The scale you completed was Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory, developed by Philip Zimbardo and Jon Boyd (1999).

This scale measures your relationship with time in 5 possible ways – how you perceive it and what you focus on. These five possible relationships with time are called time perspectives, and here is what they are:
  • A past negative perspective: are you mentally stuck on the bad events of your past?
  • A past positive perspective: do you experience nostalgia and focus your attention on positive moments of your past?
  • A present hedonistic perspective:do you live “in the now” to enjoy the moment?
  • A present fatalistic perspective: are you not making plans because you think your life’s path is predetermined anyway?
  • A future perspective: do you consider future events and plan for the long-term?

The graph below shows your time perspective scores in green (1st bars). The time perspectives of less-happy people are shown in red bars and the time perspectives of happy people are shown in blue bars. Higher scores indicate stronger identification with that time perspective:

As the graph above shows, happier people tend focus on the positive moments of their past and plan for the long term. Less happy people get stuck on bad events and feel that life is predetermined.

Why time perspectives important for well-being? As you probably expect, people with a strong past negative perspective are the least happy. They are more likely to abuse alcohol, have fewer close friends, suffer more from depression and anxiety, and have lower self-esteem than individuals who score high on the other 4 time perspectives. People who focus their attention on the positive moments in the past, on the other hand, are fairly happy. Also, people who score moderately high (as opposed to extremely high) on the present hedonistic and future time perspectives both have some fun in life and consider future consequences.

How can I change my scores? It’s not necessarily the change of scores you need, but the age-old wisdom: balance is key. Be mindful of what you think about. Be aware of your thinking patterns and don’t get stuck in the past but indulge in a little nostalgia. Enjoy yourself and live some things up in the air, but remember that tomorrow is coming. Plan ahead for that tomorrow, but remember to live a little.

For more information on time perspectives, watch this video:

How do your current priorities impact what you buy? Take our Life Goals and Buying Choices and on your feedback page you will learn you will learn how current priorities impact what you buy. If you take our Forecasting your Happiness and on your feedback page you will learn if happiness matters more when you are buying a life experiences or a material item.

Finally, people who completed the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory also enjoyed the Experiential Preferences Scale, the Motivations for Experiential Buying Scale, and the Experiential Buying Tendency Scale.

Do you have ideas on improving this study? Or did you encounter any difficulties in answering the questions? Click here to send a message to the creators of this study.

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