Edited by Garrett Stone
Cover Photo: Jane Barlow Christensen
Copyright © 2015 Benjamin P. Hardy
This book is intended to be shared with other readers! Please, share electronic files with other people without my permission! However, this copyright is mine and I would appreciate credit and authorship.
EPUB ISBN: 978-0-9970710-1-6
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-9970710-0-9
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What is “Slipstream”?
Chapter 1: A More Accurate Measure of Time
Chapter 2: Our Understanding of Time
Chapter 3: Is Your Time Fast or Slow?
Chapter 4: Slowing Time and Living More
Chapter 5: Time Hacking
Chapter 6: The Fastest Way
Chapter 7: The Opposition to Time Travel
Chapter 8: Creating Our New World
Chapter 9: Light, Time, and God
Appendix: Some Thoughts 9 Months Later
Detailed Table of Contents
This book is dedicated first and foremost to my parents. They were my biggest cheer-leaders and advocates throughout my Kickstarter campaign. I was blown away by how much they cared about the success of this project.
I also dedicate this book to all those who made a $50 or more contribution to the Kickstarter. That’s extremely humbling that someone would contribute so much to my work.
Thank you so much! The following is the names of all of these backers: Susan Knight, Philip Hardy, Trevor Hardy, Jane Christensen, Brian Christensen, Kacey Roberts, Misty Anderson, Shanna Barney, Candida Hayes Morris, Marc Call, Jordan Young, Ben Ohai, Steven Zentner, Telvin Jeffries, Michael, Steve Downs, Debbilyn Day, Merrill J. Clark, and Jesse Conger. Thank you again! I hope you love the book!
The faster you move, the slower time passes, the longer you live.
I became fascinated by the idea of time primarily from two sources:
1) Brent Slife, my personality theory professor at Brigham Young University.
2) Christopher Nolan’s two films: Inception and Interstellar. After I walked out of Interstellar for the first time, I knew I would be writing a book about time. Two months later this book was finished.
Furthermore, many of these ideas came to me during research meetings with my Graduate Adviser, Cindy Pury. Her way of thinking has influenced how I approach thinking about ideas and particular problems.
Gary Vaynerchuck, Brendon Burchard, and Seth Godin are the people who tell me to create art and just do it. So, thanks to those three for the epic work they do.
Of course, my wife, Lauren, for putting up with my craziness. She is my favorite part of life. My life’s greatest accomplishment will always be that I convinced her to marry me. She holds me to a higher standard than I’ll ever reach. I’m grateful for that.
And to all of the Kickstarter backers who made this possible! Thank you so much for reading this book and supporting my writing! I hope more than anything that you get tons of out of this book.
The following are the names of all the people who contributed to my Kickstarter: Camille West Holiday, Caiden Sorensen, John James Ruppaner, Laura, Tito Momen, Ramon Kaspers, Aubrey Cowan, Kim-AH, Kamon Walker, Caleb Anderson, Jeremy, Stacy Nelson, Suzette Andrus, Daniel Blocker, Benjamin Gioia, Lavinia Takapu, Helen Faith, Cherene Giles, Chantal Hopper, Elizabeth Rustad, Martina, Mason, Spencer Stevens, Jenny Atwood, Kelsha L. Anderson, Debra Fowler, Jeff Kohler, Christopher Spencer, Rebecca Thomas, Garrett Lee Benson, Wayne Beck, Stewart Felsted, Scott Nielsen, Cameron Royall, Will Leidheiser, Myrtede Alfred, Adam, Colin McCall, Selcuk Sami, Ashleigh Roberts, Glena Christensen, Joseph Draschil, Kristy DeGraaf, Jake Fellows, Ryan Day, Garrett Despain, Evan Zislis, Amanda W., Sierra Flanary Pack, Jennifer Jones Smith, Diego Dante, Landon Boothe, Jay, Mary Ridler, Kapali Kiaha, Jeffrey Siegel, Seth Brink, Nathan Sellers, Michelle, Carson Barlow, Adam Lefler, Matthew Chicky, Benjamin Lusk, Thomas Mark Zuniga, Geoffrey Jackson, Lisa Imogen Eldridge, Jacob, Nick Furness, Cortney, Lee Hale, Rex W. Hardy, Jason H. Taylor, Rashad Riman, Jes Myrick, Greg, Joan Hartsough, Richard Rossi, Doug Cartwright, Jessica Hobbs, Tyler Merrell, Leah Lusk, Jordan J. Overman, Jaye Segura, Spencer Merrell, and Mitchell Wilkins.
There are two great countries of literature; the fantastic and the naturalistic. The border where these two countries meet however is decidedly hazy. This no-man’s-land contains slipstream, books that are neither fish nor fowl. It’s a tricky thing to pin down but like a certain other genre we could mention it is easy enough to point to. These are the books that contain fantastic elements but are not fantasies; that are naturalistic but not rigorously so. The popular literary term “magical realism” is simply a subset of these.
Slipstream will be explained in multiple ways throughout this book—mostly as a means of travel. However, as it relates to the quote above, slipstream is also a term used to explain a form of writing that meshes multiple genres. This book attempts to do the same. Unlike most business and self-help books which focus on narrow slices of similar ideas, I am leaping way outside the traditional elements of reference and dipping into untapped sources that are both speculative and scientific.
Despite the exploration of complex ideas, the premise of this book is actually quite simple: The faster someone moves toward a desired destination, the slower time moves for them. The goal of this book is direct: To compress the highest quality and meaning of life into the time each person has to live.
As a result of the content covered, many will discard this book offhand. However, if you stay with me through these pages, you will learn how you can exponentially extend and enhance your life experience. Indeed, in these pages are the keys to living thousands of years’ worth of life in a single lifetime.
A More Accurate Description of Time: Distance Traveled
How Will You Measure Your Life?
I Know What You’re Thinking…
A light-year is a unit of length used informally to express astronomical distances. It is the distance light travels in one calendar year—approximately 5.9 trillion miles. Because the word light-year includes the word , the term is often misinterpreted as a unit of time. However, a light-year is not a measure of time at all, but rather, a measure of distance traveled.
For instance, light travels from the earth to the moon in 1.29 light-seconds, which means the moon is 1.29 light-seconds away. The Sun is 8 light-minutes away. Mars in 12.7 light-minutes away. Proxima Centauri (the nearest start) is 4.3 light-years away. The other side of the Milky Way galaxy is 52,000 light-years away. Each of these are measures of distance rather than a measure of time.
In the daily human experience, time is not recognized as a measure of distance, but rather, as the duration of elapsed change. We view time in seconds, minutes, hours, and days. Not in kilometers or miles. But what if we did measure time as a distance? How would our lives look? What if rather than focusing on how long something took, we focused on how far we went?
A friend of mine recently told me that he and his wife are planning a trip to Hawaii and hope to go in the next 15 years. His wife really wants to go, but between two jobs, bills, and a mortgage, the dream seems distant.
Indeed, to the average person, a big trip like one to Hawaii is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If we were to look at time as a distance, rather than as the passing of years, my friend’s Hawaii trip is 15 years, distance away. Framed this way, you might consider now, or here, as your current location and there, or Hawaii, as a destination that is 15 years distant.
On my friend’s current trajectory, he will likely arrive in Hawaii around 15 years from now—after spending countless hours at work punching the time clock. Inching forward. Now of course, Hawaii is not my friend’s only goal. But much of these 15 years will be spent thinking about and wishing he was in Hawaii.
What if he could fold that time in half and get to Hawaii in 7.5 years?
Or what if he could leap through a wormhole and get there in a month?
If he were to fold time and get there in 7.5 years, he would have successfully skipped, or saved, 7.5 years of waiting. Put another way, he would have gone 7.5 years into his own future, freeing up the time he would have spent dreaming of Hawaii to pursue other goals.
Furthermore, if he were to arrive in Hawaii in a month, he would have saved 14.9 years of waiting. By covering the needed distance faster, he gained 14.9 years of extra time he would not have had on his original trajectory. Having jumped into his future, he now has all that bonus time to continue progressing well beyond where he originally intended.
By jumping through time, time slowed. Although the experience of time felt similar to his past, the month of preparation was actually a stretching of time. To explain this, we need to step back further and explore the theory of time relativity.
According to Einstein’s special relativity theory, time is a description of distance traveled. Despite variations in velocity, time feels the same from one observer to the next. Consider a person sitting on a sidewalk compared to a person flying a supersonic jet. Regardless of motion, time feels the same. However, time is actually quite different depending on where in space-time a person is.
On a planetary level, earth rotates on its axis every 24 hours and around the sun every 365.25 days. Yet, other planets in the universe may have 88 day rotations or 168 year rotations. If we were on a planet moving exponentially faster than our earth is moving, time would feel the same to us, but in actuality time would be much slower. Indeed, we may live for 70 or 80 years on that planet, yet during those 70 or 80 years, it is possible that thousands or even tens of thousands of years will have passed on earth. This is due to the distance traveled by both planets—the one planet moving thousands of times faster than our earth, and thus covering considerably greater distance in a given amount of time.
This concept is beautifully conveyed in the 2014 film, Interstellar. In the movie, our Earth has become an unsafe environment and humanity is looking for a new planet to inhabit. The group of astronauts employed to find a new earth enter a wormhole dropping them near a planet in a distant galaxy. This planet is moving extremely fast compared to our earth due to the gravitational pull of the nearby black hole.
The speed of the orbit is so fast that one hour on that planet is equivalent to 7 years on earth. Thus, for every hour the astronauts spend there, 7 years pass by on earth. The astronaut’s time moves 61,320 times slower than their friends on earth. This is how time relativity works. Time feels the same to each individual but can be vastly different—speed is relative to each person. Something very interesting happens when we begin to look at our lives from this perspective of time.
What if we were to measure our entire lives as we measure light-speed—as distance traveled rather than time elapsed? How would each day look, if rather than passing through 24 hours, we measured how far we moved that day? 24 hours doesn’t mean anything. If we measured time as distance, on our death-beds we could say, “It took me 80 years (or however long we lived) to get from point A (birth) to point B (the accumulation of life’s experiences and meanings).”
But what if we could find an alternative course that would get us from point A to point B in half that time? Or better yet, what if we could leap through a wormhole and land at point B sometime shortly after point A? What would you do with the remaining time of your life?
What if you could live and breathe every moment of your 80 year life in the first 25—thus extending your earthly possibilities by 55 years? Time, according to Einstein’s relativity theory, is not sequential or fixed. Rather, it is flexible and nonlinear. It can be stretched, squeezed, bent—changed.
“The man who has lived the most is not he who has counted the most years but he who has most felt life.”
I myself accidentally landed decades into my own future without realizing it. Unexpectedly, I married a girl who had a far different financial situation than myself. From one day to the next, I went from indebted college student to having my debts paid-off and even being able to become a home-owner. By sheer dumb luck, I fell through a wormhole at the age of 24 that dropped me into a place in space-time approximately 20 years into my own future. Indeed, according to my previous trajectory, I would have arrived at my current financial location at the approximate age of 40 years old. Thus, I would have been spending a large portion of that 20 years working toward the destination at which I now stand.
To be clear, we are not rich. Far from it. This is just the first time in my adult life that I have experienced any form of financial stability. However, far more fundamental than this perceived security was the quantum change that occurred inside me—as a human being. The speed of my trajectory toward my personal goals radically accelerated. When I got married, it was like I landed on a different planet orbiting much faster than my previous one. For a few brief moments, I could actually feel the difference in rapidity and it was quite jarring. But just as we may have our heads cock back when rapidly throttling a car, we quickly adapt to the rate the car is moving and begin to feel the new normal.
Due to this abrupt acceleration in my velocity, time slowed down for me in comparison to my previous self. Although my experience of time didn’t change, the relativity of time did. In one moment, I leap-frogged decades closer to my desired destination. But also, I immediately began moving toward that destination at a pace that seemed impossible as my previous self.
After acclimating to the speed of my new system, it became obvious to me that I had covered more ground in terms of time-distance than many of my associates. In other words, while we had all experienced the same few years, I felt like I had aged, or changed, by decades. I did not go from age 24 to 25. As a person, I went from 24 to someone closer to 40 or 45: discontinuous change.
At my new velocity, there seemed to be endless time. My wife and I travelled, read books, worked the jobs we wanted to, and even got bored. When I arrived at Clemson University to begin my graduate studies, I began hearing students on campus describe how busy they felt—that they never had enough time—that time just flew by. This was peculiar to me because I felt like I had all the time in the world. I actually often felt like I had too much time.
Why did I feel like I had so much time while others felt so busy? Don’t we all have the 24 hours in each day? Well, yes we do all have 24 hours, but those 24 hours are actually quite different from person to person, even generation to generation. Consider the dark-ages, people went generations doing the same thing without progressing. The patent office considered closing as no new inventions could be conceived. Today, innovation is so fast that we accomplish more in a day than previous generations did in a lifetime. If we measure life by distance rather than time, some people may travel great distances on a given day while others can’t remember a single significant thing they did.
For example, my wife and I belong to the group Couchsurfing.com. We recently hosted Thomas Mark Zuniga, a young man writing a book about his 8 month journey across the United States. He saved up, sold his possessions, and took a leap. Consider this, the average American full-time employee takes 11 days of paid vacation each year. That’s a 2 week trip every 52 weeks. Thomas however, just experienced 32 weeks of travel, the equivalent of 16 years of vacation. While most of us can count this year’s significant memories on two hands, he can’t contain his growth and self-discovery even in a single book. How many lives could Thomas experience continuing at this progressive rate?
How is it possible that Thomas could experience 16 years of vacation in eight months?
Is it possible that Thomas could really experience more than eight months of time in eight months? From another angle, what if Thomas simply lived his 8 months while the rest of us lived perhaps 5-10% of ours?
If time is relative, we don’t need to assume one minute means one minute. Perhaps, five minutes could be squeezed into one minute, of five hours, or five years. The compression of time is not a matter of compounding activities, but the compounding of meaning.
Does time relativity mean we could live for thousands of years? Not literally. I will probably live less than 100 earth years in my life. However, those 100 years are not objective. Compared to others, my 100 years may be equivalent to several thousand years for those moving slower, or equivalent to a few minutes for those moving faster.
The experience of time may feel the same to each of us, but in actuality may be starkly different. According to special relativity theory, the faster an object moves, the slower time goes. If a spaceship were to travel near the speed of light, the time on the ship would be far slower than the time here on earth. Time is not universal or absolute, it is subjective. Thus, in a relative sense, which is a more accurate description of time anyway, yes, we could live for thousands of years (or more). In order to do so, we must step away from the notion of an objective reality—reality is a meaning. So is time.
At this point, my examples may seem extreme. You might be thinking this book is not for you because you don’t think something could instantly take you 20, 30, or 50 years into your own future. Perhaps you think my wormhole is nothing more than a matter of luck; that my experience cannot be replicated. Aside from painting an interesting picture of what a wormhole may feel like, my story doesn’t feel relevant to you, right?
If you have had any of these thoughts, you are exactly the person who this book was written for. My objective is to convince you that you can jump through a wormhole such as mine (with closer examination you probably already have). Of course, your wormhole may not be marrying a girl with a chunk of savings. It will almost certainly be something vastly different.
Regardless of the shape or size of your wormhole, my goal is to transform your paradigm from skeptic to believer. Indeed, there are many who have fallen through wormhole after wormhole such that to them, my story is actually quite dull and my time fast. As will be shown throughout the book, my wormhole actually isn’t as big as it looks—they get incomprehensively bigger!
Moreover, although further than expected along my desired path, I have no intention of stopping my course. Quite the contrary. The quantum leaps I’ve experienced, in addition to the intense slowing of my time, has instilled in me greater motivation to hustle. Indeed, the destinations I’m pursuing will require leaping through wormholes I can’t even now comprehend. I intend to travel numerous lifetimes farther than I could get without them. If your pursuits don’t require wormholes, you will fail to recognize that they cross your path every day. Conversely, if your pursuit’s demand wormholes, and you expect them, the universe will conspire to put in place whatever you need to get there. Remember, there are people all around you experiencing years as meager moments pass you by.
If the goals you are pursuing do not require wormholes, your approach to life is far too small. The highest pursuits available are those that literally require exceptions to the rules, because such aims cannot be done conventionally. You not only desire, but need miracles, luck, wormholes, or whatever you want to call it. Sadly, most people’s pursuits are so small they could reasonably do them on their own. Nobody achieves the impossible without thinking they can.
Once-in-a-lifetime opportunities aren’t really that rare. Actually, the rarity of such opportunities is relative to each observer. From one perspective, wormholes are commonplace while from another they are once-in-a-lifetime. What you focus on expands.
“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
Since as early as 1500 BC, humans have created instruments to measure time. To ancient civilizations, time was nothing more than the passing of the sun and moon through the sky and the changing of seasons. Eventually, instruments were devised in attempts to measure time, such as the positioning of a shadow on a sun dial.
In recent history, Sir Isaac Newton is notable for his realist perspective of time. According to Newton, time is absolute and unchangeable in and of itself. It simply flows unvaryingly, independent of any observable changes. Newton’s perspectives of time were foundational to his theories of the accuracy of motion. For hundreds of years, his theories centered time and space as the building blocks of the universe. Time was universal, unchangeable, and linear.
It wasn’t until the end of the 19th century that Newton’s theories were notably challenged. Upon the discovery of light-speed constancy, former Newtonian’s were left befuddled. Their flat earth had actually been a sphere. Or in this case, space and time were not the actual building blocks of the universe, light was.
According to the laws of physics, if one car is moving at 40 miles per hour one direction and another car is traveling at 40 miles per hour the opposite direction, the moment the vehicles pass each other will equate to a speed of 80 miles (40×2) per hour. However, light does not obey these same rules of time and space. Rather, when measuring light, it does not matter if the observer is motionless, travelling with the light, or travelling against the light. Amazingly, from this perspective, the speed of light becomes invariant and space and time become malleable.
