Research Reveals Your Perception Of Time Will Indicate Your Success

Perception of Time

“Remember to dream big, think long-term, underachieve on a daily basis, and take baby steps. That is the key to long-term success.”

– Robert Kiyosaki

Within the past two and a half years… I’ve noticed the quickest rate of personal growth and development occur during the past six months.

And here’s why.

I used to rarely publish content.

Within the past six months, I’ve created more content than the previous two years combined.

So why didn’t I publish a lot of content before?

My perception of time was holding me back.

Specifically, short-term thinking was the reason I rarely published content.

When I adopted a long-term thinking approach, I became much more consistent with my content creation.

If I didn’t do this, I would’ve plateaued and given up by now.

Having a streamlined content creation process truly makes sense if you’re looking at the future implications for your life and business.

And if we can become more future-oriented, success is inevitable.

In this post, I’ll be diving into the type of thinking that differentiates visionaries, thought leaders, and successful entrepreneurs from the masses.

Jeff Bezos’ Insane Business Decisions

Self-made billionaire Jeff Bezos has undoubtedly made significant business decisions.

So what’s at the core of his decision-making process?

Here are a few examples that reveal Bezos’ thought process:

  1. When he was deciding if he should start Amazon, he used a “regret minimization framework.” He imagined his future self on his deathbed and considered the following question: “Would I regret not making this decision?”
  2. He’s spent billions of dollars running experiments that won’t bear fruits for 5–7 years and were likely to fail.

To the average person, these types of decisions are crazy.

Initially, I thought they were crazy too. But I’ve learned that there’s a method to the madness.

And this is a recurring pattern that you can find in visionaries, thought leaders, and successful entrepreneurs.

Bezos’ actions indicate that he’s very “future-oriented.”

These Decisions Only Make Sense When You Use A Future-Oriented Perspective On Time

Let’s use an example that’s more relatable for most: your health.

You have decisions that fulfill both short-term and long-term goals (and accompanying benefits).

An emphasis on short-term benefits will have you focus on maximizing taste and pleasure. This could result in eating junk food, over-eating, not exercising, etc.

An emphasis on long-term benefits will focus on actions that contribute to longevity, vitality, and sustainable energy.

Depending on how you perceive time, each makes sense. There’s a payoff for each.

If you’re focused on maximizing pleasure in the present… then eating junk food and not exercising makes sense.

If you’re focused on sustainable vitality and longevity for the long-term, it makes sense to experience some “discomfort” in the short-term so that you experience long-term benefits.

Within health, we can see the negative consequences of only focusing on the short-term.

Your perspective on time will also impact your content creation and business success.

According To Research, Your Perception Of Time Will Indicate Your Success

In Philip Zimbardo’s book Time Paradox, he shares how our perception of time profoundly impacts how we live and the decisions we make.

In academic jargon:

“The abstract cognitive processes of reconstructing the past and constructing the future function to influence current decision making.”

In other words, time is abstract.

And your relationship to “time” will influence how you make decisions in the present moment.

For example: if you think long-term, then eating that cheeseburger doesn’t sound like a good idea. But if you only think short-term, perhaps you’ll eat a cheeseburger every day for the next month.

How will this impact your health over time?

After surveying more than 10,000 people with the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory (ZTPI), he concluded that there are 5 main categories for how we perceive time:

  • Past positive
  • Past negative
  • Present hedonistic
  • Present fatalistic
  • Future-oriented

Without going too deep and boring you with details, his research concluded that future-oriented people tend to be more successful and accomplish their goals.

Let that sink in for a second…

Your perception of time can actually create more fulfilling outcomes in your life and business. And this is something that EVERYBODY has control over.

Thinking Long-Term Enables You To Make Higher Quality Decisions In The Present

What stops us from being future-oriented?

If you struggle with thinking this way, it’s not entirely your fault.

Instinctively, we’re not wired to think long-term.

But understanding how our brains function can help you overcome this human tendency and experience all the benefits of being future-oriented.

We all tend to focus on what’s urgent and push-off things that feel “non-urgent.”

This is actually a cognitive bias that’s been coined the “urgency bias.”

We tend to focus on urgent matters. Non-urgent matters are less of a priority.

If you’re being chased by a lion, tiger, or bear (oh my), this becomes helpful.

But when we’re not in extreme physical danger, it’s not as helpful. And it can actually hold us back.

The reason why this is so powerful is that your success relies on future opportunities.

Right now, these are “non-urgent” because it may take weeks, months, or even years to actualize.

Imagine having the opportunity to teach at an event or meet a potential business partner but lacking the skills to create a fulfilling outcome when that future opportunity arrives.

