How MindTime® Works

The three perspectives of time

The 3 perspectives of time give rise to three priorities that shape your thinking, and everything you do and feel:

Certainty – what we can derive from the Past
Probability – what we can improve in the Present
Possibility – what we can imagine for the Future

Everyone has a unique point of view which is formed by their blend of these three foundational priorities of mind or core needs.

The result of this blending of priorities is a person’s thinking style. It defines the value each of us brings to every aspect of our lives. It is what motivates us and shapes our personalities. It is also at the root of most of our differences in how we each think. Here is the story of these three priorities.

John Furey explains the three perspectives of time and how they shape our mind’s priorities

Past thinking gathers as much data as possible and is concerned with accuracy and truth. It refuses to take anything at face value or for granted; it needs to be certain and is continuously engaged in evaluating, validating, researching, weighing pros and cons, and judging credibility. Refusing to trust that “everything will work out,” it attempts to reduce the risk of negative outcomes. Above all it is reflective.

Present thinking seeks homeostasis and some measure of control over unfolding events. It monitors the surrounding world, assesses any changes in the environment, values stability, productivity, harmony, and closure and respects existing rules and the status quo. It will do everything it can to follow through and to honor commitments. It abhors chaos and confusion, and is driven to establish balance and order, create structure, and get things done. It is primarily practical.

Future thinking is open to possibilities, seeks out new opportunities and intuits what the future might bring. It is our source of vision, and it often promotes those visions with enthusiasm and energy, inventing new strategies and tactics along the way, and flying by the seat of its pants. It pushes the limits of what is known and understood. It is comfortable with change and ambiguity; it chafes when confined within a rigid structure. It needs deadlines for generating the motivation to bring something to completion. It is essentially imaginative.

Your unique point of view is a blend of these essential priorities or core needs.

We each blend the three perspectives of time, that’s how we become different from one another in our thinking and therefore our behaviour. Whether you lead with one perspective, blend two, or equally blend all three, all possible points of view are a blend of the same 3 perspectives of time.

MindTime offers us a very rare opportunity because it presents us with a framework. That is to say, an a priori architecture of thought from within which all thoughts and behaviours emerge. The MindTime map shows us that while there are many possible combinations or blends of the three perspectives, all are located within the map of the world of thinking.

This map shows predominantly Future perspective in a person’s Thinking Style. The larger distance from Present and Past shows the relatively low intensity of these in the person’s overall thinking style.

This map shows a relatively low level of Future perspective and a roughly even intensity of Past and Present (although this person would be said to be a Past-Present thinker as the Past dominates very slightly over Present perspective).

In the third map we show an individual who is equally influenced by all three perspectives. It is perfectly natural for a person to have an almost equal influence of all three perspectives. This is known as the Integrated Thinking Style.

We all have a point of view. And, every point of view has value to bring. The wonderful thing is that now, with this map and its underlying theory, we can understand each other’s relative point of view, needs and motivations and have more empathy and compassion for each other.

The Theory of MindTime is peer reviewed, well-published and much used in organisational and coaching environments.

Mind in Time: deep dive

What’s the relationship between the mind and time?

Let’s use the example of the three dimensions of physical space—x, y, and z. When we walk around we do not experience each of these dimensions as individual dimensions, we can’t. To us they are inseparable. We experience and live in the effect of their coexistence, physical space. The experience of space itself is a quantum leap in effect beyond the sum of the three dimensions. We experience the effect.

And so too, your experience of mind happens because of the potential inherent in the concepts of  Past, Present, and Future. You don’t experience the three dimensions of time as separate dimensions, you can’t, they’re inseparable. You experience mind, the effect of their coexistence. Time is the experience you have in space. Mind is the blend of the three perspectives of time that create your experience.

You can learn more about the mind in time and the theory that explains it here. Listen to John Furey, the founder of MindTime, speak at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands.

Want to learn more about how MindTime works?

Make sure to check out our FREE MindTime Basics course on Udemy. 

Everything we do begins with a thought. That’s not just philosophy, that’s science.

Whether you are a manager trying to get a better handle on your people, a mother trying to understand her child, a coach working to better understand how to help clients, a teacher trying to engage with students, at a distance, more effectively. This body of work, to which this course is an introduction, is a goldmine. Basically, we’ve distilled advanced psychology and ancient philosophy down into an approachable and useful basics course. We hope it will inspire you to learn more.

This might change your life, it will certainly change your understanding of people and yourself.

Check out our course on Udemy

“[MindTime] turned lifelong struggles in my thinking into assets.”

— Marika Curganov, PhD


The True Power of Time is a mini e-book that offers over 50 pages of straightforward explanation and insights of how all your thoughts are shaped by time’s three perspectives. This e-book will answer these three questions and many more:

  • Why do you resist certain tasks and love others?
  • How do you form your point of view, on everything?
  • What can you do to supercharge your thinking assets and mitigate your deficits?

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It’s All About Time is packed with powerful insights for leaders and coaches. It redefines collaboration and innovation as issues of human thinking in terms which are understandable by everyone. It provides a scientifically validated method to engage each and every person’s greatest value in the most effective role and sequence—revealed in Turning The Wheel of Innovation (chapter 7). Examples, exercises and informative illustrations have made this a go-to companion for team leaders, coaches and executives alike.

(e-book version)

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