The Jewish physicist, Albert Einstein, centered light as the single constancy of the universe with his special relativity theory. Rather than time being the absolute and unchanging force as previous theorists assumed, Einstein rendered light-speed constancy as the unchanging backdrop to his theories. Light is the framework of the universe and the fundamental reality.
As a result, his theory recognizes that time and space actually fluctuate based on varying perspectives. For example, to a person driving a car, the objects in the car (his iPod or Big Gulp) appear to be motionless despite the fact that they are moving at the speed of the car. The objects are at rest with respect to the driver. Similarly, the Earth and everything on it revolves around the Sun at a speed of about 18.5 miles per second (30 km/sec), which is 67,062 miles per hour (approximately 100,000 km/hour). This speed is approximately 1,000 times faster than the speeds we go at on a highway. Yet, you’re sitting here reading these words and you feel motionless.
According to Einstein’s theory, the actual time for an object varies with velocity, or the speed and direction at which the object travels through space. As an object increases the rate at which it travels in space, time simultaneously slows down. This constitutes an inverse relationship between space and time—the faster an object travels through space, the slower its progress in time. If an object could travel at the speed of light, time would stand still.
Consider this. In elementary school we all learned that when we look at the sun it burns our eyes. We also learned that the light we see is actually 8 minutes and 20 seconds old. The light from even our nearest star spent 4.2 light-years travelling to our eyes… that is, from our perspective. What about the perspective of the light particles? If we were able to ride the light, at light speed, and as before mentioned, time stood still, those 4.2 light-years would be nothing more than an instant.
Finally, while riding that light beam, in that very same instant, you could have travelled to every point in existence, written this book, knit a sweater, and solved every human quandary. To move fast is to have all the time in world.
Living Congruently: Tim Ferriss and Bill Gates
The Retirement Mentality
You’re Already Dead
Time Flies When You’re Having Fun
According to Parkinson’s first law, work enlarges to fill the time available for its completion; things to be done grow in perceived importance and complexity in direct ratio with the time allowed for completion. Essentially, we are inclined to fill the time we have. If we have a lot of time, it tends to be filled with busyness. If we are crunched for time, we use that time efficiently.
For example, if I was given a week to study for a test and my friend was given a day to study for the same test, I would likely waste a significant amount of time. My studies would likely be less compressed and efficient. Thus, to slow time, one only needs to set shorter timelines. If the goal is to get to Hawaii in 15 years, reduce that timeline to 15 months and voilà, put on your flower-shirt.
If a task is perceived to be unimportant, it will take enormous amounts of time to complete. Conversely, if a task is perceived to be important, it will get done soon—sometimes immediately, depending on how important and urgent. The question is, how bad do you want to go to Hawaii?
Additionally, if a task is perceived to be complex, it will take longer to complete. Thus, by pursuing things we believe to be important and breaking them down into their smallest parts, time slows and more is accomplished. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. By slowing time, we can live exponentially more life than those around us. How complex is that Hawaii trip compared to other tasks you have to accomplish?
Growing up in a small mining town, my father-in-law, Kay, always dreamt of going to Hawaii. He tried attending college there but his plans fell through. As a young married couple, my parents-in-law attended a timeshare meeting for a condo in Hawaii they could not afford. The more they declined, the lower the price got until the time share company offered to let them try the unit for a mere $100. Ecstatic, they signed themselves up for a week, and his brother for the following week.
The next eleven months were spent in the library researching and dreaming about Hawaii. However, as the trip approached, Kay’s brother became increasingly worried about having to miss work and eventually backed out, leaving the additional week to Kay.
Thirty years later, Kay often reminisces about that trip while his brother wonders what he even did that week. His brother honestly thinks he had the week off. After all this time, his brother has still never been to Hawaii and continues dreaming of one day going.
Certain people are moving so fast that they can arrive at destinations in moments that would take most of us decades. Like the individual traveling at the speed of light, some people can accomplish huge goals in almost the instant they conceive them.
Tim Ferriss is a productivity genius. In his book, The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim teaches how to accomplish as much in 4 hours as is done in a typically 40 hour work week. In truth, Tim himself is moving so fast that he has traveled the same distance in his short life as would take others potentially tens of thousands of lifetimes to travel.
For example, assuming Tim and I had the same goal, if Tim could accomplish this goal in one day (like make a successful multi-million dollar investment) the same would likely take me 10 or more years. Tim is moving over 3,650 times faster than me. Thus, time has dilated 3,650 times for Tim. While he can now set grander and greater goals, I continue plugging along. One day to Tim is 3,650 days to me.
To Tim, that one day may have felt like any other single day. He and his world are moving incredibly fast but they are moving fast together. Like driving in a car, his Big Gulp and IPod are travelling with him and appear motionless. Tim doesn’t feel like he’s moving any faster than I feel like I’m moving—hence, the strangeness of time relativity. However, in actuality, he lived one day while 10 years simultaneously passed for me. I aged 10 years in the time he woke up, went to sleep, and woke up again.
So can Tim really live for thousands of years? Not according to his time, but according to my time he can. He is living on a planet spinning so fast that in his 80 year lifespan, thousands of years passed on the planet I’m living on. Thus, our time is as relative as our perception of reality.
Bill Gates is another who is moving so fast he has potentially traveled the same distance in his life as the combined distance of millions of people. According to Forbes Magazine, Bill Gates has donated in excess of 26 billion dollars. He is making a global impact on the world. Moreover, he has changed the world through Microsoft by hastening the progress of hundreds of millions of people. Thus, he has slowed time for humanity as a whole.
Advances in technology are a great example of time dilation. Due to the rapid progress of technology, humanity is able to progress hundreds to thousands of times faster than we used to. This represents an incomprehensibly large amount of saved time for the human family. Thanks to Bill Gates, each of us potentially has more time in our days and lives.
From a linear perspective of time, Bill Gates will live the same years as most other people do. From a nonlinear perspective, he is squeezing the same amount of life into seconds that most people experience in their entire lifetime.
I’m not saying people are wasting their lives. Indeed, just as time is relative, so is success. Not everyone can be Bill Gates, nor should they be. Each of us has a vision of the ideal life we want to live. Living congruently with our ideal is how time slows down. Consequently, success is defined as living that ideal for the maximum amount of time. The sooner we get there, the longer we have to live.
“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone”
—Henry David Thoreau
The experience of many is: the older you get, the faster time goes. Years pass by and before we know it we are old and our lives spent. The argument I will make throughout this book is that it doesn’t have to be this way. When we were children, time slowed down. Time meant something; or more likely, we were oblivious to linear time. Ignorance of time literally was bliss. We weren’t simply racing through life—trying to meet deadlines, trying to get through the day, trying to get through our career so we could finally retire, always looking forward to vacations. The older we get, the more obsessed we become with the passage of time, and the more we take time for granted.
Sure, we may be busier, but if we are just passing the time, rather than moving toward desired destinations, time will continue to slip by. Sadly, this is the general human experience. We are dwelling in space-time at a stand-still and feeling very busy while doing it. We are constantly racing the clock—chasing the elusive future which never comes—searching for the next big thing—or keeping up with the transient and trivial going on around us.
We’ve gotten everything mixed up. Instead of trying to slow time down, we’re doing everything we can to speed it up. We’re in a big hurry, rushing toward a mirage while sinking deeper into the quicksand. In other words, most of us are scrambling to reach goals or acquire things we don’t even want. Because we do not know what we want or where we are headed, we jump at every opportunity that comes our way—filling our time and speeding up our lives.
In contrast, if we know what we want and align our life to what matters most, to reality, time will slow down. All of those things we have spent our life chasing are nothing more than a distraction from what matters most. In the end, we’ve been brainwashed to believe that what we want is to become rich, famous, or prestigious. We spend years, if not all of our lives, pursuing other people’s agendas and measures of success without considering our own.
Consequently, the closer we get to reality, our authentic self and desires, the slower time goes. Light is the foundation of reality—the framework of existence. At the speed of light, time stands still. The closer we get to light, both literally and figuratively, the more we can cling to reality and live, rather than helplessly fading away like sand in an hourglass.
I have an accountant friend named Patty who is stuck in an hourglass. Her job is impressive, however, she does not enjoy it. Despite her dissatisfaction she is only ten years away from retirement. She is so close! Even though those ten years are going to be hell, she is willing to endure them because to her, it is the only way reach her goal.
Patty has mentioned on multiple occasions how fast time is moving. “It feels like just yesterday that I had fifteen years until retirement,” she recently said. In the space of five years, not much happened. It was essentially the blink of an eye—very few memorable moments—looking endlessly forward to the day she will retire and finally spend her time doing what she really wants—slowing time.
Here’s another thing you should know about Patty. She spends heaping amounts of money on expensive products and fancy restaurants. Her mortgage payment is several thousand dollars per month in addition to her 2014 Porsche payments, her boat, and husband’s new Jeep. She makes lots of money but lives paycheck to paycheck. She also has very little time. Her lifestyle costs far too much. What good is money when you don’t have time?
Somehow, within the American Dream, the pursuit of money has pre-empted the quality and quantity of our time. My dear friend Dan is a hardworking dad supporting his stay-at-home wife and three children. His deepest joy is spending time with his kids; but that time is limited because bills need to be paid.
Despite making $60,000 per year, enough to be extremely wealthy in many countries in the world, his family’s spending habits keep him away from home. Dan’s family lives in a gorgeous and enormous home. They have expensive cars, one of which cost at least $40,000. Consequently, Dan is required to spend a large portion of his time working.
However, what if they would take their $300,000 house and instead find a nice $150,000 house to live in? Instead of saving them $150,000, the family is really saving 7,000 hours of time with dad. How is this so? At 50 hours per week multiplied by 51 weeks per year (we’ll give him one week vacation time, which like most other American’s, he probably won’t take), Dan works 2,550 hours per year. Thus, to Dan, $150,000 equates to well over 7,000 hours of work.
Again, what if Dan replaced his $70,000 worth of cars and instead purchased two functional cars at $3,000 each. Dan would save $64,000, or 2,782.60 hours of time working.
As opposed to selling away our futures to have high quality stuff, we’d be better off reducing the quality of our stuff in order to improve the quantity and quality of our time.
A person choosing to spend large portions time in an unsatisfying job in order to make ends meet is on a fast track to his deathbed. Time will move increasingly faster as a result of his slow pace—the relativity of time. The miniscule moments of freedom spent doing what he desires will seem to disappear far too quickly; and before he knows it, he’s back at the grindstone.
While at work, he may as well not be living as his time spent is detested. When the goal is merely to “get through” the day as quickly as possible, life will pass full of regrets. Time becomes the great taskmaster when it should be the liberator. His time is endured rather than enjoyed. He is often late and constantly missing the moments that matter most—caught in the vacuum of time-acceleration toward death without any perceived way of slowing it down.
Due to the reality of time dilation, most people are far closer to death than their age would suggest. Because time is relative, it is continuously accelerating and unconsciously lived by individuals moving forward at a slower pace. Consider this concept as it is portrayed by the Adam Sandler movie, Click. Michael Newman is given a magical remote. He can fast-forward, rewind, and pause life. However, his favorite button is fast-forward. Anticipating a promotion, he fast-forwards to the time he receives it not knowing it would cost over ten years of his life. By the end of the movie, he was on his death bed having lived the “best parts” in less than a day. My question is, how many best parts will there be and how many years will you spend in fast-forward? You may be young in years, but you are closer to death than you think.
When explaining these concepts to people, the most frequent response is, “But I thought time flew when you were having fun?” It’s true, the common conception is that time flies when we have fun and it drags when we have to grind through our workday.
However, this conception assumes that fun is not the normal experience. The very idea focuses on when the fun ends—which further illustrates that those who conceive fun time this way experience less of it than they desire.
For those who have slowed time, the focus is less on enjoying fleeting individual moments, because their life is such that any and every given moment is enjoyable. Fun is now, it is always. Whether they are on vacation, working, or with family they are content because the elements of their life are in alignment or congruent with what they ultimately desire. They feel no rush to get somewhere or to free up more time because they are already in the very state they desire to be. When time is slowed in this way, there is always enough time. Life is not hurried through in order to experience those brief and “quick” moments when time is fun.
Of course some moments feel longer than others. However, if a moment is remembered, no matter how quickly it passed, that moment lasts forever. Indeed, the vast majority of our lives are forgotten. The passing of the experience isn’t the focus of this book. Rather, the focal point is the amount of life packed into each experience. Compacting the largest amount of life into the briefest timeframe is how moments are remembered and time is dilated in relation to others.
The year 2014 likely flew by for Mark Zuckerberg. But during that year, he learned the Chinese language and likely did a million other things that 99.9 percent of the population didn’t even fathom. For Mark Zuckerberg, or anyone else living a congruent life, 24 hours is different than for the typical person. However, to him it still feels like 24 hours. You could live more life in one congruent day than many people live their entire lives.
Passion Slows Time
The Gift of Time
Happiness is Now
My Aunt Joni is a high school principle who loves art. She recently had her two-week Christmas break. She spent most of that time doing art. She said that those two weeks felt like they lasted forever.
She then explained that when she’s at work, time just flies by. Why would this be?
My Aunt Joni loves art. When she’s doing her art, she’s truly living. During her two week break, she was able to do more art than she normally does in months. During a regular workweek, she does less than five hours of art.
Thus, during a normal workweek, she gets little time to live as her purest self. She spends much of her time wishing she was doing art. Her weeks fly by because she’s not doing more art. Yet, she has learned to slow time at work by incorporating art into her workday. You won’t find a more beautiful high school. There are beautiful paintings all over the building. Not only is she able to do more of what she loves, she is creating a culture where art is appreciated.
However, over her break, she got so much art done that people were baffled. “How did you create that much art in only two weeks?!” Even she couldn’t comprehend the dilation of her time.
Slowing time is truly a matter of quality more than quantity. The destination a person is traveling toward must be intrinsically desirable. When on the wrong path, time will fly and what was done during that time will be forgotten. The goal isn’t an infinite quantity of time, but the highest quality of time. This is where time slows down.
Perhaps the greatest way we can show our love is by giving the gift of our time. When we give material gifts, those gifts represent a commitment of our time. Time is spent working to earn the money to buy the gifts, selecting and purchasing the gifts, and giving the gifts. However, the purest way to gift time is by being physically and emotionally present. When we choose to be physically present with people, we are giving our truest and most meaningful gift of time—not merely time reflected in something else such as a gift or money.
While the time we spend with others is precious; the time we can create for others is priceless. This concept is best illustrated through the story of my friend Steve. Steve retired early because his wife, Claire, has a successful career in her ideal field. By slowing her own time, Claire has slowed time for her entire family. In the four years since Steve’s retirement, he has played more golf than he did in the previous twenty. Additionally, he spends countless hours with his grandkids while both he and the kids are “young.” Because of his early retirement, thanks to Claire’s time dilation, Steve has played with his grandchildren virtually every day since the day they were born. Countless hours.
Two months ago Steve’s father passed away. While most people feel regrets and long for more time, Steve’s retirement allowed him to spend quality and quantity time with his dad during those final years. However, if Steve had not been caught in Claire’s slipstream, his time would have moved much faster. He would have missed all that golf, countless hours with the grandkids, and those precious moments with his dad.
“Happiness is now.”
Happiness is among the ultimate aims of humanity. People primarily make decisions based on a belief that happiness will ensue in some way or shape. We spend our lives pursuing goals we think will make us happy. We spend our money buying things we think will make us happy. We get into relationships we think will make us happy.
The problem with pursuing happiness is that it is elusive. Wayne Dyer has said, “There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.” People who think “I will be happy when…” are speeding up their time rather than slowing it down. In other words, they believe that once they accomplish a certain task or goal, only then will time slow. If we could learn how to get to where we want instantaneously, we could learn the truth that happiness is now. Time can slow now.
Despite our present circumstances, when we learn the art of time maneuvering, we will be startled by how fast we get to our desired destinations and how slow time moves in response. We will be shocked that the happiness we thought would be years or decades into our future can be had right now. There is always a way to get to where we want to go almost instantly. We just need to find that wormhole.
Up to this point, we have discussed the mechanics of time. From here on out we will discuss the psychology—the perception and experience of time. Although the physical sciences have made enormous strides in understanding space and time, many still cling to Newtonian perspectives to explain the lived experience.
According to Newton, time is absolute and unchanging independent of context, velocity, direction, and meaning. Time is objective and universal. Indeed, from a Newtonian perspective, time is the same on earth as it is on Mars—or anywhere else in the galaxy. Furthermore, time is never viewed as a whole, but only in segments across time—past, present, and future. We are moving along a continuous line, always confined to the present. Thus, according to the linear perspective, the only real time is the present. The past is gone, and the future only exists as an endless amount of distant probabilities.
Within a Newtonian world, wormholes and time dilation could not exist. In fact, to believe in linear time is to move forward slowly, one step at a time, while your relative time and life pass by quickly.
Newtonian time’s most fatal flaw is determinism—the present is determined by the past. From a Newtonian perspective, time is sequential, like the falling of dominoes. Each domino is determined by the movement of the one before and determines the action of the one following. The dominoes never get to choose to behave differently or stop the cycle.
If such were the reality of time and motion, free-will would not exist. A person would have no power over the present because the present is simply a domino being toppled over by the past. Every aspect of life would be pre-determined. Furthermore, the future would be fixed and beyond control.
Listening to daily conversations shows how prevalent Newtonian beliefs are, “I’m out of shape because of my genetics,” or “This is just the way I am and there’s nothing I can do about it.” Certainly, a linear perspective of time removes personal freedom and in the same moment eliminates individual responsibility. A Newtonian might say, “Some people are lucky, some people are not. That’s just the way life is.”
Einstein’s relativity theory assumes time to be non-linear—time is subject to the context of the observer. There is no objective or universal time. According to non-linear time, the past, present, and future all simultaneously and holistically exist in one. By changing the present, the past can be reshaped and the future altered. The distinguishing of the past, present, and future, according to Einstein is simply an illusion of consciousness.
