Bending the Arrow of Time

Posted: May 19, 2011 in Psychology
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Bending The Arrow of Time

The thermodynamic arrow of time implies that systems are highly ordered in only one time direction, the past. Physics? I thought this was motivational psychology. The natural world and human consciousness have a lot in common. There are analogies everywhere. Today, I’m looking at how our perceptions of our place in time can affect our motivations.

We can’t change our past. It is what it is. There is no possibility that it was different. We can remember it differently, but it only happened one way. The past is orderly. The future is highly disordered. It can go in many directions.

The arrow of time for your motivations comes from what you’ve done in the past through the present and into your future goals. Most of the time, this arrow is straight. Your past life is aligned with your future goals. You do what you know. Is this what you want?

Most of the time, you will want your future to match your past. Consistent goals are the road to success. I hope you are already following positive goals that will help you grow as a person. That means you’re on the right track.

If your future looks like your past and you’re going nowhere fast, it’s time for a change. If you try to go in a direction you’ve never gone before, you’re cutting off your past. Breaking the arrow of time can toss you into a sea of existential meaninglessness. Some people love such situations. The greater the amount of change, the greater the potential for growth. If you find change too stressful, there is a solution; bending the arrow of time.

You need to have a foundation to hold your goals together. For example, let’s say your current career goals are all based on sales through one-on-one customer interactions. You feel like you can’t get any better at selling and you’re bored of the work. So you decide to get into computer programming. You take the courses and get a job in a computer company sitting in a cube typing on a computer all day. No sales. No customer interaction. How is your new career connected to your past? Not at all. You’ve created a disconnect with your past life.

Now take the same example using a choice that bends the past to create a new future. You take the same computer courses, but get into freelance programming. You work as a contractor to companies in your area or offer your services over the internet. Maybe both. Now you have a connection with your past. Sales are still a part of your career, but not your whole career. You’re probably making a lot more money than in the first scenario too.

By bending the arrow of time, instead of breaking it, you’re keeping your past skills and experience. This increases your value to customers and employers, and gives you more freedom of choice. What can you do to bend the arrow of time in your favor?

Article text copyright 2011 David Arthur Smith. All Rights Reserved.


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