Category Archives: Time is Gold


Questions about how you use your time.

1. Have you noticed the more engaged you are in an activity, the faster or more timelessly time seems to pass?

2. When a deadline is approaching, do you get a lot done? I did when an airport boarding gate was closing and I got more done than seemed possible, dashing to the correct terminal (having gone to the wrong one).

3. When you approach a deadline such as the ending time of a written examination, are you able to create and write prose more quickly than earlier?

4. When a musical instrument player is required to perform a sequence of notes with great rapidity, failure would seem not infrequent but does this occur less often than you would predict from bio-mechanical and neurological considerations?

5. Are you surprised when your performance ‘goes right on the night?’ Rehearsal enables automaticIty and this makes great performances possible, yet rehearsal is seldom conducted under conditions of time and activity as demanding as the performance.

6. Is your greatest success when optimal achievement occurs consciously as a series of ‘in the moment’ episodes?

7. Do you find you achieve most when you have a definite, achievable, continuous and decomposable goal?

8. When your performance is totally focussed on a goal in your brain, is it sometimes timeless because the brain has its own time?

Many people want more of their personal performance time under their own control. In my novel ‘Time is Gold’ a marathon runner and her boyfriend investigate answers for the questions above. She learns to control her own time using time dilation to exploit endurance conditions in extreme-flow. Publication is planned for November 2020.


The following story was told to me and it could be true.

An American tourist visited an English country village and went to the church. He met with a church warden outside.

‘What a magnificent clock tower you have,’ said the American. ‘Why is your clock reading more than an hour fast?’

‘Is it? That can’t be right. They fire the cannon at the castle at noon. The clock is a bit worn and dodgy, so I reset it when I hear the cannon. It’s a hard climb up the tower, so I don’t do it every day. It’s only a minute or two out at the most. Must be something wrong with your watch, my friend. None of the villagers have said anything to me.’

Next the American walked up the hill to the castle. On the battlements he spoke with a retainer who doubled as bombardier. 

‘I’ll be firing the cannon soon,’ he said. ‘I fire it every day, when I hear the church clock strike 12. We’ve been doing that here for 600 years.’

‘Is that right,’ said the American.

’There’s the clock now,’ he said. 

The clock struck 12. After the twelfth stroke, there was a delay of several minutes while he completed loading and firing the cannon.

‘There we are,’ he said, as the percussion rang in their ears. ‘Noon near enough.’

‘That explains it,’ the American mused. ‘Agreement between the users of measurement systems is assumed, when small errors can creep in and compound. Sometimes coincidence of amounts is objective but in many situations they are open to abuse, either malign or accidental. Here it is more like a conspiracy of neglect between mutually supportive authorities.’

‘The American could assume that his time while he is in the village is ‘dilated’. The church and castle have their own time, unconsciously proceeding at a pace slower than their surroundings. He could remove his watch and enjoy the more leisurely pace of life.

The possibility of disparities between the speed of light and time from timepieces, due to both depending on electromagnetic transmission that could vary in speed, has the same problem with observer and instrument calibration errors. My novel; Time is Gold, to be published in November 2020. It explores meanings of time in a story about a marathon runner.


No-one had ever run a 4 minute mile until Roger Bannister’s 3.59.4 in 1954. Within 2-3 years, about 30 others ran sub-4s. My theory of extreme flow causing time dilation is explained in my novel Time is Gold, to be published in November 2020.


Flow is a psychological condition described by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book ‘Flow’, published by Harper, 1990. I use flow frequently when writing novels. I am writing this piece to share my enthusiasm for flow as a technique able to improve all kinds of time-limited performances, from playing a musical instrument to acting, dance and gymnastics.  A fuller description of flow, used for long distance running, is in my novel Time is Gold, to be published in November 2020. 

What is flow? It is not possible to know the feeling of skiing without doing it. It is the same with flow: when you do it you can recall being purposefully absorbed, for example when I write I exclude other thought and apply my skills automatically. If you have ever realised that time has passed timelessly and pleasantly, with a sense of optimal achievement from having used your time well, you were in flow.

Performers may experience flow subconsciously. I hazard that a prolific author like J K Rowland could flow naturally. Flow is a mental condition acquired voluntarily. It is a psychological and spiritual state. Various conditions have been found to nurture it, for example focussing the will on achievement of a definite goal, exclusion of other concerns and application of favourite skills with automaticity. When I am editing my writing, I can work very fast applying complex skills dexterously. Other conditions that promote flow are comfort and absence of distraction. Each writer has their own springboard into flow.

I have extended Mihaly’s flow with my own theory, which I call extreme-flow. Besides enabling optimal achievement, extreme-flow pushes brain activity to capacity limits and causes brain time to dilate. This enables earlier completion of tasks and delays physical aging. When flow is infrequent and brief, the effects would hardly be noticeable. Flow artistes, who cultivate and experience the condition regularly, may be able to stay in flow for hours, or even days, with beneficial performance effects, such as accomplishment of a work of art, with higher performance speed, while staying younger.

To set up extreme flow, a performer requires attention to detail, like a chess player, golfer or snooker player for a difficult play. Everything has to be considered all at once in time that is limited. 

When the brain’s traffic of nervous impulses is nearing maximum capacity, flow is predicated to cause time dilation. To respond fast enough, time stretches with fewer, longer seconds. This is time dilation, first described by Albert Einstein in his Theory of Special Relativity, published in 1905. An object travelling very fast and observed from a slower time frame would have dilated time. Thus a writer could respond and finish a task earlier, in ‘extreme-flow’ than by simple reflex reaction. Time dilation has been observed scientifically. Like all psychological theories, extreme-flow cannot be observed, but there is circumstantial evidence.

Extreme-flow plays require meticulous preparation
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