Thus, the experience of time is relative. Although time may feel the same for each person, the reality of time is based on the rate of their movement. Instead of sequential change (domino to domino), change can be instantaneous and discontinuous. Such are moments of epiphany when sudden and rapid strokes of intelligence (ah-hah!) flow into the individual: conscious wormholes of progression.
Discontinuous and instantaneous change occur all the time. From one instant to another, a person is happily driving home from work, the next instant he is in a car accident and paralyzed. A person can go from rich to poor in an instant depending on market conditions or other extraneous circumstances. From one moment to the next, you can go from single to married, or from married to single.
The virtue of each wormhole should not be judged. Who is to say what is good or bad? The man who was paralyzed may find that he now has more time to spend with his family or developing a talent that he has neglected. The person who loses their monetary wealth may develop empathy, love, and care for others where before he was focused solely on himself and his own gain. Ultimately, there is deeper meaning in the wormholes we experience than appears on the surface. Don’t let what may appear to be a setback become a missed wormhole of opportunity.
Tony Robbins jokes, “How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb? Only one, but it’s expensive and takes a really long time.” To Tony, the past is inconsequential. In a single moment, a person can choose to change everything. Change doesn’t have to take a long time, it happens the instant we decide.
In a non-linear and relative world, each person is empowered to change the course and meaning of their life completely. That change only takes an instant; it is a leap through a wormhole.
As noted, recent conceptions of time and space have challenged the existence of an objective reality. Time and space are relative for each individual. Consequently, each person lives in their own perceived reality. Stephen Covey expressed, “We don’t see the world as it is, but as we are.”
The lenses we look through shape our perceptions of and experiences in the world. Each person can and should adjust their lens such that it maximizes time. A person can change her beliefs, attitudes and dispositions, the meanings of experiences, and desires for the future all instantaneously. For this reason, Brendon Burchard has said, “We must govern our own lives, and when our thoughts and actions become destructive it is our responsibility to alter or abolish them and to institute new habits as the foundation for a freer, happier life.”
Within a perceived reality, it is the responsibility of each person to choose their destinations as well as the pathways and pace involved in reaching those destinations. Ultimately, we create our own universe.
Slipstream: Bridging the Gap between the Speculative and the Experienced
Slipstreaming and Opportunity Cost
No Silver Bullet
Time Hacking: Slipstreams and Wormholes
Entering the New Normal
Being an Old Man in a Young Man’s Body
Time Folding and Living Forever
A New Definition of Currency
Our Obsession with Freedom
Throwing Yourself into the Fire
You Can’t Force It
The Four Stages of Time Hackers
“Slipstream: it’s not the best way to travel faster than light, it’s just the only way.”
—Dylan Hunt, Episode 1×06: “Angel Dark, Demon Bright”
Slipstream is a science-fiction term explaining a technique for faster-than-light space travel, similar to hyperspace travel or warp speed. Slipstream is an abstract concept, and thus perceived differently by different fiction authors.
In the iconic American TV series Star Trek, quantum slipstream is a starship drive similar to the drive of light-speed in the Star Wars films. Entering slipstream is like entering a cylindrical tunnel projecting ahead of a starship. These tunnels cut through space and time, shortening the distance to far off destinations.
Slipstreams are created by manipulating the fabric of the space-time continuum at the quantum level. Thus space-time is not actually flat and universal; rather it bends, in this case, under the weight of matter. Our sun, as an example, is like a heavy rock in the middle of a trampoline; space and time curve around it, or bend under its weight.
Essentially, in a sci-fi world, starships tweak the fundamental particles of the space-time curvature. The bending of space-time extends into a narrowly-focused tunnel, similar to a wormhole. Once a ship has entered this tunnel, the forces inside propel it forward at incredible speeds. However, in Star Trek, maintaining slipstream is risky, dangerous, complex, unstable, and is based on technology not thoroughly understood, even on star date 51978.2. Therefore, it is rarely enacted.
In the science fiction television series Andromeda, slipstream is a series of strings connected between solar systems by gravity. Starships deploy a technique that reduces the mass of the ship and launches a slipstream drive opening a slip-point (an entry-way the ship uses to enter the slipstream tunnel).
The pilot then navigates the series of slipstream tunnels until he exits via the desired slip-point. In Andromeda, the pilot generally has to enter and exit slipstream multiple times before reaching his or her final destination.
Just as in Star Trek, slipstream travel in Andromeda is a complex and risky operation. For instance, exiting slipstream near the edge of a galaxy or in certain regions of space could be dangerous due to difficulty in finding a slip-point in these areas. If a slip-point cannot be found, or the slipstream drive is damaged, the ship becomes lost and stranded incredibly far from home. The risk in such a situation is the possibility of never returning home. A point of no return.
A more realistic form of slipstream is found in cycling, where it is commonly referred to as drafting. The slipstream is the area of reduced pressure immediately behind an object moving quickly through air or water. When an object (in this case, the bicycle) is in forward motion, it creates a slipstream or draft-space behind it that moves at velocities comparable to the velocity of the object itself. This is called turbulent flow or momentum diffusion—the spread of momentum between matter—and is best illustrated by the wake of a boat.
In cycling, when a group of riders are racing forward, they are slicing through the air and wind. Directly behind the cyclist is a small pocket of space where turbulent flow has been created and air resistance reduced. The pocket is travelling with the rider, carrying other particles with it. When another cyclist rides directly behind the first, they get caught in this particle trail and experience a large reduction of resistance while simultaneously being pulled forward by the front rider’s momentum diffusion. Riding in the slipstream allows a rider to keep pace while using approximately thirty percent less energy.
Before moving forward, let me take a moment to reorient you to the nature and goal of this book. Some will consider this a self-help book. Others will call it speculative fiction. To me, it is both, and with that framework in mind, slipstream adopts new meanings and can be repurposed for new contexts. Thus, from here on, slipstream will be defined as the optimal pathway(s) toward a desired destination. Cast in this light, slipstream encompasses more than just travel through space; it represents your ability to manipulate and enhance the quality of your time and life.
No two slipstreams have the same velocity. Indeed, some slipstreams are much faster than others. For instance, some slipstreams are like those referenced above in the sci-fi section—they are like entering warp-speed in a star cruiser. Just as in the sci-fi examples, these slipstreams not only take a person farther, faster, but often entail the most risk. They require precision and utter narrowness—undistracted, focused intention. The more narrow or focused and fast the slipstream, the slower the relative time passes.
Entering slipstream provides you with the capacity to fold space and time—creating shortcuts to achieve desired ends—and ultimately requiring less energy than alternative routes.
Unlike light-speed, where all things can be accomplished in an instant, by entering one slipstream, you simultaneously forego others. This is true concerning any decision. The root of the word decision means to cut-away and remove other options. Thus, when a decision is made, it is separated from other decisions which could have been made. There are opportunity costs to every decision.
When we decide to join a mastermind group, take a job, or pursue a goal, we put ourselves on a trajectory toward a specific destination, bypassing other destinations in the process. We cannot be everything and everywhere. We can’t go one way and expect to land somewhere the opposite direction.
There are many different paths leading to the same location. Inherent in each potential path is the speed of travel toward the destination. The question is, which path is optimal or will get you to your desired destination fastest?
When choosing a slipstream to enter, it is crucial to be mindful. Destinations, as well as paths, must be chosen wisely. In retrospect, I personally recognize enticing slipstreams I am thankful I did not enter, as they could have carried me far from my ultimate, ideal destination.
Very rarely will one slipstream get you directly from point A to point B. Just as in Andromeda, slipstreaming often resembles hitchhiking cross-country. Each slipstream takes you closer to your ultimate destination. At some point you may need to exit a slipstream in order to enter another. New paths, faster speeds, narrower foci. Don’t get stuck in one slipstream just because it worked in the past. What got you here, won’t get you there.
Although wormholes in space have not yet been found to actually exist, the concept is often depicted in speculative fiction. A wormhole, officially known as an Einstein-Rosen bridge, is a theoretical, topological (mathematical study of shapes and spaces) concept acting as a shortcut through space-time. A wormhole is much like a tunnel with two ends, each at different points in space-time.
A simple way to understand wormholes is to take a piece of paper and fold it in half. With the paper folded, poke a hole through the center with a pencil. There are two distinct holes at separate points on the paper. However, with the paper folded, you can slip through the hole making the time and distance of travel exponentially shorter.
Throughout the rest of this book, wormholes will be defined as space-time shortcuts generated through created luck—luck which comes to those who seek it. Examples of these types of wormholes are: finding a great mentor, landing your dream job, or reading a book that radically alters your paradigm.
Of course, not all wormholes are good. Some wormholes instantaneously plop you into an undesired location in space-time. However, for the purposes of this book, the emphasis will be placed on ideal wormholes—those which take you to your desired locations faster.
Wormholes are rooted in the assumption that space-time is non-linear. Thus, when a person slips through a wormhole, discontinuous and instantaneous change occurs. Wormholes can be big or small. Some wormholes can save you 10 minutes, while others can save you decades.
Wormholes are everywhere. The most ridiculous life-changing opportunities are available to everyone. Sadly, most of them go unnoticed. Richard Branson has said that he gets lucky every day of his life because he sees and seizes the opportunities that most people pass up. He recognized and was ready for opportunities that most people simply weren’t prepared for.
Consequently, although wormholes can happen for people in slower slipstreams, the chances of finding a wormhole are far more likely in rapid slipstreams. This phenomena occurs for three reasons: 1) greater distance traveled makes the potential of passing a wormhole more likely; 2) the slowing of time allows a person to recognize more of their surroundings or see more wormholes in his or her life; and 3) those in fast slipstreams are generally people who are willing to take risks others will not, treading into wormholes with unknown or uncertain ends.
Psychologists have found that the ability to experience joy has a ceiling effect. Although publishing a famous book seems like it would bring eternal happiness, eventually even J.K. Rowling adapted to her new circumstance, got bored, and began seeking higher aims. Whatever we seek—we imagine the satisfaction to be far greater than it really is. Eventually life is just life again. The joy fades fast. We enter a state of the new normal rather quickly.
Regardless of varying speeds, to the individual, time is relative and feels as if it is moving at a normal rate. Captain Picard’s day jumping at light-speed feels about the same as the citizens of Earth. Although days feel the same, the speed and distance covered is actually far different. Consequently, the elapse of time is also different.
When an individual enters optimal slipstream or drops through a wormhole, they travel distances that seem impossible to most people. When these abnormal distances are voyaged, travelers often feel an initial jolt and an ensuing gap between themselves and those they used to associate with at their point of departure. Although the experience of time still feels the same for both groups, the reality of time for each group is vastly different. The speedy traveler has far more time than his old companions who are still living on slower planets.
After entering a slipstream or wormhole into the future, the traveler experiences a quantum change that others struggle to comprehend. The change is drastically apparent and often doesn’t make sense or is difficult to accept. Yet to the individual, the transformation has become the new normal. Although the course narrowed and time slowed, everything relative to her is on the same course, moving the same direction. She is caught in a vacuum moving toward the destination of her choosing and is quite unaware of the increasing difference of her space-time curvature and those she left behind.
This is the experience of the successful. To them, life is normal. Not worrying about time, money, or volatile relationships is just how life is. The newness has long since worn off. However, even they have moments where they wake up and cannot believe how far they have come.
Most time travel occurs on the conscious level. When you enter a quick slipstream, your body will continue to age at the same rate while your conscious mind becomes decades older, aging exponentially faster. Consciously, you become an old man living among the relatively young. Growing in this intellectual and conscious way, we struggle to relate with others who continue to live in the same old state of consciousness.
Humanity generally evolves as a group, based on societal and cultural norms. We connect with or derive norms from individuals our own age or associate with peer groups from our own relative birth cohort. However, when you leap through a wormhole you begin relating to people much older than you. Others your age will feel decades behind you and appear naive, immature, or static.
To push my own progress, I chose to surround myself with people several decades (literally) older than me. I made friends with people who were near retirement or already retired. I began to see movies with them, hang out at their houses, and engage in their same activities. I wanted to learn now what took them an entire lifetime of experience to learn. I gradually reduced my time with people my own age, recognizing they were at best, in the same boat I was in, and therefore had less experience and wisdom to offer.
What if you could travel backward in time and have a conversation with your younger-self? What vital information would you give yourself about the future? How would this information change the entire course of your life?
Theoretically, if you could go back, say ten years into the past, and relay important information for yourself (e.g., invest in Facebook), the ensuing changes would alter your past-selves’ path. The new changes in your past-selves’ trajectory would inevitably alter your future destination. Indeed, a new future, different than the one you departed from when traveling to the past, would unfold. The old reality would instantaneously dissolve into a new and more evolved reality.
Of course, we can’t travel backward in time. However, this entire book is about traveling forward in time. To do so requires vision. To have vision is to consciously create your desired future. So what if you could have a conversation with your future self? What vital information would your future-self give you? What is your vision for the future?
This scenario has been played out in many different ways. Stephen R. Covey often taught his students to imagine themselves at their own 80th birthday. Stephen says, “In your mind’s eye, picture your 80th birthday. Picture the faces of your friends and family as they come to wish you well. All these people have come to honor you, to express their feelings, to toast a life well spent. Imagine you were the person being honored, the subject of the speeches. What would you like the people to say about you? What would you like them to say about your character and contributions? What achievements would you want them to remember? What impact would you like to have made in their lives? Start living today with that picture of your own 80th birthday clearly in mind. In that picture, you will find your definition of true success.”
This idea is summed up by Stephen Covey as beginning with the end in mind. The purpose of this principle and exercise is to help us imagine the sum total of our ideal life. If we can do this, we can narrow our path, avoiding distractions and errors we might have otherwise made. We can make our decisions in a more informed way based on the desired outcome we wish to achieve.
By doing this, we can extract vital information from our future-selves. However, the vision we can currently conceive of our own 80th birthday is based on our current measure of success. Our current measure of success is based on our current trajectory. But if we could obtain useful information from our 80 year old self that would allow us to accomplish the same amount by age 30, we would have 50 extra years of life. Thus, our 80 year old selves’ past and future would change. With our new information, we create a new future that goes well beyond our previous measure of success; we live decades beyond our old perceived 80th birthday.
With a new future self in place, we can reinitiate the process, consulting with our 80 year old self and using the information to alter our future again and again. Thus, the cycle of time looping can propel us further and further into our own theoretical future. By so doing, we continuously re-write the future. This process allows us to continually expand our future possibilities—our vision.
The movie, In Time, staring Justin Timberlake, illustrates the concept of time dilation and time folding. In the movie, time is the currency. There is no money. A cup of coffee costs four minutes rather than four dollars; and taking the bus costs thirty minutes. Just as the value of four dollars is relative to each person, in the movie thirty minutes is also relative.
For those who are living “paycheck-to-paycheck,” thirty minutes may be a big deal. However, for the rich who have the power to earn thirty million minutes each day, the cost of living is insignificant.
Furthermore, characters in In Time have their remaining time coded on a digital watch on their arm. When purchases are made or paychecks dispensed, the time on each arm adjusts. If a person runs out of time, they literally die. They “clock out.” This idea further leverages the concept of time dilation because a person can literally live forever if they have a continuous inflow of time. For the rich, time slows down and they can literally live forever.
This film plays on a reality of life. Everything costs time or saves time. When we buy a new home, it isn’t really costing us $300,000. What it really costs is the time spent working to pay the monthly mortgage. For most, this is approximately 30 years. New cars don’t cost money, they cost us our time here on this beautiful planet.
Sadly, people today not only spend the time they have, they also spend away their futures. To accrue debt is to sell away our future time.
Money is simply a means to an end—time spent in desired ways. Indeed, every dollar is a relative reflection of time for each individual. To some people, 100 dollars represents 10 hours, to others, it represents less than a second. I once heard that Bill Gates makes so much money that if he saw $1,000 dollars lying on the ground, the act of bending down and picking it up would take more time than the time in which he passively makes $1,000. That may be a gross over-estimate, but it portrays a powerful idea.
Although money is a requirement for so much in life, on a quantum level, time is the ultimate currency. Jim Rohn believes, “Time has more value than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” At some point or another, our ticking time clock will end. Yes, we can slow that process exponentially. However, we are unable to stop time altogether. We have yet to learn how to travel at the speed of light where time ceases to exist.
Not only is time the ultimate currency, but in actuality time is our only currency. Our time is the only thing that really belongs to us. Everything else belongs to the world and the universe. We can’t take our money or stuff with us when we die. Although we may “own” something, we don’t really own it. At most, we are stewards over our possessions, but they are ultimately the Earth’s. The only thing that is fundamentally ours is our time. To waste our time is to waste ourselves.
Freedom is the keystone in the pursuit of happiness. Personal freedom is the ability to direct one’s life according to personal desires. For the majority of people, internal and external constraints limit that freedom. External constraints are inflicted upon us (such as cultural norms, family upbringing, and the global economy). Internal constraints (such as fear, insecurities, and lack of knowledge) we inflict upon ourselves.
A primal human motivation is the achievement of personal autonomy. Indeed, the more freedom a person has, the happier they will be. Each moment chosen or engaged in freely, becomes an ideal moment.
The more time a person creates, the more opportunity for freedom he has to do and be what he wants. I have yet to read a guide to financial freedom which does not emphasize the importance of residual income. Residual income is money made outside of working hours. With residual income, a person can be at home playing games with their family while the work they did in their past is now independently working for them in the future. In essence they have established a form of economic freedom—time to do what is freely chosen and desired.
Of course, financial freedom isn’t the definition of personal freedom. Actually, financial freedom isn’t even a requirement. It helps further the vision; but freedom can be had before financial success. There are three distinct requirements for personal freedom: 1) a heart at peace, 2) healthy relationships, and 3) upright character.
Genuine peace is something that can’t be faked. The book, “The Anatomy of Peace,” explains that a person either has a heart at war, or a heart at peace. True peace comes from living a life in alignment with one’s inspired vision. This peace comes from orienting our hearts in such a way that external factors (people, norms, events) no longer dictate the direction of our internal path. Sadly, most people’s hearts are at war.
