The First Law of Chronoception: Contraction
So the first law is the law of contraction. This is the idea that time, absent from other intervention, will start to speed up the older you get. And the reason for that, is that, I think that time passes through your brain and my brain much the way that water passes through a garden hose. And for a fixed flow of water, we have a fixed flow of water, the speed of that water in the garden hose is inversely proportional to the diameter of that aperture. The smaller you make it, the faster it goes; that's why you put your thumb over the end to shrink the aperture and make water spray farther, it speeds up. If you use a tiny hose, it's gonna go much faster than a big hose; this is what I think is happening in our brains; our brains are contracting around time, speeding it up the older we get. And why is it doing that, why is that fair? Well, let's take a look at the brain of an eight year old. And let's use, instead of base times height, for this diameter, let's use breadth of experience a...
nd depth of experience, emotional range. Eight year olds, everything's new, right? First time to the ocean, first time in the mountains, first baseball game, first girlfriend, like, new, new, new, all uniqueness, all breadth, tons of breadth of experience. And, first win, amazing; first loss, horrible. First breakup, horrible. Getting hit in the face with the ball, seeing the ocean for the first time, like, they have incredible range of emotions. Eight year olds cry a lot, right. And so, their breadth of experience is wide open; their depth of experience is wide open. And so, time trickles through and summers last forever. Okay, now you're 20. And you've got a job, or a major, and you've got a little bit more routine in your life. And so, your breadth of experience is starting to narrow, you still have a lot of new stuff, but not everything is new everyday. And, you have not as much emotional range, because frankly, you don't wanna cry every fourth day. And so, as you're 20, you start to not choose to be in games where you're picked last, and you don't have these horrible things and you don't surround yourself with strangers that you don't like, and so your emotional depth starts to attenuate along with your breadth of experience, and time starts to speed up. Usually people experience this in their twenties. Okay, now we fast forward, and at age 50, sure it's not true for anybody here, but a lot of people I know that are in middle age have the same schedule, they do the same thing, they go to the same commute to the same job with the same coworkers, they eat at the same places for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, they go to the same places for vacation and with the gauze of Advil, Paxil, air conditioning, life is super safe, super routine, super comfortable, and their aperture for time squeezes down and a year starts to feel like a decade. So somewhere around 30, people start to figure this out. And a lot of 30-somethings sort of say, hey, I gotta, time is speeding up, I need to do new stuff, I need to have some more uniqueness in my life, and so they'll sign up for piano lessons, voice lessons, who go to Toastmasters, do a triathlon, run a marathon, and these are all great things, and they definitely expand the breadth of your experience if they're new, but, for the most part, most of these activities you can't fail at. And so, you're not deeply emotional, like, can you fail voice lessons? I mean, I don't, maybe. You take a class, do you really care if you get an A or a B? Probably not after you've already finished school. You know, go to Toastmasters, if you don't do great is it gonna, you know, is your day over, like is life over, no. So, there's not enough emotional range to make those unique experiences count. So, how to slow down time and experience summers like an eight year old? Well, you have to expand both axes. You have to have the breadth of experience and the depth of experience; you've gotta expand both of these, but if you can take the risks for the big rewards, the fear of failure that it takes to make these things incredibly powerful, then you can slow down time. So here's the ways to do it. Don't just attend a class; teach one. I promise you, the first class I taught, whoo. That was scary, but it slowed down time 'cause the prep for that was incredibly intensive, and I was laying down memories, deep pools of memories that were broad and wide and a track to get there. Don't just train for a sport; race and care about the outcome. Be the best in your age category, your group, or your level. Don't just take lessons, perform. I had a friend, you know, Amalia. First time I ever told the story was with her, we were walking up the mountain in Monterrey and I was telling her exactly this, and she goes like, "Oh my god, so yesterday, "somebody offered me to sing in front of "a thousand people at this festival coming up "in six weeks and I told them no, so you're telling me I need to do it?" I'm like, "Yeah." She's like, "I hate you." Okay. So I got a couple calls over the next few weeks. One was in tears. And she's like, "I'm not ready, I don't think "I can do it, this is a huge mistake, I..." and then I got the call afterwards, which was two things. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and this last month is one of the longest months I've ever had in my life. Because the intensity of that prep, the fear of failure, the emotional resonance, the uniqueness of that experience of standing in front of a thousand people who are cheering for you was like nothing she'd ever had before. So it totally, totally worked. Never go to the same place on vacation. As tempting as it might be, part of vacationing is the newness, the rawness, the uniqueness, the potential for things to go wrong, and so I have some advice for you all I'll share on the next one, but. So how do you know if you're doing it right? Well, if you're not willing to cry over the outcome of this new activity; if it's not so emotionally intense that you could see yourself breaking down at some point because of the risk of failure or things going off the rail, then you're probably not going to slow down time like an eight year old. But if you're willing to take the risks and rewards to take on those big challenges, I promise you this absolutely, fundamentally slows your experience with time and it works, every time. Now we got rule number one. Okay, this is the least important. It's the most intuitive.