you decide whether to talk with someone at gathering or sit in the corner and look at your phone. Your choices will eventually fly away from your hands, you might as well make them work for you while you have them.

Make it count

There is a Muhammad Ali quote that comes to mind: “Don’t count the days, make the days count”. So you now have the power in this present moment to make the choices in your life that will direct it for the better.