Do You Have Enough Time To Be True?

“Time is the longest distance between two places.” ― Tennessee Williams

There’s a famous social psychology experiment that took place in the early 1970’s. A seminary student was asked to walk across campus and give a talk about careers in the ministry. This was repeated with other students. Another student was asked to march across campus and give a talk about the parable of The Good Samaritan. This too was repeated with other students. Of course, because it’s a research study, none of the subjects know what was going on or that there were other students involved.

As the student travel across campus there was a member of the experimental team positioned in their path who was experiencing a medical emergency, doubled over in pain and moaning loudly.  This was all staged, of course, but the student didn’t know. You can see already the hypothesis of this study. Will the students who are supposed to speak about The Good Samaritan more readily stop and render aid? 

Remember, these are all seminary students studying for the ministry. What happened was, the topic of each students’ talk did not seem to affect their willingness to help. But something else did.

In both groups, some students were given plenty of time to make it across campus. Others were given barely enough and then a third had to really rush if they hoped to give their talk on time – they were probably going to be late. Guess what the biggest predictor of putting one’s faith into practice was? Those who were in a rush, afraid of being late, were the least likely to actually help someone in need. It didn’t matter that they were running to tell others about being in the ministry or to teach about The Good Samaritan!

In the experiment, people who had more time were more likely to render aid. At a much higher rate, they put their beliefs into practice. Only 10% of those who were running late stopped to help.

6 Signs You're Dealing With 'Hurry Sickness' (And What To Do About It) | HuffPost Life

We all want to believe that people’s actions are caused by their internalized values and core beliefs. In fact, so much of what we end up doing is the result of external forces like time mismanagement, the actions of others and our every day connections to the world around us.

We end up doing and not doing because of the context in which we live. That means paying attention to the social environment is critical. It can make you or unmake you, despite who you thought you were.

The big lesson: Work harder at keeping true and not being swept away by reactions, emotions and situations. Spend time on your memory. Post some reminders. Who are you always going to be? Even when there’s only a few minutes left.

“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.” ― C.S. Lewis

2 thoughts on “Do You Have Enough Time To Be True?

  1. I got a notification for your blog which led to a rabbit hole of reading them! What a blessing, filled with so many nuggets for the here and now. Don’t stop believing as you say, and don’t stop writing!


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