If you’re not prepared for these situations, then you miss out on huge opportunities.

And the only way to ensure that you capitalize on these opportunities is if you think long-term.

Content Creation and Long-Term Thinking

One criticism of content creation is that it’s not instantly gratifying.

It’s somewhat true. You probably won’t experience success after a few pieces of content. It usually takes a catalog of content to truly thrive.

HOWEVER. This doesn’t mean you can’t experience success along the way.

And it doesn’t take as long as you think.

But even more important… this long-term thinking approach to content is actually your biggest opportunity in the current market.

And here’s why:

  • A short-term approach focuses on “ego-metrics” and instant profitability. If this is the ONLY approach used, then profit eventually declines since you aren’t prepared for future opportunities in your market.
  • A future-oriented approach focuses on building community and long-term sustainability. This prepares you for future opportunities.

Most people are thinking short-term.

In fact, Former President of Y Combinator Sam Altman refers to long-term thinking as “one of the few arbitrage opportunities left in the market.”

Having a strong, growing community is one way you position yourself as a healthy and successful brand.

And a “future-oriented” content process will aid you in developing this.

Think about your personal and business timeline:

3 months, 1 year, 5 years, 10 years in the future…

What will your business look like?

Your content creation process can be a game-changer… the Archimedes lever that completely transforms your business development, growth, and profit.

If you only think short-term, you’ll be riding the “emotional roller coaster” of content.

Your content will lack purpose, and you’ll find yourself unprepared for future business opportunities.

If you can think long-term with your content, you’ll notice more motivation and discipline within your process.

You’ll have built a strong community.

And you’ll be more prepared for future opportunities in your business.

Have you been thinking long-term or short-term?

How To “Future Proof” Your Content Creation Process and Prepare For Huge Opportunities

“What is important is seldom urgent.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

At the end of the day, we want a content solution that allows you to meet your short-term obligations and succeed and sets you up to create a business you want in the long-term.

Here’s a helpful tool that can help you do this.

Below is the Eisenhower Matrix, inspired by Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Though you could use this tool for every domain of your life, this will be geared towards content marketing and business development.

Focusing on the top row is exponentially more productive than the bottom row.

I’ll start with what I consider to be “higher-value,” then descend to less valuable types.

1. Important And Non-Urgent Content

The green square is the realm of long-term thinking.

This type of content aims to build an audience.

This not only includes generating more followers but also focuses on valuable content to establish a relationship with your existing audience.

This is achieved by increasing content consumption frequency by creating great content for your audience to invest in (adding additional touchpoints throughout the customer journey).

The purpose of this is to earn trust.

Here’s why I emphasize “customer-centricity.” I’ve observed that it’s easy to become lazy once we acquire a subscriber, prospect, or customer.

But long-term success will require a community of true fans.

How can you build this without adding continuous value to your audience?

This type of content is what Michael Simmons would call “blockbuster content.” He does a great job explaining it in this article.

2. Important And Urgent Content

The blue square is important and urgent content marketing. This type focuses on getting people’s attention and being “top-of-mind.”

This is where lots of people focus.

It’s where people get to “know” and “like” you. It’s filled with entertainment and storytelling.

It’s content that prioritizes a dopamine release. Instant gratification. Action-packed.

This is the realm of social media posts and other easily-digestible pieces of content.

I want to be clear here, this type is important.

It gets people’s attention and encourages people to invest in your business and brand. And every marketer knows that attention is the currency of online business.

However, if you exclusively focus on this type of content, it doesn’t set you up for long-term success.

You’re missing valuable content that builds trust (and true fans).

3. Non-Important And Urgent Content

The yellow square represents administrative content. This type has minimal contribution to marketing and sales growth.

Answering emails is a typical example here. Though it may be urgent, it doesn’t move the needle for your brand and business.

These types of activities can be batched or outsourced altogether.

4. Non-Important And Non-Urgent Content

The red square is the last category. And I personally recommend avoiding it.

This type of content either adds zero OR negative value to your business.

It’s ultimately content that doesn’t serve a purpose—an investment with zero ROI.

It doesn’t help build your personal brand, business brand or promote any offer that can help people (and grow your business).

An example of this would be content that tends to “vent” or solicit validation.

This is incredibly tempting on social media.

There’s a difference between being a self-aware role model (and making that transparent to your audience) versus soliciting validation.

There’s a difference between standing-for-something versus venting.

On the surface, this type of content may appear attractive, informative, or entertaining.

But when you pull back the layers, there’s very little intention behind it, and it doesn’t make a positive impact for yourself or others.

Simply put, the top row adds lots of value. The bottom row adds very little.

Are you thinking long-term?


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