Healthy and happy relationships are also required for personal freedom. Like a peaceful heart, healthy family relationships are rare and often sacrificed in the pursuit of other endeavors such as business success. There are many successful businesses but few successful families. Yet, David O. McKay has said that “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.” Without healthy relationships with family and friends, a person doesn’t truly have personal freedom. His life is out of balance.
Lastly, without an upright character, a person can’t truly be free, or at peace. Quality character reflects consistently doing what’s right regardless of the circumstances. Again, like peace and healthy relationships, character is rare. Few people have it; and when people see it in others they are often either intrigued or offended by it. They are offended because it is a reflection of the self-alignment they lack and so desire. Character reflects an authentic freedom that can’t be imitated or faked. No matter what outward success a person may have, without character, they cannot truly be free.
As stated earlier in this book, the faster an object moves, the slower its time goes. Thus, making radical and dramatic, even instantaneous changes in your day-to-day routine is an excellent way to slow time. Research indicates that perception of elapsed time is primarily influenced by the type and amount of new experiences encountered within that time. The more new experiences, the slower time was perceived to have passed.
Derek Sivers, author of Anything You Want, explains that novelty and change are what create memories. Even good routines lack memorability. Think of all the times you began getting ready for work and were suddenly there having no recollection of getting in the car or making the drive. Although getting dressed is important, to slow time is to make every moment meaningful and worth remembering.
Memories are forged in moments that mattered—usually in moments of great change. Meaningful moments exist forever in our minds—memories are timeless. We get to relive them again and again. That moment you gave a public speech, or went skydiving, or proposed to your girlfriend, or backpacked Europe, or wrote a book, or dressed up as a clown, or visited the elderly and made them feel valued. Those are moments that truly mattered. They were when your best-self took risks and triumphed over monotony.
The purpose of life, to Derek Sivers, is to create as many memories as possible. He has spent the past seven years experiencing life by living all over the world. He doesn’t want to look back at the end of his life and have little worth remembering. Consequently, he constantly changes his routine and tries things he thought he would never do. He advises anyone considering making a big change in their life to “do it always.”
Quantum change can also be thrust upon us and shake our very foundations: war, car accidents, spiritual experiences, death of loved ones, miracles, falling in love, or the birth of a child. Such experiences have the power to dramatically alter our perception of the world. Due to the abruptness of change, time can vividly slow down. For example, many people have reported large portions of their life flashing before their eyes during near-fatal experiences. This was a conscious and quick movement through a small amount of elapsed time.
The more dramatic the change, the slower the duration of time. Consequently, experiencing rapid change at the fastest rate possible inversely slows time. However, change for the sake of change alone can be detrimental—change ought to accelerate us in a desired and useful direction.
A person can experience quantum change in the form of quantum leaps. A quantum leap is “any great, sudden, or discontinuous change.” Because the change is sudden and discontinuous, it can only be conceived non-linearly.
My wife understood this concept long before I did. She has always valued change and feels invigorated by it. Eight months after our wedding, she saw me enslaved to my time and routine. In her natural way, she planned a two month backpacking trip for us in Ireland which involved a month working for room and board on a blind man’s goat farm. Few things could have brought more clarity to my life than that radical change. When we returned to normality, nothing was the same. If you feel stuck, your universe is begging you to change.
“If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.”
Quantum change is jarring, but essential to the fastest and most difficult growth. Entering a fast slipstream may involve a great deal of pain. Like an out-of-shape person beginning boot camp, you will need to be honed if you hope to keep up. However, with determination and intrinsic desire, you can adapt to the speed of any slipstream.
The day my wife read the first draft of this book, her response was, “it’s a great book! Are you personally ready to jump 6 years into our future?” As of that morning, our lengthy application to become foster parents had gone through and there were two kids ages three and five waiting for us to pick them up. In an instant, we went from having no children (and infinite free time) to having two.
Initially, the radical change felt traumatic. Having never been parents before, we were overwhelmed and underprepared. To be transparent, during the first few months of being a foster parent I was extremely depressed. The turbulence and utter jolt to my entire system was paralyzing. I struggled to connect with the kids. In many ways I resented them. Their poor behaviors were easy to observe and obsess over. I wanted to be away from home. Inevitably, this led to challenges in my marriage and home life. My overall happiness and satisfaction with myself and my life diminished.
After 10 weeks of foster parenthood, I reached an absolute low. I knew something needed to change—that something was me. Jim Rohn has said, “Don’t wish it was easier. Wish you were better.” I stepped back and realigned with my vision. I reconnected with the real Ben Hardy. As a result I began to see my circumstances for what they really were. Immediately, feelings of gratitude washed over me. Life became good. I made a decision. I chose to love the kids and to be happy that they were with us. My attitude was altered.
More amazing than my change in perspective, however, is how the kids responded. They opened up to me because they felt my love, not my resentment. Harmony enveloped my home. Peace radiated in my heart.
Although we had thrown ourselves in the fire, and the turbulence of our new system shook us up, we were able to adjust and be all the better because of it. In the midst of grand changes, you too will recover. It may take time. Find time to connect with your highest self. Don’t lose yourself when things get crazy. Be prepared to change.
Of this, Dieter Utchdorf has said, “What do you suppose pilots do when they encounter turbulence? A student pilot may think that increasing speed is a good strategy because it will get them through the turbulence faster. But that may be the wrong thing to do. Professional pilots understand that there is an optimum turbulence penetration speed that will minimize the negative effects of turbulence. And most of the time that would mean to reduce your speed. The same principle applies also to speed bumps on a road. Therefore, it is good advice to slow down a little, steady the course, and focus on the essentials when experiencing adverse conditions.”
It is human nature to avoid high pressure, discomfort, and pain. Consequently, few will enter rapid slipstream because it requires change. Contrary to popular belief, change is necessary and should be desired, not avoided. When I married my wife, I quickly realized there was much about my life and myself I needed to change. I not only sought to adapt to my new slipstream, but I wanted to prepare myself for the fastest slipstreams and most gnarly wormholes possible. Never be offended that your new circumstances require you to change. Be humble and receptive. Rather than simply going where you need to go, be willing to become who you need to become.
Although we are primarily responsible for how long it takes to arrive at desired destinations, as well as how fast or slow our times goes, there is a difference between power and force. Phil Jackson, author of Eleven Rings: The soul of success, explains this idea in the differences he noticed while coaching Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. Michael Jordan, although purely dominant, did not force the action of the game. More often than not, he let the game come to him. Conversely, Kobe Bryant was often characterized as one who tried to force the action. Kobe wanted to make the right plays happen, rather than allowing the opportune moment to organically occur.
Phil Jackson was known for being a Zen-like man. He has spent much time studying Buddhism and he deeply loved the power of stepping back and letting things naturally unfold. Paradoxically, by allowing more freedom for things to happen, rather than trying to force his will, he found that his players followed him more sincerely. Leadership is not forcing people to follow. Rather than the bee going out searching for honey, it’s being the flower and allowing the bees to come to you.
Slipstream time travel works much the same way. We’ve talked a lot so far about creating your own luck and miracles; however, this cannot happen to a person trying to force the action.
As you progress from slipstream to slipstream, the process will become easier and more frequent. Time may seem fast to you now. However, as you advance through the four stages of time hacking, time will progressively slow. At the highest stage, all time exists as the present moment.
The first stage is merely acknowledging that such opportunities, such as wormholes, exist. In this stage, the observer accepts that wormholes (or slipstreams) are real, but views them as scarce and fantastic. Such events are explained by extreme luck and unpredictability.
Thus, in this stage, the observer perceives the odds of their falling through a wormhole on the same scale as winning the lottery—as less than one-in-a-million odds. In psychological terms, these are individuals with an external locus of control. These people perceive that change or success in their lives is largely out of their control. Observers in the first stage have a doubtful skepticism toward life and a bitter resentment toward those they deem more lucky and privileged.
Beyond stage one are observers who begin desiring the ability to time hack. These individuals begin to believe that such miracles and opportunities could happen to them. They begin recognizing the miracles already around them; however, they still perceive them as rare. They continue to believe that others are more likely to have these experiences and opportunities than they themselves are.
Observers in stage two continue to have an external locus of control. However, their doubtful skepticism is replaced by an open-hearted, seeking attitude. In this stage, unhealthy stage one paradigms fall away. It is a stage of deep learning.
Stage three time hackers begin to recognize their ability to create wormholes (and slipstreams) on their own. They have developed an internal locus of control and an intensified connection with time.
At stage three, observers notice incredible miracles happening in their lives frequently. There is a firmer conviction in their power to create and design their circumstances. Moreover, these observers believe the future is brighter than the present. There is an eager excitement for what lies ahead. Stage three is a stage of individual flourishing and abundance.
However, even at stage three, where miracles are ample, observers have yet to fully align with their true identity and ability. Although well on their way, there is still room to digress and change their course. An absolute assurance has not yet been reached. Fear and doubt can still linger, potentially returning them to their unevolved state.
Stage four initiates a point of no return. It requires an intimate experience with light. In fact, it is a deep knowledge that all things (including the self) are fundamentally light. This understanding must effect every decision. At this stage, the time hacker has moved beyond space-time and become light. Every possibility exists in the ever-present now. Thus, these rare stage four individuals have full access to the governing power of the universe.
This stage is characterized by truthful service—by helping others create miracles in their own lives. At stage four, the goal is no longer to evolve as a person, but to evolve as a people. The goal is to create utopia by globally transcending space-time.
“You can’t be the wind,” the wind said. “We’re two very different things.” “That’s not true,” the boy said. “I learned the alchemist’s secrets in my travels. I have inside me the winds, the deserts, the oceans, the stars, and everything created in the universe. We were all made by the same hand, and we have the same soul.”
What Destination are You Working Toward?
Good < Better < Best
Anything is Possible
The Need to Choose
The Need to Narrow
An Honest Look in the Mirror
A Matter of a Few Degrees
The Point of No Return
The Three Stages of Commitment
100% is Easier than 98%
Before moving forward, take some time to seriously reflect on the following questions. If possible, take out a pen and paper and record your answers to the following:
With a vision of your future in hand, the focus of the book is going to shift. Up until this point we have explored the “what” and the “why” of time hacking. Moving forward, we will focus on the “how.” From these strategies and tactics, you should start drawing direct applications to your own path in life.
A slipstream, no matter how fast, in the wrong direction, is ineffective. A wormhole, no matter how attractive, if taking you to the wrong location in space-time, is useless. Yet, far too many people willingly sell their souls for the shiny and fancy, take any job that pays well, or date any guy with a nice car. It doesn’t matter what it is, so long as it looks good.
College may be perceived as an effective slipstream, but if it’s not the right slipstream for a certain individual, than it’s a waste of time. I know many people who are in college because they don’t know what they really want. College becomes an expensive placeholder and costs them years of time.
In our world with limitless options, limitless books to read, limitless clothes to wear, limitless paths to take, it is extremely important to be picky. Excess is a suppressant to abundance. Excess represents the broad path which most people travel. With too many clothes in their closets and too many competing priorities, paralysis by analysis is at an extreme.
We’ve been duped by the endless selection of good paths and conditioned to live in fear of the better and best paths. We are too scared to close doors that can never be reopened; the path remains broad and generic. We must not be afraid of committing to our true desires at the expense of forgoing others.
Two weeks after arriving home from serving a two-year mission for my church, I fell through a wormhole. I got a text message from a friend saying, “A friend of a friend just told me there is a job opportunity for a financial analyst position. Let me know if you’re interested.” I texted him back immediately. A few days later I was sitting across the desk of two intimidatingly successful men.
A week after the interview I was told that despite my age and lack of experience, they thought I had potential. I was offered a job as the assistant to these two successful financial advisors. The essence of the job was that I was their pupil and they were going to train me up to one day take over their practices. I didn’t know this when I first got the job, but over time this became clear.
I was quickly seduced by the attractiveness of my boss’s lifestyles. Each worked a flexible 20 hours per week, played golf frequently, and made around $500,000 per year. Honestly, it was a really attractive job. Highly respectable. “The perfect job for a family-man,” they told me.
My boss often told me, “Ben, you just don’t realize the opportunity you fell into. God must really like you to have put you in this situation. You don’t know what you don’t know. This is about as good as it gets.”
My boss was right. I had fallen through a wormhole. If I had ambitiously continued down this path I had the potential to be making nearly as much as they did by the time I was in my early 30’s. However, I felt completely incongruent. I waffled in my commitment knowing in my heart that this wasn’t the path I would choose for myself. Nevertheless, I was lulled by the fact that this incredible opportunity just fell into my lap. “I’d be a fool to pass this up,” I often thought. The other analysts and advisors in the office tried on multiple occasions to convince me that I would be stupid to leave my job.
No matter how much I tried to convince myself, it wasn’t the right path for me. It didn’t matter that I could be a millionaire and have a career 99 percent of the population would drool over. In the wrong slipstream, time moved too fast. I wasn’t moving toward my desired destination. I was moving farther and farther away simply because I couldn’t justify leaving a sexy slipstream.
A similar experience happened after I got married. Everyone started asking if I was going to go into business with my father-in-law who is a successful real-estate investor.
“Why would I do that?” I generally responded.
“Why wouldn’t you? It’s a sure path to success” they say.
My path was not real-estate when I got married, and sure maybe it’s a great opportunity, but in my case it’s not the right slipstream. It’s not my path. I’m not going to be lured by a great opportunity when it’s the wrong opportunity. Congruence and authenticity are far more valuable than anything external.
Recognizing the brilliant opportunities everywhere is less than half the battle. Jim Collins explains in Good to Great that once-in-a-lifetime opportunities happen every day. The problem is that people don’t see them for what they are. Those who become the greatest and go the farthest are highly selective about what they take on. They are clear on where they want to go and recognize that most of what life offers will not get them there. Almost everything in life is a non-essential distraction.
Derek Sivers said in his book Anything You Want, “Most people don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing. They imitate others, go with the flow, and follow paths without making their own. They spend decades in pursuit of something that someone convinced them they should want, without realizing that it won’t make them happy.”
“Anything is possible, but not everything is possible”
My friend Tyler and I are currently training for a 100 mile ultra-marathon. Tyler comes from a family of runners. His 60+ year old father is currently training to qualify for the Boston Marathon. A few days ago, Tyler told me that if his father’s training times got closer to Boston qualifying times, he may start training for Boston himself.
At the news that Tyler may train for Boston, I asked, “Is your training for Boston going to impede on our goals of running an ultra?” He answered honestly, “Yes, it probably would.” Then my naïve optimism showed its common self: “Maybe I’ll train for Boston with you. Maybe we should just do both. 2015 will be the year of running. We’ll both do Boston and we’ll run an ultra-marathon. Boston qualifying times are 3 hours 15 minutes, you think it’s possible?”
Thankfully, Tyler is much wiser than me. I believe this wisdom has been earned from experience; his coming to know the difference between what he thinks can happen and reality. He told me, “Ben, anything is possible, but not everything is possible. Gotta choose what you’re gonna rock. Between your Ph.D., my kids, trail running, and other priorities, something would have to give. Here’s my approach: I decide how much I’m going to choose to train and give it my all in that allotted window. If I make Boston great, if not I simply wasn’t willing to choose to give up something I wanted more than Boston.”
“A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”
Before we can become aerodynamic and hop into the right slipstreams, we must first decide the destination we would like to arrive at. Standing before the door of indecision, we choose none. Instead, the tides of circumstance sway our life course as a ship without a rudder.
Upon deciding to walk through, we simultaneously close many other doors. This is actually a blessing. We live in a world that values choices—even if many of those choices are not conducive to our overarching goals. We have this inherent obsession with freedom. We don’t like the idea of having doors closed to us. Thus, we enter one door but try to keep our foot in another. We lack the courage to commit to a certain path. Rather than making it far in one direction, we take baby steps in several.
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
Right now, most of us engage in far too many priorities. If we have more than three priorities, we have none. There are doors remaining open that need to finally be closed once and for all. If we disentangle our tangled and cluttered lives the ability to slipstream forward will increase; time will slow and more will be accomplished in those few areas. Rather than constantly stopping and starting, momentum can develop.
Currently, our lives are far too broad. In the context of slipstreaming, broad lives are like a semi-truck. We need to narrow them down to become like an aerodynamic cyclist. We are moving forward with the wind-resistance of all our broad goals. We are stuck trying to do everything.
Everything is a myth. It’s not only impossible, it’s ridiculous. You can’t have it all. You can’t be in peak physical fitness while simultaneously living a sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle. The two are mutually exclusive—polar opposites. Exclusivity and polarity is how to travel farther and slow time. Being everything for everyone is how to stand still and speed time.
In addition to narrowing our priorities, honing our path requires pruning the unnecessary excess. This form of excess is “stuff” in our lives that add no real value, such as gossiping, mindlessly floating through social media, and other unhelpful habits. Much of this excess isn’t necessarily bad; rather, it’s more of a poor use of energy, reflecting low living and mismanagement of our mind. It doesn’t benefit anyone, especially you. Pruning the unnecessary excess and clutter from our lives:
From everything I’ve studied, the fewer the priorities in our lives the better. The few the goals we are pursuing the better. We should have no more than four or five key areas of our life. If we have more, we have gone too broad and will not make it very far in any of these. My four vital areas of life I put all my energy into are: my faith, my key relationships, my vocation, and personal growth.
“The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it.”
Now comes the moment of humility. Are we willing to look into what Brendon Burchard calls, “The mirror of meaning and ask: Why, having been endowed with the courageous heart of a lion, do we live as mice?”
As the quote above suggests, we are all living double lives of incongruence. The gap between what we know we should do and what we actually do is enormous. The lives we think we are living and the lives we are actually living are far from parallel. However, if we never pause and practice introspection, we will remain ignorant of the difference between who we are and who we thought we would become.
