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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.


Here is a link to a video of a murmuration of starlings. This is an extraordinary spectacle and the rapid and coordinated behaviour of the birds could be difficult to explain.

How would you explain it?
4 minutes

My explanation is that the birds are in a condition of extreme flow with full mental engagement, indicated by the excitement of the birds, their twittering before they alight for the night. I have heard Lorikeets vibrating with excitement as they settle into their roosting tree at dusk. It is their freakish coordination, requiring birds to behave quickly, in concert, without collision, that reveals something ‘magical’ is going on. At a slower speed, the moves would not be remarkable. It is easy to imagine the video has been speeded up because the birds are animated, darting this way and then that, all together. But the video plays in real time, the starlings’ time is definitely stretched and the ‘magic’ must be time dilation.

I believe starlings are able to manoeuvre aerially with dexterity because their time is dilated and they therefore have fewer and longer seconds, with time to do more and earlier, such as participate in coordinating with others. Their activities ‘flow’ by high mental engagement, with a goal of group conformance. Their ethos is like that of dancers on a musical kick-line, who move as one, imperceptibly taking cues from a lead dancer and from the music. They are focussed and move as one. They use dilated time to keep up, coordinate their navigation and avoid collisions. Dancers, athletes and sports players have extreme flow to dilate their time, hone rehearsals and put on optimal performances.

Time is Gold is a fiction novel about an elite runner, Maxi and her physicist coach, Jack. They discover how she can use flow and time dilation to run marathon races faster. Jack is a physicist who is able to reconcile time dilation in flow with Einstein’s theory of Special Relativity. Whereas the starlings’ goal is conformance, Maxi’s goal is to distinguish herself and she breaks the World record. The book tells of the science of endurance running, her gruelling training and the demands of performing on the world stage. It is expected to be available in November 2020.

Starling behaviour can be explained as time dilation
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