THE PAST. Are YOU comfortably ensconced in the past? Is your room and belongings neatly stacked in the past? Or are you in the present? The now generation, without care for future or a concern for the past? Are you the FUTURIST with your head in the air and your feet above the ground? When it comes to time orientation which one are you? What does the orientation say about you?

Time period orientation

The behaviour of an individual puts him into any of the various groups concerning period orientation. The way an individual decides and carries out his duty will make him fall into either of the following categories:

(i) Yesterday or Past (ii) Today or Present (iii) Tomorrow or Future

i. The yesterday or past period oriented individual

These categories of people live in the past and love the outdated. Their reference point is the past. They are always nostalgic about things that have gone and are proud of their achievements in the past. They are very conservative in dressing, perception, convictions, beliefs, behaviour and thoughts. Usually rigid and fixed in their pattern of thinking, they are always against change, and therefore, will resist change rather than accept innovation. This makes them to be less creative. When mistakes are made by them, they spend time analyzing the mistakes rather than using such mistakes to move forward. They are usually critical when meeting people for the first time and their impression at the first meeting decides how they treat the individual.

Easily contented, the yesterday’s man loves well-trodden ways and rarely adopts new ideas or work on them. In organisations, they serve as pillar and support as well as bridge between old traditions and customs and new ideas. They are usually antiquarian in nature that is, they love old materials, work habits and objects. This makes them to be a good repository of work habits, objects and historians of the organisation. They will be known within the organisation as those who play by the rules and remain unchanged in their ways of doing things. They tend to frustrate today and tomorrow’s orientation people out of organisations. In most cases, they do not understand the momentary satisfaction pattern of today’s men and cannot reconcile themselves to the new fangled ideas of tomorrow‘s people. They are fond of formal speech and language use. They also love to command when communicating because they usually think of themselves as being superior to others.

ii The today or present period oriented individual

The present-minded individual only thinks of now and the present. He is momentary in nature. He is always capitalising on what he can achieve now and here. He lives for each day and moment without planning or thinking about the future or receding into the past like yesterday’s man. He detests permanency in any form. One can say he has disposable mentality and it seems the fast food culture is invented for him. He is always on the move, impatient to achieve and loves challenges and risks. He does not maintain friends, ideas and beliefs for long. He is always disposing off those things that will not help him in achieving his aims, His belief is to use them and discard.

The present minded individuals are fashionable and faddish in nature. They will rather buy the latest materials and use it for a day, dispose it and search for the latest fashion again without recourse to the one that has just passed. They are flexible and, like Esau in the Bible, sacrifice the future for present satisfaction. They live life to the fullest but usually lose their future in the process. In their restless nature to achieve, they lack the ability to concentrate for a long time or to face a job or action for a long time. They are like butterflies ever ready to touch as many flowers as possible. In relationships, what matters to them is not the quality or the intimacy but what touches them is what they can get out of it and the quantity. In communication and language use, the today’s man creates new words, uses slang and recently introduced words. They are fast in reacting to stimuli and are highly sensitive. They can be called the happening crowd and will always be in the forefront of things or happenings in their environment. They always achieve what they set out to achieve but there is the tendency for their achievements to be easily forgotten. They are in majority within the community or society.

(iii) The tomorrow or future oriented period

They are very few within the society. The future-oriented individual lives in the future. He is a visionary and waits to bring tomorrow down to today. As a result, he is always misunderstood and vilified. He dreams a lot and his vision and views are always on the horizon. This makes him to be eccentric in nature, unpredictable and grossly misunderstood. What he sees, others cannot see and he wants other to see. In explaining tomorrow to today’s people, they tend to castigate him and think he is mad. He does not help matter because, in his behaviour and suggestions, he is always bringing the innovative and the untested into the open. He loves contradictions and seems to enjoy being unorthodox.

The future-oriented man can deny self, sacrifice self and those surrounding him if he believes in a cause. The problem is that this cause is only known to him and will be appreciated when he is no more in the position or has left the company or community. He is fond of talking about tomorrow and can be ruthless when in power or in authority because he will want to force his followers to pursue the new thing or idea he is introducing. Very critical of the present, the future oriented man changes his mind as fast as the chameleon changes its colour but is usually an inner-directed individual. He is always all the time a workaholic. He has less personal life and his dependants will have to cope with a tasking public life that deprives them of being with him. The future-oriented man thinks less of fashion and what he wears. He believes in functionality of dressing and cares less for those things which most people place importance on. He is usually very idealistic and is an astute planner. Highly ethical and a strict disciplinarian, the future-oriented man disembowels pretences, hypocrisy and falsehood. He hates them and does not think twice before cutting off with those he does not trust. He lives a lonely life and is happy being alone because this gives him time to reflect and think, a habit, which is one of his pastimes. Very creative and innovative, the future-oriented spends time evolving new communication skills and techniques. His language is in a manner one does not expect. In interrelationships, the future-man is very flexible, experimental and keen observer of people. He learns and builds on very few intimate relationships.

Your time orientation only gives an aspect of YOU. What do you think your biological clock says about YOU?


One thought on “living in the PAST?

  1. the three time period orientation appears to have its merits and demerits but it pays more to be future oriented. For a country like Nigeria,it is pertinent that we embrace this orientation like the president is doing to attain a worthwhile dream.


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