There is a famous analogy based on fact. It goes a little something like this—airplanes spend 90% of fight time off course. Upon departure, the pilot has a clear destination time and a specific flight plan to achieve the objective. Despite turbulence and other conditions keeping the plane off course 90% of the flight, most flights arrive in the correct destination at the correct time.
The reason for this phenomenon is quite simple—through air traffic control and the inertial guidance system, pilots are constantly correcting. Essentially, the plane is on a straight course and keeps getting nudged a degree off course here and pushed a degree or two off course there. When immediately addressed, these course corrections are not hard to manage. However, if a pilot only occasionally checked the course the aircraft could potentially become so far off course that the requisite corrections would take substantial time and resources to execute.
It turns out that being off course, even minimally can have devastating consequences. Consider the following story told by Deiter Utchdorf:
“In 1979 a large passenger jet with 257 people on board left New Zealand for a sightseeing flight to Antarctica and back. Unknown to the pilots, however, someone had modified the flight coordinates by a mere two degrees. This error placed the aircraft 28 miles (45 km) to the east of where the pilots assumed they were. As they approached Antarctica, the pilots descended to a lower altitude to give the passengers a better look at the landscape. Although both were experienced pilots, neither had made this particular flight before, and they had no way of knowing that the incorrect coordinates had placed them directly in the path of Mount Erebus, an active volcano that rises from the frozen landscape to a height of more than 12,000 feet (3,700 m).
As the pilots flew onward, the white of the snow and ice covering the volcano blended with the white of the clouds above, making it appear as though they were flying over flat ground. By the time the instruments sounded the warning that the ground was rising fast toward them, it was too late. The airplane crashed into the side of the volcano, killing everyone on board. It was a terrible tragedy brought on by a minor error—a matter of only a few degrees.”
The fastest slipstream, if off course by even one degree will take a person decades away from their desired destinations.
“Throwing away the education, the training, the preparation that those we love have sacrificed so much for, that we ourselves have worked our butts off for. Fear of launching into the void, of hurtling too far out there; fear of passing some point of no return, beyond which we cannot recant, cannot reverse, cannot rescind, but must live with this cocked-up choice for the rest of our lives. Fear of madness. Fear of insanity. Fear of death. These are serious fears. But they’re not the real fear. Not the Master Fear, the Mother of all Fears that’s so close to us that even when we verbalize it we don’t believe it. Fear That We Will Succeed.”
Closing certain doors can be frightening. Should we err, it could cost us time, money, and energy. Actually, it could cost us everything. Ironically, the fear of failing leads to a failure to commit or paralysis—we have an infinite number of doors to pass through but are incapable of moving through any. Paralysis of this kind, leads to nowhere—and no movement results in a fast-track to our deathbeds.
The converse to paralysis is movement, evident in goal commitment. Goal commitment is the fortitude to accomplish a goal and persistence in pursuing it over time. Empirical research has found that commitment to difficult goals increases when goals are made public, when locus of control is internal rather than external, and when goals are self-directed rather than assigned.
With every serious leap into your future, there will always be naysayers and skeptics. What people don’t understand, they consider absurd. These voices can hinder you or empower you depending on how committed you are to your goals. In the words of Darren Hardy, “Let the haters be your motivators.” When you know a path is right, take the leap and don’t look back.
On the other hand, goal commitment is powerful and can often escalate to unhealthy extremes. Psychological researcher, Dr. Staw found that when people are personally responsible for initiating their course of action, they can become overly committed despite negative feedback. Additionally, the more resources an individual invests, the more willing they are to persist even knowing that they are continuing down the wrong path. In this way, goal commitment is a double-edged sword. The key is developing the ability to discern when to humbly accept that you have made a mistake and cut your losses, or when to move forward, no holds barred.
When a commitment escalates to the tipping point, distracters melt away and the path becomes clear. The peak, is a point of no return, total commitment to and belief in the path. Turning back becomes mentally and physically impossible, a denial of your true self. Certain behaviors can create a point of no return, such as setting off an explosion or signing a contract. But, the point of no return can also be a calculated decision toward a destination. This occurs when a person becomes so committed to a goal that they voluntarily remove alternative courses of action.
When my wife was 22 (3 years before we met), she was in an abusive relationship and had been for three years. One morning, not much worse than any other, she had a strong feeling that today was the day to leave. She got in her car, called her now ex as she drove away, and then never saw him again. Knowing the dangers of returning to manipulative situations, she charted a new course for herself in a single instant. The following months were intensely difficult but she clung to the one thing she knew: she would never go back.
The point of no return can affect your entire destiny or a single moment. As adventurers, my wife and I love to talk about the many trips we want to take. We currently have dreams of farming on a Caribbean Island. But talk is cheap until the exhilarating moment when we purchase the airfare. We are going!
Reaching a point of no return is not a daily experience. But when it happens, it facilitates the best and worst of human behavior. At its worst, the point of no return can generate suicide and mass-genocide. At its best, innovation and evolution.
Christopher Columbus experienced his own personal point of no return. Columbus led his three ships, the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria out of the Spanish port of Palos on August 3rd 1492. The voyage was taking much longer than he anticipated. In order to pacify his crew’s anxieties, Columbus kept two sets of logs: one showing the true distance traveled each day and one showing a lesser distance. The first log was kept secret. The latter log calmed the crew’s anxiety by under-reporting the true distance they had traveled from their homeland. This trickery had only a brief effect. By October 10th the crew’s apprehension had increased to the point of near mutiny.
The next day land was discovered.
At some point on the sea, Columbus reached a point at which he could either safely turn around (the point of safe return), or he could move forward knowing he didn’t have enough provisions to return home (the point of no return). He courageously surpassed the point of safe return into a space of faith and the unknown—a space where failure meant death. A space known as slipstream.
True commitment can only occur when turning back is no longer an option. This moment constitutes conversion in the highest regards. Failure is no longer caused by a lack of commitment. If you are going to fail, you are going to fail epically. If you are going to succeed, you will live at your highest level.
To leave the path of safe return is to enter the fastest and farthest slipstreams. These are the riskiest ventures because failure rates are extremely high. High risk, high reward. Few people take such risks and many that do, fail. Actually, all that do fail, hundreds of times along the way. These brave souls who are willing to confront constant failure are those that change the world and evolve the human race.
“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”
In his book, Wrecked, Jeff Goins explains the three hierarchal stages of commitment. Reaching stage three requires passage through one and two.
The first stage of commitment is adventure. At this level, commitment stems from the sheer thrill. This is common in young adults who travel the world and will willingly quit the jobs they hate. They leave relationships without tortuous contemplation and act on whims. This form of commitment is important, Goins explains, because it allows a person to experience a broad array of opportunities. However, this form of commitment is only healthy temporarily. Eventually a person will need to advance to stage two commitment.
Goins calls stage two, the Season. Commitment is longer lasting, even after the initial thrill fades. There is joy in seeing the end of goals, like the end of semester. However, like the first stage, this form of commitment has limits. Once the project or event is over, these people move on to something else. My wife, for example, has not run a significant amount since her feet crossed the half marathon finish line two years ago. She trained for months, enjoyed the process, and then moved on to something new. Once the season is over, the commitment is finished.
Goins explains that this stage of commitment is extremely important, and that skipping this stage can lead to problems in the next. Examples of this are frantically starting a family (often unintentionally) or jumping into a full-time job right out of college. Missing stage two can lead people to feel cheated and bitter about their current circumstances; believing they missed out on an important phase of life; thinking of how life used to be, or how it could have been.
The final stage of commitment is what Goins calls the Marriage (not literally). Just as an actual marriage is intended to be forever, so is any commitment at this level. This form of commitment constitutes the highest form of maturity and true dedication. Although changes still occur (like your job position), you can remain purely committed to a life calling, a set of principles, and an overarching vision.
I learned this form of commitment the hard way. In many ways, becoming a foster parent was like skipping stage two. Even if we are only the parents of these two children for just a season, I couldn’t treat our situation like that. If I saw their presence here as temporary, they would feel unloved. Kids are very discerning—they would know I was not fully committed. Like their past, our home would lack the dedication and foundation kids need to flourish. I needed to choose to be stage three committed to them, and I had to choose it fast. Like adjusting to any new slipstream, the transition can be jarring and painful.
I have no idea if we will have these kids forever. We may only have them for six more months. However, I’ve chosen to commit as if it will be forever. By doing this, I have been able to love them more. As a result, we’ve grown closer together. Our relationship has become more real. Regardless of how long we will actually be together, the bond we are forming will last forever. Choosing to relate deeply is fundamental to slowing time. Love is limitless.
“It’s easier to hold to your principles 100 percent of the time than it is to hold to them 98 percent of the time.”
For several years now, I’ve been addicted to sugar and sweets. This addiction has been counter-productive to my health and fitness goals. I’ve attempted to eat clean about 90% of the time, allowing myself 10% of whatever I want. However, my 10% more often than not becomes 20, 30, or 40%. I’m just not disciplined enough when the circumstances are attractive. And as a foodie, I’m hosed on a daily basis.
Willpower is like a muscle that becomes depleted after use. In a weakened state of continual choosing, we simply can’t fend off the bad decisions we would naturally prefer not to make.
My approach to living 90% led to over-justification, over-promising to myself that next time I’ll be better, and constantly playing catch-up for those moments that were too good to pass up. Anything less than one hundred percent for the addicted is a slippery slope to rock-bottom. My willpower was never enough.
My wife has watched me play this game since we’ve been married. Leaving a social event I would beat myself up on the car-ride home. “Why did you eat those cookies, Ben?” she often asks. “I don’t know,” I reply.
Recently, during one such episode, she finally said, “You just need to be 100%. You can’t be any other way.” I knew she was right.
And that was that.
From that moment until now, I’ve been re-fined sugar and wheat-free. What has surprised me most is how easy it has been. When you commit to something 100%, all of your future choices are already made—no matter how attractive the circumstances. The wear and tear on your willpower is decreased allowing you to direct that energy towards your desired destination. Once you cross the point of no return, life becomes simpler and easier.
The Body of Humanity
Preparing for my First Slipstream
We are all simultaneously slipstreaming the wake of history. Every aspect of our lives is effected by those who came before us. We are slipstreaming our parents, our teachers, the founding fathers. We are slipstreaming the progress of the world.
My ability to write this book is due to my having slipstreamed those who taught me how to read and write. Moreover, my ability to use a computer is a slipstreaming of all the technology leading up to my desktop arriving in my house.
Humanity is a large peloton (collection of cyclists). We are moving forward as a group. There are people leading the peloton who are setting the pace. They lead us and work harder than the rest because they face the primary resistance to growth and evolution. Most of humanity rides in the middle or back-end of the peloton being pulled forward by the momentum diffusion of those ahead. Those in the back coast along dispensing very little energy.
This is a seductive slipstream because it’s easy, comfortable, and familiar. The difficulty lies in being able to break away from the pack and pursue other slipstreams or wormholes.
Darren Hardy, editor of Success Magazine, understands the difficulty of leaving the pack. He illustrates this through the process of crab fishing. An individual crab is extremely effective at escaping almost any trap. However, a very simple trap can be used to catch large groups of crab.
Here’s how it works. Inside each open-top trap sits a pile of crab feed. The first crab to happen upon the feed enters and enjoys the spoils. The second crab sees his feasting colleague and joins him for the partaking. The third and fourth crabs follow suit. Soon, dozens and dozens of crabs have entered the trap and linger, even after all the food is gone.
Here’s the catch. If one crab chooses to exit the cage and look for food elsewhere, it is challenged by its mates. While trying to crawl out of the trap, the other crabs will pull it back down. If this brave fellow persists, the others will break off its claws. If it persists further, the group will kill it.
Sadly, humans are not too different. We all have extreme egos. We don’t like seeing others succeed beyond our own perceived abilities. We prefer when others fail, or at least fall behind us in the peloton of society. We’ve created collective barriers in our language, actions, and even thoughts which maintain the status quo.
Rejection and ridicule are real barriers. To be authentic is to be vulnerable. Visions and goals are regularly shot down and considered absurd. Many of our schools and systems still focus on the development of followers rather than leaders, an early 1900’s response to large growth in factories and assembly lines.
Interestingly, our entire public education system was organized around this industrial model. The goal of the public school system was to train its students to be submissive and obedient to leadership. It’s little wonder that children, who are innately curious and questioning, quickly grow to care only for acquiring information that will please a teacher or make a grade. Even now, when leaders, not followers are so desperately needed in the global economy, few schools are breaking away from the traditional model.
In our factory inspired economy, rate-busters are those who disrupt the status-quo. Generally, rate-busters are new employees who radically out-produce their counterparts. They are the crabs looking for better opportunities, the innovators and evolutionists.
At first glance, managers might seek rate-busters. However, with the appearance of a rate-buster comes the claws of conformity. Nobody likes an overachiever. It makes them look bad and necessitates that they work harder. Long-time employees become uncomfortable and generally hate and ostracize the disrupter. Although good for the progression of the company and for the self, most rate-busters cave to the pressure and regress back to the mean. To succeed as a rate-buster is not simply to start but to endure.
Entrepreneurs are rate-busters on a global scale. They disrupt the local and linear status quo but face the same challenges. Regulators, on the hand, seek to maintain the status quo, hindering the progress of rate-busters, who threaten their very existence.
Of this, Peter Diamandis said in a recent blog post: “Entrepreneurs are going to want to run faster than regulators will be willing to allow them. When entrepreneurs find ways to do things much cheaper and faster, it gets traditional businesses up in arms. The old guards don’t know how to handle the rate of change. It threatens their existence, so they work with the government to put up roadblocks (think Uber and taxi fleets).
In addition, when the government can’t understand the impact of a new technology on society, their first reaction is to say, ‘Stop – I don’t understand this, we’ve got to regulate this, it’s too dangerous.’ The entrepreneur’s response? Don’t try and stop me.”
No matter the situation you find yourself, there will be a status quo to be disrupted. The task is fending off the other crabs. People will hate you. You will be threatening their very livelihood and security.
I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah. Day to day life was simple. My brothers and I moved from apartment to apartment with my mom. Our days were filled with video games, Adam Sandler movies, skate videos, and skateboarding.
In my first 18 years, I didn’t think much about the direction or momentum of my life. It didn’t cross my mind. I wasn’t exactly enjoying my life. I was just playing with the cards I had been dealt. We were middle-class Americans and there wasn’t much I could do about it. In essence, I was stuck right in the middle of the peloton, going with the flow, my direction unclear. Only, for me it seemed as if the peloton was at a standstill, and that my movement had halted with it.
In space-time, it is impossible for something to stop moving completely. Movement, like time, is relative to certain points. It is our position relative to fixed or moving points that makes our own movement discernible.
Although non-movement is impossible, I truly felt like my life was suspended in space, without motion. Perhaps this was my first inkling of my relative velocity compared to others. My theoretical reference point was the quality of my life. It hadn’t changed in a long time.
Well, that was not entirely true, my quality of life had declined each of the five years since my parent’s divorce. I had been moving, albeit in a direction I despised—a direction I felt powerless over. Time was fading and I was aging into adulthood faster than I wanted to.
In my defeated and powerless state, I continued to dwindle as a person, often in front of my video games. By this time, I was 18 years old, graduated from high school, and jobless. I played World of Warcraft 12-16 hours per day and slept the other 8-12 hours. I was merely existing. Aside from the increasing level of my online characters, the only perceivable change in my life was the shadow under my eyelids and the increasing amount of Mountain Dew flowing through my blood stream.
During this time, my cousin Brian and I randomly started running around the Alta High School track once or twice a week. We didn’t run far, two to three miles at most and the phase lasted just a few months.
However, despite the brevity of the experience, I distinctly remember those few runs. We would both go at our own pace around the track. Our timing must have been impeccable because I see images in my memory of gorgeous sun-sets vibrating off the snow-covered Utah Mountains. Running in circles while gazing into the natural beauty and listening to Space Odyssey by David Bowie had a lasting impact on me.
In fact, those memories were so impactful that even though Brian and I stopped going to the track together, I didn’t stop running. Because I was carless, I left for my runs from own my front door. I would run at about 11 p.m. because I enjoyed the lack of car traffic passing by. At the start, I was running 2-4 times per week for a few miles but I steadily progressed. Within a short period of time, I was running 4-6 times per week at increasingly longer distances. I got to the point where I was running a 12 mile loop four times per week. I would leave at around 11 p.m. and get back to my mom’s apartment by 1 a.m.
Before going up to my mom’s third floor apartment, I would hop the fence to the complex swimming pool and get into the hot-tub with my running shorts still on. A half hour in the hot-tub immediately following a half-marathon is nirvana. The flood of endorphins cascading throughout my body from the run coupled with the relaxation on my muscles from the hot water and jets put me into my own personal Zen-mode.
After my running and hot-tub ritual, I would walk up the three flights of stairs to my mom’s apartment. Still dripping wet from the hot-tub water, I would go straight to the shower to rinse-off. Depending on my mood, I would either fall asleep to Fight Club (which I watched daily) or hop on Warcraft for an hour or two.
These midnight runs were the only deviation in my schedule for about six months. Aside from two hours of running, my days consisted of World of Warcraft, eating, and sleeping. However, this didn’t last for long. Running long-distances on a daily basis changed me. Two hours of time by myself to think and decompress took me to places in my soul I had been hiding from for years. Psychological and spiritual shifts were occurring. I had used the video games to distract myself from a life I didn’t want to confront. But while I ran, I couldn’t stop my mind from wandering to my own unhappiness.
During the long alone-time I had with myself while running, I started thinking about the potential I had. Seeing myself get into such strong running shape caused a shift in how I saw myself and my circumstances. I had entered the slipstream of an activity and ran through a rabbit hole into the crux of my soul. In so doing, I generated a slipstream behind me that pushed me out of the World of Warcraft and into the real world outside my small bubble of Salt Lake City.
