Positive Psychology and the Elusive Nature of Time

As I delve deeper into my academic journey into positive psychology, often dubbed the “science of happiness/flourishing/well-being”, I’ve recently stumbled upon a realm of fascinating research centred around our perceptions of time.

Time: that ever-elusive concept which remains forever out of our grasp. We can’t buy it, create it, or sell it. Yet, in today’s fast-paced world, many of us grapple with the challenge of a time crunch.

Unravelling the Complexities of Time Perspective

The domain of ‘time research’ throws the spotlight on time perspective and time use as pivotal contributors to our well-being. It’s not just about how we actually spend our hours, but how we feel about that time spent. Constructs such as time affluence, subjective time use, time perspective, time personality, and time urgency come to play. It’s a vast and intricate field!

Researchers have found strong correlations between the time perspective we adopt and our overall well-being. Our choice of time perspective influences a myriad of areas, from our educational achievements and health patterns to our romantic choices. Moreover, it has implications for various behaviours – be it risky driving habits or substance abuse.

What About Time and Money?

So indeed, in an ever-evolving world where our lives often dance to the rhythm of the clock’s ticking hands, our relationship with money finds itself tied to time. The linear equation most of us are raised with is simple: more hours equals more money. But is this equation the most beneficial one for our well-being, happiness, and long-term aspirations?

  1. The Conventional Wisdom: Time Equals Money

The conventional belief in the ‘time creates money’ paradigm is deeply rooted in many. Such thinking suggests that our monetary earnings are proportional to the hours we clock in. This mindset essentially reduces our lives to a mere transaction, where each hour holds a fixed monetary value.

  1. The Value Proposition: Rethinking the Equation

However, the heart of the matter lies not in the number of hours but in the value encapsulated within those hours. What if the true essence of our financial returns is not rooted in the time we give but in the value we provide? This shift in perspective suggests that our financial growth is not just about logging more hours but about optimizing each hour for maximum value delivery.

It’s not about the ticking clock but the impactful moments within those ticks. When we infuse more value into our hours, our earning potential becomes boundless, for we’ve unlocked an equation where time is no longer the constraining factor.

  1. The Mind as the Value Catalyst

The intriguing aspect of this value-based approach is that the primary tool to create this value is our mind. Our mind, with its incredible capacity for innovation, problem-solving, and creativity, becomes the forge where value is crafted. If value is the currency of the new age, then our mind is the mint.

This perspective elevates our mind to the status of our most treasured asset. Nurturing, educating, and optimizing our minds should be paramount. Investing in its growth through learning, coaching, and constant refining becomes not just a good-to-have but a must-have.

  1. Buying Time, Amplifying Value

When we operate at our peak potential, creating immense value, we also unlock the capability to buy time. By hiring individuals for tasks outside our zone of genius, we free ourselves to further hone and apply our unique skills and talents. This not only augments our value creation but also gives us the freedom to pursue what truly matters.

While money might not be a direct ticket to happiness, it can facilitate the purchase of time. And with this time, we have the opportunity to mould, shape, and craft unparalleled value. Such value not only elevates our professional stature but enriches our lives, making us happier and more fulfilled.

In Conclusion

In a world that often equates success with financial affluence, reshaping our money philosophy from ‘time-centric’ to ‘value-centric’ can be transformative. It’s not just about earning more; it’s about making every moment count. And in this journey, our mind is our most trusted ally. This is a monetary mindset not just for prosperity but for a life filled with purpose and meaning.

If you’re intrigued by the intersections of emotional intelligence, leadership, and positive psychology, and how they shape our perceptions around money, I invite you to explore this further.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Sophie



  1. Boniwell, Ilona, and Aneta D. Tunariu (2019). Positive Psychology: Theory, Research and Applications. McGraw-Hill Education.
  2. Life Coach School (2018). LCS episode 208. Planning a Money Philosophy. https://thelifecoachschool.com/podcast/208/. March 2018.