Saturday, April 4, 2009

Time orientation

The brother sent this one on to me, with note that chapter-10 seems to mess with some links so should be skipped over.

First couple chapters are explanation of the idea. Of course I have zillions of questions about study format, are we measuring what we think we're measuring, etc, etc. This is a lecture talk, so they glazed over it all. I'll have to spend some time with the studies and get back on that, but let's make the assumption that all is as stated. It certainly seems to have a fair amount of face validity to it.

I'm automatically prone to applying these ideas to myself and the people around me who I know well, which of course is a terribly mix of anecdote, case study, and personal bias. But here's my thoughts: I grew up in a house of very future-oriented people, namely my father, who faces most decisions with the respect only an actuary would. All contingencies are planned for, any possible problems that could occur are treated as though all go wrong at the same time, and everything goes in a neat spreadsheet package. I have no idea how much of this was learned from risk assessment of space operations, but I suspect he came into the program with these very useful skills because he already possessed a great deal of them. My mother I'd say is compassed around present-present-future, which makes for a pretty good dynamic between the two of them. With occasional difficulty in choosing paint colors. Neither (and I suspect all people) fit cleanly into a particular spot all the time.

The result, myself, is someone who is situationally specific to all these things. Money, education, work, etc, I tend to over plan. I would say most of the time I knew exactly how much homework I had to turn in, how many days I had to show up, and what score I had to get on each exam before the first was done, with a proper margin of error based on statistical past experiences, of most of the classes I took. After which I would make up for my carefully plotted free time with totally unstructured, semi-risky adventures ranging from car racing to delicious treats. On top of that there's little doubt in my mind that I live my relationships excessivly in the past.

I think the link here is that present-future should be treated seperately from past by its common thread: pictureness. Past lacks a scale of big-picture or little picture- in fact I often find myself surpised when I sum up some past experience and it seems like it was a much bigger deal than I know it really was. I'm not sure which was really wrong. Present and future is different than that- some people are oriented strongly to big picture actions, and some to small picture actions.

The example of my student-y-ness is a big picture thing. I failed to view the individual work assignments, or even the tests themselves as relevant. The big picture was a college education, and as I progressed, a life education, until it grew to a life career, financial situation, personal capability, etc, etc. Somewhere down the road it will probably get to be even more abstract. This allowed me to put dotted lines around the required bits, like how much work, how much play, how much money. Often at the loss of little picture items- how often to pick up the phone, go out, finish that one project, etc. Things tend to get done in time, but things without a specific due-date tend to float for a long time. The whole is a steady march, but the individual projects tend to look more like intermitent sprints.

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