I realized I needed to escape my circumstances fast. Winning the lottery didn’t seem like a probable wormhole to fall into. Getting a job seemed like an arduous path to a destination not far better than where I currently was. The most extreme change I could find was serving a mission for my church. This two year slipstream changed the very molecules and atoms that make up my physical and spiritual bodies. During those two years, I consciously and spiritually aged multiple decades. I returned home only two years older but felt like a more confident and mature man.
Steve Jobs and the Invisible Door
Thinking Big = Thinking Far Out
Leverage and Outsourcing
Peter Diamandis: BOLD
Stewardship: Doing More with Less
Setting Others Free
The entrance to the rapid slipstream is often through an invisible door. In life, there are millions of “doors” we can walk through—endless options and opportunities. However, some of the most incredible opportunities are doors that most people fail to notice. It takes very keen eyes and discernment. Once spotted, these invisible doors take immense courage to walk through. Such doors lead to mysteries and unknown destinations. It is only through these uncertainties and risks that innovation and art can manifest. The risk is high. But for those seeking higher levels of consciousness, the potential consequences are worth the risk. Staying where you are is hell.
In the early 1980s, Steve Jobs found an invisible door. He recognized an opportunity and entered such rapid slipstream that time almost stopped. One day, he went to Xerox PARC, a computer research center run in Palo Alto, California. One of his friends who worked at Xerox took him on a tour of the campus.
During the tour, Jobs was given a demonstration of the PARC personal computer. The demonstration blew Jobs’ mind. The demonstrator, Larry Tesler, moved the cursor across the screen with a device Xerox called “the mouse.” Back then, directing a conventional computer was done by typing commands through a keyboard. Tesler simply clicked on an “icon” on the screen. He opened and closed “windows,” allowing him to briefly move from one action to another.
Jobs jumped up and down and began pacing. “Why aren’t you doing anything with this? This is the greatest thing. This is revolutionary!” he shouted.
The Xerox Alto went on sale in 1981. It didn’t do well. Shortly after, Xerox withdrew from the personal computer space. Meanwhile, Jobs and the tribe at Apple, recognizing the invisible door dared to walk through. The consequence was a slipstream that changed the world: the Apple Macintosh. Jobs was reported to say years after this event, “If Xerox had known what it had and had taken advantage of its real opportunities, it could have been as big as I.B.M. plus Microsoft plus Xerox combined and the largest high-technology company in the world.”
It has been argued that Steve Jobs stole the ideas of Xerox. That point may be fair. But one thing is certain, Steve Jobs took something that already existed and made it better—innovation. Moreover, he saw an unutilized opportunity, a dormant slipstream, and took the leap of faith.
During the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, psychologist Walter Mischel of Stanford University conducted some ground-breaking studies on delayed gratification. These studies were conducted on 32 children (16 boys and 16 girls) between the ages of three and five. In the experiment, these children were offered a single marshmallow but were informed they’d get a second marshmallow if they waited 15 minutes to eat the first. After giving these simple instructions, the researchers left the room and returned 15 minutes later.
These children were tested later in life and researchers found that children who could postpone their gratification and patiently wait for the bigger reward usually succeeded more in several areas of their life. These include higher SAT scores, more education, and healthier body mass index (BMI). Delayed gratification is an important indicator of success because it involves long-term thinking.
Tony Hsieh is the CEO of Zappos.com. At age 22 he graduated from Harvard. By age 25, he sold Linkexchange, a company he cofounded to Microsoft for 265 million dollars. In 2010, at age 36, he sold Zappos.com for 1.2 billion dollars to Amazon. His net worth is 860 million dollars. A primary reason for Tony’s success is his incessant obsession with long-term thinking and delayed gratification.
To rewind slightly, when Tony was 23 years old, six months after starting Linkexchange, he was offered one million dollars for the company. This was amazing to Tony because less than a year before, he was stoked to get a job at Oracle making 40k per year. However, rather than losing control in impulsive excitement at an amazing opportunity, Tony asked for a few days to think about it.
After much thought and discussion with his partner, he rejected the offer believing he could continue to build Linkexchange into something bigger. His true love is in building and creating. A true pro gets paid, but doesn’t work for money. A true pro works for love. So he continued to build and create Linkexchange into something bigger and better.
Five months later he was offered 20 million dollars from Jerry Yang, cofounder of Yahoo!. This blew Tony away. His first thought was, “I’m glad I didn’t sell five months ago.” However, he held his cool and asked for a few days to consider the proposal. Tony’s security was not in Linkexchange, but in himself. He knew that he could succeed regardless of what happened in this deal. Whether he decided to keep or sell, the decision was going to be intrinsic; not impulsively launched based on external circumstances. He would make his decisions on his terms.
He thought about all the things he would do if he had all that money, knowing he would never have to work another day in his life. After reflecting, he could only devise a small list of things he wanted:
That was it.
He couldn’t think of anything else he wanted. His passion and motivation wasn’t in having stuff. He concluded that he could already afford a TV, a new computer, and could already go on weekend mini-vacations whenever he wanted. He was only 23 years old, so he determined a condo could wait. Why would he sell Linkexchange just to build and grow another company? Impulsiveness didn’t overpower him. He was able to think long-term on what he really wanted—on bigger and better things.
A year after Tony rejected the 20 million dollar offer, Linkexchange exploded. There were over 100 employees. Business was booming. Yet, Hsieh no longer enjoyed being there. The culture and politics had subtly changed in the process of rapid growth. Linkexchange was no longer Hsieh and a group of close friends building something they loved. They had hired a bunch of people in a hurry who didn’t have the same vision and motivations they had. Many of the new employees didn’t care about Linkexchange, or about building something they loved. Rather, they just wanted to get rich quick—purely self-interested.
So he decided to sell the company on his terms. Microsoft purchased Linkexchange in 1998 for 265 million dollars when Hsieh was 25 years old.
What would have happened if Hsieh had sold Linkexchange for one million dollars two years earlier? Of course, he wouldn’t have become insanely rich; and sure, he might have been involved in the creation of other successful ventures. However, he would not have learned to say “no” to something good in order to wait for something better. He would not have learned to build up a company into something truly impactful. He wouldn’t have learned to make decisions on his own terms. I believe this is the primary characteristic that makes Tony Hsieh Tony Hsieh.
How can we learn to delay gratification and make long-term decisions?
“Good timber does not grow with ease
The stronger wind, the stronger trees.
The further sky, the greater length.
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow
In trees and men good timbers grow.”
Long-term thinking and long-distance thinking are similar but not the same. Psychologists have noted in their research that very few people seek enormous goals that take long-term perspective to achieve. These outliers strive for goals that few others ever consider. For instance, the thought of running a 26.2 mile marathon makes most of the population feel uneasy.
However, for those who determine to set this goal, they soon find out that such can be accomplished with a quality training regime and the proper amount of training time. In this sense, most people who conceive the goal of running a marathon discover that it can be attained.
Although most people would never consider running a marathon, it is becoming increasingly popular. Hundreds of thousands of people do it every year. Once the marathon is run, their objective (vision) becomes real and they feel satisfied with their results. These results are satisfying because:
Most marathoners have a pre-determined goal or stopping point. From the beginning, their sights are set on the line drawn at 26.2 miles. They are consumed by reaching that goal and are mentally and physical spent when it is achieved. Others dare to look beyond that mark. When the race is done, their energy is far from spent. These runners’ abilities are likely no greater. They have no secret stores of energy, unique gift for running or biological advantage. Their advantage lies in how far they are able to see, or where they draw their finishing line in their minds. We are only limited in how far we can go by how far into the future we are willing to look. Thinking big involves looking past the 26.2.
Thinking big is indeed rare. Most perceive themselves as average, striving for outcomes that the rest of society strives for, never considering more to be an option. Contentment and complacency are the pleasurable fruits of this short-term and short-distance thinking.
When a person tries to form a new habit, he often meets a great deal of resistance. However, if he surrounds himself with other people who are moving in a desired direction, he can feed off their momentum diffusion. In a sense, he can draft or slipstream behind those who go before him.
This is the science behind mentorship. When a person works with a mentor, they are essentially drafting, and experience far less resistance than when trekking alone. The mentor pulls their apprentice forward with their momentum diffusion. Because the mentor is in the front, they are shielding their apprentice from a great deal of the resistance. The apprentice gets to ride in the sweet spot just behind the mentor where reduced pressure, as well as forward momentum diffusion exists.
The right mentorship can create a slipstream current that acts as a wormhole or a fold in time. Perhaps the most important aspect of mentorship is capturing the worldview they’ve spent years and decades developing.
During my undergraduate experience, I had abundant opportunity to ride the slipstream of multiple mentors. Most of those slipstreams were barely moving at all toward my personal goals; thus, time went fast and my life went nowhere. I spent three years of my undergrad working as a research assistant for five different professors. All I know is this, I spent hundreds of hours working on projects that went nowhere and found myself rejected to graduate school two years in a row.
All I had to show for my vain efforts were a few conference presentations. Something that anyone could do, even without a mentor. I was left wondering what I was doing with my life and my future became confused and depressing.
Then I entered a slipstream moving so fast it felt like a wormhole. I found a mentor and experienced rapid acceleration. Within five months of working with this mentor, I had fifteen manuscripts submitted for publication in professional psychology journals. Several of those have been accepted for publication.
Finishing a Ph.D. with four or five articles accepted for publication would be a huge success. That’s because it generally takes a long time. However, finding the right mentor can dramatically speed that process and thus slow time.
I don’t blame my previous professors for my epic waste of time and failures. Actually, I blame myself. I had chosen the wrong slipstreams. I’m certain others flourished whose goals aligned with what was offered in those labs.
A mastermind is a group of innovators or experts who brainstorm ideas, offer support, and provide accountability to each other in order to enable the collective group to achieve exponential personal and business success. In order to enter The Genius Network mastermind, a person must pay $25,000 per year. Most people would see this as a ridiculous amount of money to join a social group. However, the tribe of people that is Genius Network constitute a slipstream moving incomprehensibly faster than 99 percent of the population. Members of Genius Network include:
The objective of Genius Network is to help people 10x their success each year. Thus, if a person earns $1,000,000 per year prior to joining Genius Network, the goal would be to earn $10,000,000 the year after joining.
How could this be possible?
For starters, when an individual joins the Genius Network, they now have access to some of the most creative and successful minds of our time. Imagine the ways in which this collective could hone and enhance that person’s already successful business. In this way, The Genius Network works like a starship, moving at such an incredible speed that time slows dramatically down. By jumping on board, the individual’s relative speed matches the speed of the Network. This is the essence of slipstream possibilities. As a person enters the slipstream of Genius Network, the velocity of her travel to her desired destinations often increases by 10 times. Thus, a person that 10x’s her goals arrives 10x’s further in the same amount of time she would have at her previous speed. Or put another way, she reaches her desired destination 10x’s faster and thus compresses time immensely.
“To the individual, character is destiny. To the organization, culture is destiny.”
Malcolm Gladwell and others have explained that humans are genetically programmed to form “tribes.” In the book, Tribal Leadership, the authors define a tribe, “as a group of between 20 and 150 people in which everyone knows everyone else, or at least knows of everyone else.” They explain that once a tribe exceeds 150 people, it generally breaks into two tribes.
Seth Godin, one of the world’s leading experts on tribe-building defined a tribe this way: “A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.”
Every slipstream has a tribal culture—the relational fabric knitting a group together. The culture is an accumulation of shared beliefs, values, language, and goals. When you enter a slipstream, you enter a tribe and thus enter a culture. If you adapt to the culture, you remain in the slipstream. If you don’t adapt to the culture, you are promptly ejected from the slipstream. Like attracts like. We attract like-minded people to us and repel others away.
The culture of a slipstream is the primary evidence of how fast and far the slipstream will go. In the book, Tribal Leadership, David Logan proposes five stages of tribal culture. The most dominant of these cultures is what Logan calls Stage 3 tribal culture. In this stage, each member of the tribe is competing with one another. Everyone is out for themselves. The goal is to be the best and for everyone else to know it. The language of this culture is focused on “me” and sounds like, “I’m great, and you’re not.”
Sadly, the majority of people who study business/self-help books, go to seminars, and get coaching are receiving a Stage 3 education. The problem is that the speed and destination of each slipstream is relative; and those in Stage 3 slipstreams are moving at a much slower relative speed compared to those at the next stage. Consequently, they will find themselves decades behind those who find slipstreams that move farther and faster.
In Stage 3, knowledge is power. Thus, in this stage, people horde knowledge and information from others because they don’t want others to have the same advantages they have. The success of others equates to your own failure. Therefore, the goal is to hamper others’ success in order to promote your own. In a slipstream with Stage 3 tribal culture, the tribal members are competing against each other to rise the ranks.
Relationships in Stage 3 slipstreams are dyadic. Rather than linking multiple people together, each member has distinct relationships with each member. For instance, if I were in a Stage 3 slipstream, I would rarely introduce other people together. I keep my relationships to myself because each relationship has the purpose of propelling me forward. Indeed, my relationships are a means to my own ends. If the relationship doesn’t benefit me, it ends.
It is quite interesting to see this behavior in action. I am highly involved in the life/business coaching world. Many of my Facebook friends are life coaches. They post videos daily on Facebook. Their language clearly demonstrates Stage 3 culture. All their remarks are focused on how brilliant they are, how successful they are, what “bad-ass’s” they are. Thus, their coaching products are focused on making you the best and biggest bad-ass in the world.
In Stage 3 slipstreams, even the leaders, coaches, and mentors are primarily motivated to propel their own success. If helping you doesn’t facilitate their goals, then you will quickly disappear from their circle.
Even some of my favorite authors speak in Stage 3 language with an obsessive focus on themselves and their own success. They market their coaching programs as the key to my success because they have the knowledge that will unlock my greatest potential. I am almost totally removed from the equation.
However, Stage 4 tribal culture is much different. In Stage 4 slipstreams networking, not knowledge, is power. In these slipstreams, the language is not focused on the individual at all, but the tribe as a whole—“We’re great.” Stage 4 slipstreams move much faster than Stage 3 slipstreams because Stage 4 slipstreams are not in competition among themselves, but against other slipstreams. Thus, at Stage 3, life is considered a competition; at Stage 4, life is considered a collaboration.
The relationships are triadic. The focus is on connecting as many people together as possible. The goal is to create synergy by utilizing the knowledge, skills, and abilities of each tribal member in order to propel the slipstream forward as a whole. Because people in Stage 4 slipstreams harness the group’s energy as a whole, these slipstreams tend to move astoundingly fast. Moreover, these groups generate massive momentum and experience what Darren Hardy has called “the compound effect.” When a slipstream enters compound growth, it has potential to change the world in an exponential way. This is the “genius” of masterminds like the Genius Network where knowledge is shared, not guarded.
Most personal development and life/business coaching occurs as Stage 3 slipstreams. It can be a long and arduous search to find a slipstream with a Stage 4 culture. However, if you intend to expand your life by decades and even centuries, you will need to find a Stage 4 slipstream. Stage 3 can only save you so much time because in the end, the focus is only on how far you can take yourself.
Joe Polish is a glorious example of a Stage 4 tribal leader. Joe Polish is the creator of the mastermind Genius Network, previously mentioned. Joe is extremely well connected but does not horde those relationships. Instead, he is known as the master connecter because his primary gift is bringing like-minded people together. This is why Genius Network, as a slipstream, moves so fast that most can’t even see it.
Only Stage 4 slipstreams have the potential to enter the rare Stage 5 moments. Stage 5 tribal culture, according to David Logan is not a permanent condition, but rather, a timely episode when the right opportunity appears. When the stars of circumstance align, a Stage 4 tribe can fall through a wormhole and appear in uncharted space-time—Stage 5, where the focus is no longer on competing with other tribes, but have entered the realm of space-time exclusively of their own.
The language of Stage 5 cultures is, “Life is great,” because at this stage, there is no competition. Those embarking in Stage 5 slipstreams have left all the competition behind and are in a league of their own. These are the uncommon moments of innovation that change the entire world.
Stage 5 slipstreams move almost at the very speed of light. Time slows down so much that it barely moves at all. All eternity stands still as these few brave souls set out to accomplish what has never been done before. The members of these tribes are remembered forever.
In his book, Eleven Rings: The soul of success, Phil Jackson shares his experience of being in different stages of tribal culture. When he was the head coach of the Chicago Bulls, they had long strides as a Stage 4 slipstream. They worked as a unit and thrashed their competition. The focus was on the team’s greatness, even while containing the best individual player in history.
When a person thinks back on the Chicago Bulls, they don’t just think about Michael Jordan. Immediately, Scotty Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Steve Kerr, and Tony Kukoc come to mind. Of course, there was a tribal leader. But the Bulls had more than a leader, they had a tribe. The Chicago Bulls locked into Stage 4 culture to such an extent that they dipped into Stage 5 and made history—they won six NBA championships between 1991 and 1998 with two three-peats. In 1995, they won 72 games while only losing 10.
On the flipside, as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, Phil never experienced Stage 5 tribal culture. He did have moments of Stage 4 culture but mostly spent time in Stage 3. During a few of their championship runs, the Lakers were a solid Stage 4 slipstream. The focus was on crushing everyone else. However, for most of Phil Jackson’s time, the Lakers were a Stage 3 slipstream. Kobe Bryant and the other members of the Lakers team were in far too much competition among themselves to beat the Stage 4 teams.
In order to find and enter Stage 4 or even Stage 5 slipstreams, we need to be patient and selective. If we leap at every opportunity that comes our way, we are most likely going to end up in a Stage 3 slipstream, moving at the same speed as the milieu. Greg McKeown calls this type of selectivity essentialism. Essentialists are people who make fewer decisions, but take the time to contemplate those decisions. By doing so they make fewer, better choices.
Most of us struggle to embrace the essentialist lifestyle—we make more, poor choices than essentialists. In order to enter a slipstream that will take you to your desired destination, become an essentialist—take the time now to pause, discern, and make the best choice. This process, what McKeown calls the “disciplined pursuit of less,” requires that you move slower or more deliberately towards your goal in the beginning; however, it will jettison you further and faster towards your end goal.
“Cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated.”
—Doctrine and Covenants 88:124
The morning ritual is among the most notable tools for time dilation. Robin Sharma, one of the world’s leading experts on motivation and high productivity, gives credit to his morning ritual for the amount of work he gets done each day. Sharma wakes up every day at five a.m. and does what he calls the 20/20/20. From 5:00-5:20, he exercises to get his body and blood flowing. From 5:20-5:40, he looks over his long and short term goals to provide context and motivation for his day. From 5:40-6:00, he learns via reading and other sources to grow as a person and to be inspired.
Sharma talks about how this morning routine puts him in a mental and physical state that allows him to achieve more in one day than most people achieve in several months.
At this point, Sharma, has enough money stowed away, and enough passive income to never work another day in his life. Yet, he continues to do what he does at an extremely high level of productivity because he loves what he does. For him, time has slowed down due to the rapid speed he is traveling. He gets to spend every waking moment doing exactly what he wants to do. This is true, in part, because of, not in spite of his regimented morning ritual.
During the morning routine, the first hour or two of every day should be like clockwork—consistent. There is no deviation. Reproducible to the tee.
Having a structured routine is about setting the pace for your day, but it is also about reducing decision fatigue. Psychologists have found that the more decisions a person makes, the less power they have to make later decisions.
This explains why many of the world’s most successful people reduce the amount of decisions they have to make each day. For instance, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs are notorious for wearing the same shirt every day. Jobs once mentioning that he had 30 of the same black turtleneck shirt that he wears every day. Zuckerberg talks about how he wears the same shirt every day because he wants to conserve his decision making abilities to help other people. Spending any energy on such a trivial matter as what you will wear that day is ineffective resource management.
From my own day to day experience, when I wake up earlier I have a completely different mindset than when I sleep-in. If I sleep past 7 a.m., my day feels shot. When I sleep-in, I know how differently my day could have been had I woken early and gotten to work. Waking up early and immediately working on the priorities that matter most is a way to dilate time. First, there are more hours in your day, second, there are more days in your hours. In other words, there is a spiritual law involved with waking up early that allows those who obey this law to accomplish as much in hours as most people do in days.
The morning ritual also sets your day on the course of your choosing. Avoid checking email or answering the phone during the first few hours of your day—that time is sacred. Checking your email is simply a database of other people’s agendas. Thus, by checking your email at the beginning of the day, you have already set a pattern that your day is not going to be designed by you, but someone else.
Delegation has two purposes: improving quality or saving time. We delegate tasks to people who are more available than us, and to people who can do certain tasks better than us. The more important aspect of delegation is what we can do with the time we would have spent doing whatever it is we delegated.
If you were to delegate mowing your lawn or editing your book, for example, you could put all that time into what you do well—your specialization. Thus, the goal of delegation is to leverage the time and skills of other people so that you can focus on your craft.
Dan Sullivan, founder of Strategic Coach, explains that he no longer does anything he doesn’t want to do. He has positioned a team around himself of gifted people who fill the gaps created by his weaknesses. Consequently, Dan focuses on his craft, which is to come up with the ideas, and he then has his team make those ideas into a reality.
Dan has mentioned that he used to try very hard to manage the whole process and what he found was frustration, wasted time, and lack of quality. “I just don’t go there anymore,” he has said in an interview. Neither should we. There are far too many people out there who are more available and more capable at certain tasks than we are. All we have to do is build a team around ourselves and learn the art of delegation.
There are multiple websites that allow a person to leverage other people’s time and skills. Outsourcing is extremely easy, fast, and cheap.
What do you want to accomplish?
If you want to write a book, all you need to do is audio record yourself thought-dumping all of your ideas. The ideas don’t even need to be clean and organized. Just get them all recorded. Send the recording and ask for specific outcomes you want to be done. You can say, “I want all these ideas put into a cohesive, well written book. I want it to be done in two weeks.”
Two weeks later, and for minimal cost, you will have your ideas transformed into a professional manuscript. You have effectively outsourced your work and leveraged other people’s skills and time.
Leveraging other people’s time, skills, and money is essential for getting where you want to go faster. You simply don’t have the time to do it all. Furthermore, other people are willing to do it for you. Other people can be your wormholes. If you have a message to share and don’t have platform, you need to leverage someone else’s.
If you don’t have money but have a brilliant idea, you can get on crowdfunding and crowdsourcing websites and leverage other people’s money, time, and skills. This is one of the fastest ways to get to your desired locations and thus slow time.
“If you ever find a man who is better than you are – hire him. If necessary, pay him more than you would pay yourself…
If you always hire people who are smaller than you, we shall become a company of dwarfs. If, on the other hand, you always hire people who are bigger than you, we shall become a company of giants.”
You could spend your entire life attempting to strengthen your own weaknesses, which happen to be other people’s talents. Or, you could delegate and outsource those things that are not your strong suite to others who can do a better and faster job; thus allowing you to pursue the gifts and talents God has given you.
The goal is to become like Dan Sullivan and Henry Ford. We should build a team around us of talented and capable people. On one occasion, Henry Ford was being harassed and accused by a certain lawyer for not being intelligent. Finally, Mr. Ford became tired of this line of questioning, and in reply to a particularly offensive question, he leaned over, pointed his finger at the lawyer who had asked the question, and said:
“If I should really want to answer the foolish question you have just asked, or any of the other questions you have been asking me, let me remind you that I have a row of electric push-buttons on my desk, and by pushing the right button, I can summon to my aid men who can answer any question I desire to ask concerning the business to which I am devoting most of my efforts. Now, will you kindly tell me, WHY I should clutter up my mind with general knowledge, for the purpose of being able to answer questions, when I have men around me who can supply any knowledge I require?”
Henry Ford is the very essence of Stage 4 Tribal Leadership. A tribe at Stage 4 focuses on specialization of each individual. Each person has unique knowledge, skills, and abilities they bring to the table. The group works as a unit toward its goals.
Conversely, Stage 3 tribes are comprised of individuals who attempt to do it all by themselves because these individuals are only focused on their own progression, rather than the progression of the tribe. Thus, Stage 3 tribal members haphazardly generalize in everything and in turn, fail to truly narrow their course to the extent required in Stage 4.
Peter Diamandis dreamed as a child of technology progressing to such a point that the common middle-class individual could have the opportunity of going into outer space: space tourism. Now, his mission is to open the space frontier. To Diamandis’ dismay, the innovation and excitement fueling humanity to explore space has waned incredibly, dissipating soon after the race to the moon between the U.S. and Russia was won. Consequently, he has made it his mission to instill new excitement for space travel and exploration.
Diamandis simultaneously has the goal of creating a state of global abundance in the world, where everyone has baseline needs met in terms of:
Needless to say, Diamandis is listed among the champions of the world, taking humanity into a brighter future with bigger and better possibilities.
Diamandis has explained that in today’s globally connected economy, every individual now has the potential to do what only governments and large corporations could do in the past. Every person has the tools and ability to address the world’s biggest problems and achieve billion-dollar ambitions. The world’s biggest companies and governments aren’t the ones who are changing the world today; rather, it is the person next door, working out of his garage. Today, ordinary people are making world-altering impacts and continually disrupting the status-quo.
Diamandis explains that we’ve evolved as a species within a local and linear paradigm. Hundreds of thousands of years ago, the world was local and linear. Humans were hunter gatherers, with limited goals, living in limited space. Consequently, our brains have evolved to think locally and linearly. However, today’s world is global and exponential. For instance, a person in the United States can know within seconds something that occurred in China. A YouTube video can go from 10 views to a million in a few minutes. Sequential and orderly change is a thing of the past.
Linear change is sequential, whereas exponential change grows non-linearly. Unfortunately, we are local and linear thinkers in a global and exponential world, which Diamandis explains causes enormous challenges. Corporations and governments work locally and linearly while the world is “exploding” in an exponential way. Diamandis explains that this explosion of exponential technologies is causing disruptive stress to some and disruptive opportunities to others: the small and adaptive entrepreneur.
For instance, large corporations and systems work linearly and when a change in technology occurs, they have a challenging time adapting and staying at the cutting edge. The big corporations and organizations are like the dinosaurs that were too slow to evolve and consequently became extinct. A meteor crashing into earth billions of years ago is what led to changes in the atmosphere that the dinosaurs could not adapt to. Diamandis explains that the meteor that has crashed into the world recently, within the past 15 years, is exponential technologies.
It is the smaller organizations and the individuals, Diamandis explains, that have the flexibility to adapt to and utilize the latest technologies. Thus, an individual can now “leap-frog” passed companies that have been around for a hundred years due to the disruptive opportunities available. An example Diamandis gives of this leap-frogging business is the company Kodak which specialized in film and photography. In 1996, Kodak was worth 28 billion dollars and had 140,000 employees. In 2012 it went bankrupt during the same year Instagram, a company of 13 employees, was acquired by Facebook for one billion dollars.
Diamandis and Dan Sullivan of Strategic Coach are trying to help people learn how to think exponentially and use exponential technologies so they can become Instagram and not Kodak. Indeed, far too many people continue to think linearly and think that business works linearly, as Kodak did. The stark truth is that we live in a non-linear and exponential world where more and more Instagrams will pop-up out of nowhere. We have entered the age of the entrepreneur where high-school students are as capable as any big corporation.
Sadly, the majority of the world is continuing to be trained in the Industrial model based on local and linear thinking. The public school system is among the primary culprits. The very system itself is organized in a linear manner. Children move from first grade, to second grade, to third grade, and so on. Moreover, children are being taught to be Kodak—or rather, to become a factory worker at Kodak. When will children be taught that they could skip a few grades, or a few decades by thinking non-linearly? When will children be taught that they can change the world now?
Perhaps the most useful work Diamandis has done is his six D’s framework for exponential technology. You can watch a YouTube video of Peter explaining this model in detail. For the purposes of this book, I will briefly cover all six.
Technology is digitizing almost everything now. When a new technology is born, even if it is growing at an exponential rate, it is deceptive at first because people don’t know about it. Furthermore, exponential growth, at the early stages can be so small it seems invisible. However, because exponential growth is like time-folding, a repeated doubling, eventually it will move from deceptive, or unseen, to disruptive. Ultimately, it will grow so large and continue doubling that growth will be uncontrollable and explosive.
Regarding dematerialization, Diamandis explains that as a society, we used to own several things physically that we now own in the form of smart-phone apps. For instance, we used to own a CD player, a watch, a camera, a video camera, a computer, a calendar, a GPS, a VCR, a TV, libraries of books and music, etc. Now all these things have become digitized and dematerialized. These and many more things are now included free with every smart-phone, including connection to the worldwide web.
Not only can physical items become dematerialized, but entire industries. For instance, the movie rental industry was dematerialized by Redbox which was dematerialized by Netflix. Physical encyclopedias have been dematerialized by Wikipedia. We no longer go to the store to buy physical CD’s because the music industry has become digitized and dematerialized. Education is becoming dematerialized and college courses are being offered online. Everything is becoming digitized.
The next step in this exponential progression is demonetization. Many industries are becoming demonetized, which means the power is being given to the individual rather than corporations. Examples Diamandis gives of demonetization are Google replacing research libraries, Skype replacing long-distance phone calling, iTunes replacing record stores, eBay and Amazon replacing local stores. Many other industries are becoming “free-ware” and thus demonetized every day.
When things become dematerialized and demonetized, they literally becoming democratized. Thus, they become available and accessible to the masses. Due to exponential democratization, people in little African villages have access to cameras, digital music players and the internet all through their smart-phones.
Thank you Peter Diamandis for your wisdom!
According to Gallup, only 13% of people are engaged, passionate, and happy about their jobs. About 63% are “not engaged” and 24% are unhappy.
What are so many unhappy people looking for?
The next raise?
A better boss?
To become the boss?
The grass is always greener on the other side.
“I’ll work harder when I get that raise.”
“When I learn the skills, I’ll start helping people.”
“When I have the time and money I’ll finally do what I love.”
Stewardship is making the most out of what you already have. Rather than hoping for more, stewardship is reflective of gratitude and ownership. The best stewards take what they have and make it better. These people are ready for more because they have fully embraced all they have been given.
Far too many people fail to utilize their current slipstream. They are like cyclists in the peloton just riding in the draft-space of those in the front, merely being pulled along. Until current circumstances and opportunities are exhausted, the goal shouldn’t be more, the goal should be responsibility. The steward often finds that the slipstream to abundance is the one they are already in. We all have invisible doors in our direct proximity that will transport us decades into our best futures.
The majority of humanity is stuck in a vacuum of time that continues to accelerate at an increasing speed. These people need to be freed from their slavery to time and empowered to consciously slow their time and expand their lives. Most people feel powerless. They simply can’t fathom having enough time. Life becomes a drag—something to just get through. Everybody is working for the weekend—the rest of the week isn’t worth living.
The slipstreams we enter should slow our own time and simultaneously slow the time of as many people as possible. We can accomplish this by entering slipstreams that are global and exponential rather than local and linear.
By organizing our own lives in such a way that time dramatically slows down, and utilizing exponential technologies, we can drastically slow time for hundreds, thousands, and potentially millions of lives. By slowing the lives of other people, we extend our own time. The people that have moved the needle of humanity live on forever. The time they have expanded for others is their contribution to humanity—their footprint on evolution.
A global slowing of time will speed our course to actualization and utopia. Humanity is showing potential of being a universal species. In the past 60 years, we’ve left this planet and have expanded our understanding of the universe we live in. If we can move past a global Stage 3 culture of competing against each other, and create a global Stage 4 slipstream, we will enhance our progression toward perfection. Indeed, crime and other negative energies that slow progress and thus speed time will need to cease if humanity is to eclipse a new stage of evolution.
A primary goal of this book is to foster a focus of humanity to move beyond Stage 3 to Stage 4 culture. We are a small population on a pale blue dot in a galaxy that is one of millions. Most of our issues are transient and distractive. We must move beyond our petty disagreements and form a human tribe that acts in unity towards the evolution of the whole.
The human race was born to transcend space-time. We can only accomplish this at a Stage 4 (and 5) slipstream. The goal is for humanity to eventually learn to move at the speed of light where time no longer exists thus ushering in eternal life.
God and Time
I always thought the path to success was one of refinement. What I’ve learned is that refinement is only perceived from the outside. Others may think you have everything “all figured out.” Yet, on the inside, you feel like an imposter, a fraud.
My life used to be far simpler than it is now. It was easy to crush college, have an amazing workout routine, and maintain quality relationships—to have a generally refined life. Then I started really trying to do the work I have been procrastinating for years. Once I started trying to live my dreams, my life became a chaotic mess.
If you want to live a conforming life, you can probably do it in a refined manner. However, once you step outside your own boundaries and try to live higher, you will likely fall flat on your face. Failure is the only way to success; and failure hurts. It is humiliating. It is enlivening. And it really hurts. As someone who is generally even-tempered, I’ve experienced more highs and lows in the past year than I have my entire life. Living your dreams really is a roller-coaster.
You will fall on your face daily because you will be attempting things you’ve never done before. You will be learning things you’ve never learned before. Sure, you may have researched your dreams. You may have created elaborate and intricate plans; but until you start doing the work every single day, you have no idea what is actually involved. Nothing works out exactly how you mapped it in your mind.
Obviously, time hacking is not an exact science. Indeed, it is quite speculative. It is built on visions, hopes, and dreams—idealism. It cannot be quantified or empirically measured. It is as subjective as it gets. As William Shakespeare has written, “To thine own self be true.” “Do what is right, let the consequence follow.” These words, in addition to Shakespeare’s, are what Greg McKeown’s father told him as he contemplated leaving law school. The spirit of that message gave him the courage to step out of society’s agenda and into his own. Life is filled with an almost infinite wealth of hard decisions. You are bound to fumble along time way. But as you boldly make your decisions, although the course may be rough, you will fly. You will arrive at your desired destinations far quicker than you imagine. People around you will wonder what your secret is. Your secret is, you are being you.
It may require a complete life change; but in so doing, you will flourish. One thing is certain, life rewards those who act—the hustlers; not the wishers. Those who act will be smashed and pounded by life. But this is happiness. This is growth. It requires pain and sacrifice. However, the pain, discomfort, failure, and all else, is far better than sitting on the side-lines wondering what could have been.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
“I came to this world with nothing
And I leave with nothing but love
Everything else is just borrowed”
—The Streets Lyrics “Borrowed”
When the end of life comes, we leave with nothing but our relationships. These relationships reflect our truest self—character. Our experience in life and eternity, whether heaven or hell, is our experience with others—our relationships. Yes, hell is people. Heaven is people. What do your relationships look like? Our relationships with God and other people are a reflection of our true distance traveled as a person. Moreover, our relationships mirror how fast or slow time will go. Happiness is heaven, and heaven is timeless.
I often wonder what motivates people to chase the material things of life.
What is the lasting value?
Why must we consume and horde?
Where do corporate ladders lead?
“We buy things we don’t need to impress people we don’t like.”
“Some who laboriously scale the secular heights find, after all, that they are only squatting atop a small mound of sand! They have worked so hard to get there!”
—Neal A. Maxwell
There is peace in realizing you don’t need to be rich, famous, or prestigious to be happy. Of course those achievements are not inherently bad. Actually, they can be quite useful in the right hands. Like the effects of money, an increase in these things simply enlarge someone’s true character. More money makes good people better and bad people worse. However, if these pursuits are mistaken for the core of our character, our time will pass rather quickly. Yet far too often, people mistake the means with the ends. In such cases, we may wake up one day and ask ourselves, “Where did my life go?” “What was the purpose of all this?” “Who am I?”
The world is screaming at you to, “go, go, go!” To the naked eye, this book may seem similar. However, my goal is to help you slow down and move further. You can’t do that in a frantic race from one activity to the next. You can’t slow your time by being busy. You can only slow your time by being present, living a life of congruence, and by choosing to relate on a trusting and vulnerable level with those you love.
