Basically, there are three main time zones that people live in. First, there are people who are past-oriented. There is 'past positive', where they cling to the good old days and all the sweet memories. There is also 'past negative', where they bury their regrets and failures, etc. Second, there are people who focus on the present. They live by the present. There WAS, IS, but there is no WILL BE. These present-oriented people are hedonistic. They seek for pleasure in everyday life and avoid pain. Meanwhile, there are people, who are present-oriented because they can't see the pay-off of planning; "My life is fated and there is nothing I could do about it". Full stop. Third, there are people who are future-oriented. These people are the ones that work and don't play, they go through everyday life resisting the temptations.
The Japanese are known for their workaholism. They will finish today's tasks and before heading home, they will prepare the materials for tomorrow's to-do list. These are the people who are said as future-oriented. They always be prepared for tomorrow.
It is said that we all begin life as present-oriented hedonists, in the sense that babies seek for pleasure: food and comfort and avoid pain. We'll be stuck as present-oriented hedonists if we don't learn and are not being taught and shaped to be otherwise. The present-oriented kids know the future consequences, but that knowledge never feeds back to change their behaviour. Thus, the purpose of family and schools is to take these present-oriented little beasts and make them more future-oriented. That is 'tarbiyyah'. Tarbiyyah is not only educating, but nurturing the 'little beast' to be a better person.
Muslims are taught to be future-oriented.
"Therefore, when thou art free (from thine immediate task), still labour hard; And to thy Lord turn (all) thy attention".
(QS 94: 7-8)
We believe, we plan and we do things zealously for the days of hereafter. Why all these hard work? Because this world is nothing but a brief stop,
"The life of this world is but play and amusement; and if ye believe and guard against evil, He will grant your recompense, and will not ask you (to give up) your possessions".
(QS 47: 36)
We work and strive because, we, the future-oriented muslims just don't take things for granted!
There is no full stop for hard work until the day we stop breathing. Istiqamah!
Aisha narrated that the Prophet Muhammad saw was asked:
"What is the most loved deed to Allah?", he answered, "One that is performed constantly even if it is a small deed".
(Bukhari & Muslim)
Persistence. Do less, more often. Why is Ramadhan is said to be the month of tarbiyyah? Because, to make something a habit, we have to constantly repeating the same routine for 27-30 consecutive days. There, the strive against nafs and persistence come hand in hand. There is no istiqamah without mujahadah; there is no mujahadatunnafs without iman.