It’s very easy to take our lives for granted. Most of us proceed under the illusion that there’s an unlimited supply of days ahead. While we know, of course, that we’re not immortal, this fact receives little conscious attention. We fall into the habit of procrastinating and postponing things, assuming tomorrow will continue to lie ahead of us.
Risky. We are not fortune tellers. We truly do not know what the future holds – how many years of good health we will have or how many opportunities there will be to share time with those we care about.
Psychologists (Layous et al 2018) recently investigated the effects of having people view time as scarce, and conducted an experiment encouraging participants to live as if they had only one month left in the city they resided in. Compared to a control group, these participants showed significant gains in well-being, deriving greater happiness from their surroundings. Savoring experiences was found to enhance feelings of connection, competence and control.
The results may seem counterintuitive – promoting a scarcity mentality as a means to well-being. And yet, considering future loss is apparently an effective approach to reminding us to make the most of the present time zone we live in!
Did you hear about the NFL player, St. Louis Rams’ center Jason Brown, who walked away from football and his $37 million contract several years ago to buy a farm in North Carolina? He grows food that he donates to the local pantry to feed the hungry, and reports how fulfilling his life a service is.
Check it out: