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ref: 89db8a0db3b15ad1a131b443ccfe2a0d5f08170a sive.rs/site/time -rw-r--r-- 5.1 KiB
89db8a0d — Derek Sivers formatting 4 months ago
                                                                                
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<title>Are you present-focused or future-focused? | Derek Sivers</title>
<meta name="description" content="Everyone knows about being introverted versus extroverted, but there’s another axis that makes a much bigger difference.  It’s present-focused versus future-focused.">
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<div class="blogparent">from the book “<a href="/n">Hell Yeah or No</a>”:</div>
<h1>Are you present-focused or future-focused?</h1>
<small>2009-06-05</small>
  <audio src="https://m.sive.rs/sive.rs.time.mp3" preload="none" controls="controls"></audio>
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<p>
	Everyone knows about being introverted versus extroverted, but there’s another axis that makes a much bigger difference.
	It’s present-focused versus future-focused.
</p><p>
	Some people are mostly focused on the present moment.
	They live for today and do what feels good right now.
</p><p>
	Some people are mostly focused on the future.
	They use today as a stepping stone and do what’s best for their future selves.
</p><p>
	I learned about this from the book <i><a href="/book/TimeParadox">The Time Paradox</a></i>, by legendary psychologist Phil Zimbardo, and it blew my mind.
	It helped me understand these people who had seemed crazy to me before.
	It also helped me understand why I act the way I do.
</p><p>
	Check out these examples.
</p><p><strong>
	Present-focused people:
</strong></p><ul><li>
	Pursue pleasure, excitement, and novelty
</li><li>
	Focus on immediate gratification
</li><li>
	Especially appreciate life, nature, and the people around them
</li><li>
	Are playful, impulsive, and sensual
</li><li>
	Avoid anything boring, difficult, or repetitive
</li><li>
	Get fully immersed in the moment and lose track of time
</li><li>
	Are more likely to use drugs and alcohol
</li><li>
	Are better at helping others than helping themselves
</li></ul>
<p><strong>
	Future-focused people:
</strong></p><ul><li>
	Delay gratification
</li><li>
	Are driven with self-discipline because they vividly see their future goals
</li><li>
	Tend to live in their minds, picturing other selves, scenarios, and possible futures
</li><li>
	Especially love their work
</li><li>
	Exercise, invest, and go for preventative health exams
</li><li>
	Are better at helping themselves, but worse at helping others
</li><li>
	Are more likely to be successful in their careers, but often at the expense of personal relationships, which require a present focus
</li></ul>
<p>
	Your time-focus is environmental.
	People who grow up in unstable places are more present-focused because imagining the future is hard.
	People who grow up in cold climates are more future-focused because they have to prepare for the winter.
</p><p>
	Your time-focus can change in an instant.
	If you ask a present-focused person to describe their ultimate career and write down the steps to achieve those goals, their focus will change to the future.
	If you ask a future-focused person to name every background sound they can hear, or where their body is touching their chair, their focus will change to the present.
</p><p>
	Your values change your focus.
	Being in love or making art pushes someone towards a present-focus.
	Ambition pushes someone towards a future-focus.
</p><p>
<strong>
	Both mindsets are necessary.
</strong>
	You need a present-focus to enjoy life.
	But too much present-focus can prevent the deeper happiness of achievement.
	(I call this “shallow happy” versus “deep happy”.)
</p><p>
	I wish all of this was part of a common understanding, the way we understand when extroverts want to go out for excitement, and introverts want to stay home with a book.
</p><p>
	This concept even helps me understand myself when I’m acting out of character.
	If I’m acting too undisciplined, I realize it’s because I’ve stopped vividly seeing my future.
	I can only see the present.
	If I’m acting too disconnected, I realize it’s because I’m obsessed with my goals.
	I can see only the future.
</p><p>
	I hope you find the idea as useful as I have.
</p>
<a href="/book/TimeParadox"><img alt="Time Paradox book cover" src="/images/timeparadox.jpg"></a>

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© 2009 <a href="https://sive.rs/">Derek Sivers</a>.
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