For these reasons, we can’t judge others based on external circumstances. We often assume those with minimal worldly possessions or accolades are living below their potential. However, they may often be those people most aligned with light, and thus, most connected to eternity and disconnected from time.
External factors are not an accurate indicator of how far we’ve traveled as a person. The truest form of movement is the change that happens within us—in who we become. Our character, more than anything we’ve accomplished or acquired, will determine how far we travel in this life and the next; and will also determine how slow (and enjoyable) our time is here and there.
“Righteous character is more valuable than any material object you own, any knowledge you have gained through study, or any goals you have attained no matter how well lauded by mankind.”
—Richard G. Scott
Most of those who will read this book know I believe in God. All my writings and thoughts filter through my faith. As I’ve written, my most cherished studies and revelations are those concerning the difference between God’s time and ours.
“But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”
—2 Peter 3:8
From our perspective, light moves 186,282 miles per second. When we look out into the night sky at distant stars, we are looking into the past. We are looking at light that may have taken millennia to reach our eyes. However, to those light particles, the movement was instantaneous.
To light, all time becomes a single instant and all space contracts to a single point. Although this is hard to fathom, from a spiritual perspective, it helps me more fully comprehend God. After all, He is The Light. Everything is present before Him. Moreover, everything is close in proximity to Him. From our perspective, we may feel distant from God; from His perspective, He is always beside us. From our perspective, God’s timing in our lives may feel unbearably long; from His perspective, every prayer is answers and every blessing bestowed instantaneously.
Life is incredibly short. Our time is a gift for our benefit. But to God, everything is now. God’s ways are not our ways. He thinks and acts on a higher plane than we do. I take comfort in this.
My belief is that every person can become intimately connected with Light, who is also Truth. Often we imagine truth, and even light, to be something abstractly beyond or outside of us. We imagine the governing laws of nature, like gravity, as ultimate “truth.” We fail to realize that everything is essentially made of light—the framework of existence. The ultimate source of light and truth, to me, is a person. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” (John 14: 6).
We come to know truth in the form of a relationship; not by reading books and gaining knowledge. Books and knowledge help, but are not sufficient. As I’ve come to know God through faith, my perspective of time has changed. Paradoxically, time has become less real while simultaneously more important. In other words, I see time as temporary; yet how we use our time determines everything. The most important use of time is coming to know God.
Through my relationship with God, I’ve come to believe that anything is possible—a limitless existence. If time is not a hindrance to God, it doesn’t need to be for me. I don’t need to play by the mainstream rules of time. If something needs to get done, a miracle, or wormhole, can happen. I’ve come to believe miracles are commonplace. They are needed to advance the human race; to undergo permanent change from time into infinity.
My beliefs in God don’t stymie my passion for science. Both align beautifully to me. The study of time has made me more fully realize how far humanity has come, while at the same time increase my awe for the glory of God.
“If we maintain the open-mindedness of children, we challenge fixed ideas and established structures, including our own. We listen to people in other denominations and religions. We don’t find demons in those with whom we disagree. We don’t cozy up to people who mouth our jargon. If we are open, we rarely resort to either-or: either creation or evolution, liberty or law, sacred or secular, Beethoven or Madonna. We focus on both-and, fully aware that God’s truth cannot be imprisoned in a small definition.”
A Few Things I’ve Learned About Time Hacking
Make Success A Must
Bucket List > Goals
Enhanced Consciousness and Triggers
I wrote the first draft of this book in December of 2014. I launched the Kickstarter for this book in February of 2015, and had the paperback copies printed two months later. Since shipping out all the paperback copies to my Kickstarter backers in April, I haven’t thought much about the content in this book. Don’t get me wrong, the content lives and breathes inside me. But I put the ideas “on the shelf” so to speak, in order to focus on different pursuits.
That same month, April 2015, I decided to take my blogging career seriously. In the publishing world, you can’t really pitch yourself to editors and publishers anymore. It’s a futile pursuit. Instead, you need to build your own audience via a blog or writing at other outlets. Then, once you’ve written something great, or built a sizable audience, an editor and/or publisher will come to you. They are the gatekeepers. But, the author has the power to reach them by creating content that can’t be ignored.
So I wrote around 10 articles on my website and actually posted them to my Facebook friends. They weren’t that great. But I was committed to taking my blogging career to the next level, and failure and even embarrassment was just part of the process.
My ultimate goal in all of this was to get Slipstream Time Hacking published with a traditional publisher. I started looking for different coaching programs. The best bet I could think of were literary agents. After all, they knew the publishing world in and out. I talked to a few literary agents on the phone about possibly starting a six week coaching program. The ultimate goal was to help me learn how to write a solid query letter, connect with an editor who loved the manuscript, come up with a marketing campaign, and begin building my online platform.
However, after talking to multiple literary agents who offered coaching, I struggled to find one who resonated with me. One particular conversation sticks out. I told the woman offering the coaching that I wanted fast results. I wanted to have over five thousand blog subscribers, and to have editors and publishers to take me seriously by the end of the year.
She told me that was impossible.
She herself had five thousand subscribers which had taken her several years to build. She also recommended the lowest grade of customer contact and automated email marketing software available. It dawned on me that these coaches had a different belief system than I did. After all, I had just written a book about jumping through wormholes and finding the fastest way. Yet, these coaches didn’t seem to offer programs that could get me where I wanted to go fast enough. To me, they were living by constraining rules and notions I no longer dealt with. Hence the quote: never take advice from someone you wouldn’t want to switch places with.
So I continued my search for the best possible path to get where I wanted to go. At the end of May, I purchased an online course created by Jon Morrow about guest blogging. Admittedly, I only got through the first three modules before I started pitching articles to various outlets. Within two weeks, I had four articles published at three different personal development websites. I was starting to write with a rage and passion to get more and more published. I wrote six articles for a website called Lifehack.org in two or three days, which over the next two months would be published.
In mid-June, I wrote an article for a competition put on by Jon Morrow. If the article was good enough, Jon would send a link of the article to everyone in his email list of over 100,000 people. So, I wrote an article about my morning routine; and, instead of publishing it as a guest post, I decided to put it on my own blog. I also published the same article at Medium.com, which is an open platform for writers to share their writing and get feedback from other writers. Medium is similar to Facebook in that everyone has their own profile, and there is a newsfeed of articles being published.
I didn’t think twice about my morning routine article on Medium and continued writing with a furious rage, pitching articles to multiple websites. A few days after publishing the article at Medium, I got an email from an editor at Business Insider asking if they could feature my article. I was shocked! Heck yes you can!
A few hours later, and editor from Huffington Post asked if they could feature my article as well. Not only would they publish it, but I could have my own HuffPost blog that I could publish on whenever I wanted. Wow!
That same day, another editor from New York Observer asked if they could also feature the article. Yes, of course you can. Within a few days of being published on the Observer, a high end editor contacted me and said they were going to pay me $2,000 because the article generated so much traffic. He said he would be my personal editor, and that I could pitch him articles whenever I wanted.
Throughout all this madness, 3,500 hundred people subscribed to my blog. One month after talking to the “coach” who said such a task was impossible. Not only did I have 3,500 blog subscribers, I had my own HuffPost blog and Observer editor.
I don’t say any of this to brag. I share this story to open your eyes. Wormholes are real. I fell through one that took my writing career 2-3 years into my own future. Maybe even more. After all, that article on my morning routine was read by well over 15 million people. It was a fluke. A crazy wormhole fluke. But I believe in those things and they happen. It’s brilliant. All this happened (and much more) since writing this book.
I’ve learned a few things about slowing time since I originally wrote this book. I’ve decided to put them in this appendix rather than tampering with the original manuscript. Although far from perfect, I like the idea of keeping the book original.
Slowing time is all about living presently, creating memories, and spending as much time as possible on the things that truly matter. This obviously includes removing everything from your life that speed time up. These distractions include: people who hold you back, social norms and expectations, fear, and traditional approaches. I’m trying my best to remove anything in my life that speeds time. I recently quit my job and have opened up mass amounts of time for writing. Although it’s scary trying to provide for my family as a writer, the added pressure challenges me to succeed.
And that is the first new strategy I’ve employed for radically slowing time. Take bigger leaps. Yes, quit your job if it’s holding you back. Put yourself in a position where failure can’t be an option. In order to do that, you have to have something that truly moves and motivates you. My beautiful wife and children mean the world to me. I can’t let them down. They mean way too much. The stakes are too high. Consequently, I need to perform. I need to improve. I can’t allow myself to be distracted. I need to work, to launch products, and to produce.
It’s only been one month since I quit my job and I’ve already created and launched an online course teaching people how they can become successful entrepreneurs fast. The course only took like a week to create. And it’s something I’ve procrastinated doing for over a year.
When I realized how easy it was to make the course, I felt inspired to make more. I’m in the process now of making my second online course teaching people how I built a subscriber list of 3,500 people in 30 days. Creativity begets creativity. Momentum generates more momentum.
When you see yourself succeed, you develop more confidence in your ability to succeed at bigger and bigger things. This is how motivation works. When you set a goal, a gap is created between where you currently stand and where you want to be (i.e., you goal). That gap flips on a psychological switch called self-regulation, which is our way of evaluating how we are doing compared to our goal. If we are not performing in a way we believe is required to achieve our goal, we reallocate our motivational resources toward that goal. Thus, we can get a huge surge of motivation!
In order for this self-regulatory process to work, we need to be clear on what our goal is. Where do you really want to be? Can you clearly define it? Can you envision it? Does that vision truly motivate you? Is it what you really want?
If so, then the motivation needed to get there will come. Your behavior will change. And you’ll build rapid momentum.
Bucket Lists are more fun than goals. They’re more fun to talk about. They’re more fun to think about and visualize. And you want the experience of mental creation to be fun. You want it to be compelling and exciting. It’s got to be an emotional experience you resonate with if you want to tap the deepest wells of motivation.
Lately, all my goals have been in the form of a bucket list. Rather than trying to publish 5 articles in the next week, my goal is to get published on the Tim Ferriss blog, or on Forbes or Fast Company in the next few months. Naturally, in order to get onto one of those platforms, I need to be writing a lot. But the goal itself is more exciting than just writing articles. It’s the equivalent of saying “I want to be on American Ninja Warrior” as opposed to “I want to get ripped.” Of course, in order to get onto American Ninja Warrior, you need to be ripped. So you kill both birds with one stone. But one is also a lot more fun and exciting.
How could you change your current goals into a bucket list?
What is it you really want to do this year?
Or, what is it you really want to do in your entire life?
When you make a list of things that must happen before you die, you quickly realize that many (often most) of the things you spend your time on won’t get you there. Bucket lists make sense. Goals are often far too narrow-sighted and out-of-context. Your bucket list can be the context of your life. What really matters? What do you really want your legacy to be? What experiences do you really want to happen?
Once you have your bucket list written down: start.
Start living right now to get them done as soon as possible. The journey will become the destination. The very act of moving toward big things that are personally meaningful makes your life worth living. How cool would it be to be training for American Ninja Warrior or saving for your African Safari trip?
Put deadlines on your bucket list. Make them happen. Make them real. Buy that plane ticket. Sign up for that race. Ask that girl on a date. Pitch that article to the big publisher.
And keep going.
It’s so much fun.
Slowing time is really about increasing consciousness (i.e., flow). A seasoned fighter can notice far more of the nuances of the fight than a person fighting for the first time. The newbie’s emotions are all out of whack, their brain is racing a million miles per hour, and they have no clue what’s going on. Everything is a blur.
Conversely, the seasoned fighter is calm and collected. He notices the subtleties like the other person’s eye movements and breathing patterns. Thus, he is seeing in more frames than the other person. He is going several layers deeper into the moment and thus slowing time radically. When watching the recording of the fight after it’s over, his contestant’s punches look like bullets. But during the fight, they were moving as slowly as clouds.
You can create triggers that facilitate flow. For example, in the mornings before we take our kids to school, we read scriptures. Before reading, I turn on a song called, Scripture Power, which the kids love singing. The moment they hear the song, it triggers an emotional response. It changes how we all feel about what we’re about to do (read scriptures). It immediately puts us in the zone for that activity. We all get excited and the overall experience is more meaningful and of higher quality.
I’ve developed a trigger to create flow when I’m about to write. I open my journal, write about my goals, kneel down and offer a prayer, grab a drink of water, and do some quick pacing. Then I jump into my writing and am pumped up. This little routine has become a trigger for me. I’ve done it so much that now, just opening my journal clicks my brain into writing mode.
What activities trigger your finest performance?
What things trigger happiness in you?
What things put you in a mental place where you are completely present?
I’ve had people ask me if taking on three foster kids has caused me to rethink the ideas in this book. People assume now that I have kids, that I have far less time to pursue my goals and “slow time.” Indeed, now that I have kids, time must be flying, right? For me, this has not been the experience because being with my kids is one of the ways I slow my time. Being with these kids is that important to me. It’s far more important than most things in the world. I don’t see it as a sacrifice to things I’d rather be doing.
Traveling great distances doesn’t have to be economic. It is getting where you personally want to be. For me, connecting deeply with my family is where I want to be. I want to connect deeper and have meaningful experiences with them that we never forget.
I believe with all my heart that the power is in you to create the life you truly want to live. You can get there much faster than you think. The universe will conspire to help you get where you want to be. You must believe it is possible. Not kind of believe or sort of believe. But totally believe. Then, you can deploy the strategies in this book to get there as quickly as possible.
Please don’t get lost in your pursuits and becoming a human-doing. Many people spend their entire lives moving forward but never stop to see the scenery. The goal is to be present while simultaneously moving in a desired direction. Take it all in. Be open to inspiration. Be open to having your path slightly reshaped. Trust your instincts. Trust that voice inside you moving you forward. Be true.
Whether you loved, liked, or hated this book, please add a review wherever you downloaded it from! Thank you! Also, if you have not done so, please subscribe to my blog at www.benjaminhardy.com. I give away free eBooks from time-to-time, share useful ideas, and keep you posted on the most impactful articles I’ve recently written.
Covey, Stephen. (1989). The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Free Press.
Burchard, Brendon. (2014). The Motivation Manifesto. Hay House.
Wikipedia: Slipstream (Science Fiction)
Wikipedia: Slipstream (Cycling)
Youtube: Stephen R. Covey—80th birthday party.
McKay, David, O. (2005). Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Student Study Guide.
Quantum Leap definition: dictionary.com.
Utchdorf, Dieter. Of Things Which Matter Most. October 2010 General Conference.
Burchard, Brendon. (2014). The Motivation Manifesto. Hay House.
Utchdorf, Dieter. The Matter of a Few Degrees. April 2008 General Conference.
Hsieh, Tony. (2010). Delivering Happiness.
Diamandis, Peter. (2015). BOLD. Simon & Schuster.
What is “Slipstream”?
Welcome to Your Future
Chapter 1: A More Accurate Measure of Time
A More Accurate Description of Time: Distance Traveled
How Will You Measure Your Life?
I Know What You’re Thinking…
Chapter 2: Our Understanding of Time
How Many Lives Will You Live?
Chapter 3: Is Your Time Fast or Slow?
Living Congruently: Tim Ferriss and Bill Gates
The Retirement Mentality
You’re Already Dead
Time Flies When You’re Having Fun
Chapter 4: Slowing Time and Living More
Passion Slows Time
The Gift of Time
Happiness is Now
Chapter 5: Time Hacking
Slipstream: Bridging the Gap between the Speculative and the Experienced
Slipstreaming and Opportunity Cost
No Silver Bullet
Time Hacking: Slipstreams and Wormholes
Entering the New Normal
Being an Old Man in a Young Man’s Body
Time Folding and Living Forever
A New Definition of Currency
Our Obsession with Freedom
Throwing Yourself into the Fire
You Can’t Force It
The Four Stages of Time Hackers
Where Do You Want to Go?
Chapter 6: The Fastest Way
What Destination are You Working Toward?
Good < Better < Best
Anything is Possible
The Need to Choose
The Need to Narrow
An Honest Look in the Mirror
A Matter of a Few Degrees
The Point of No Return
The Three Stages of Commitment
100% is Easier than 98%
Why is it Difficult to Enter Slipstreams and Wormholes?
Chapter 7: The Opposition to Time Travel
The Body of Humanity
Preparing for my First Slipstream
Tactics for Entering Slipstreams and Falling Through Wormholes
Chapter 8: Creating Our New World
Steve Jobs and the Invisible Door
Thinking Big = Thinking Far Out
Leverage and Outsourcing
Peter Diamandis: BOLD
Stewardship: Doing More with Less
Setting Others Free
Welcome To The Future
Chapter 9: Light, Time, and God
God and Time
Appendix: Some Thoughts 9 Months Later
A Few Things I’ve Learned About Time Hacking
Make Success A Must
Bucket List > Goals
Enhanced Consciousness and Triggers
Time is the number one currency of life. Time is the new money. People want it more than anything else. As you read SLIPSTREAM TIME HACKING and apply the principles contained therein, you will learn to: 1. Quickly design the life of your choosing 2. Add decades of quality time to your life 3. Achieve bigger goals than you can presently conceive 4. Command time rather than the other way around This book will provide you a mind-bending and soul-expanding experience like no other self-improvement book you’ve ever read. The goal is to radically alter your entire perception of reality and what’s possible. Take control of your time – take control of your life. Our time should be of utmost quality and memorable. As you read these pages, you will see in a very real way, that most people spend only a few minutes living every 24 hours. Most people’s time is on fast-forward to their deathbed. This may be you right now. The goal is to get where you want to be—your ideal life—quickly so you can live there as long as possible. You can live thousands of years’ worth of life in a single life-time by understanding the principles in this book. SLIPSTREAM TIME HACKING will challenge you to answer these questions: 1. Ideally, how would you spend your time? 2. What activities, if you could spend the majority of your time doing, would be most impactful? 3. What activities would be most meaningful and important? 4. What lifestyle resonates with your firmest convictions? 5. Take action Read SLIPSTREAM TIME HACKING and live the life you always wanted to live right now.