A client of mine in private practice planned for weeks how to approach his boss for a raise. He wrote out in his mind a scenario of what he would say and what his stingy boss would reply and then what he’d retort until he emerged victorious. One day, he finally went in to ask his boss for the raise. As he began his well- rehearsed speech the boss interrupted him and said, “I’ve wanted to talk to you about your salary. You deserve a raise.” The boss then offered a salary increase that was more than my client intended to ask for.
He came to his next counseling session furious that he did not get to play out the scenario. He had planned the scene in such detail that he was unable to react spontaneously. Playing out the scene as rehearsed became more important than the raise itself or the obvious valuing from the boss.
This man was time incompetent, He lived in the future, with idealized goals, plans expectations, predictions and fears. Time incompetent people may also live in the past, with guilts, regrets and resentments.
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