Let me tell you a quick story about a concept that recently dawned on me… and what you can learn from it.
Some of us (maybe you) have always wondered why it seems that time goes by faster as we get older — while time goes by much slower, at least that’s how it seems, in (relative) youth.
Is this true, or just a mental illusion? Or is it revisionist history, our own minds seeing the past as better and more enjoyable than it actually was?
This brings us to a concept that I recently heard explained for the first time, called an “event horizon.”
If you google the definition, an event horizon refers to some astronomy-based phenomenon that I couldn’t explain to you. The way I heard it, though, the definition was different: it’s an experience that, because of its uniqueness and significance to your life, leaves a mark on your memory — thus, the time spent in such an event “takes up space” in your mind; the time goes by slower.
Now, compare event horizons to routine activities that you do every day.
The human brain, master of efficiency that it is, is wired to notice only what’s important and necessary for our survival, and delete everything else. If we sensed and noticed everything happening around us, we’d never be able to focus on anything.
What this means, and what it has to do with age: as we grow older, our lives fall more and more into routine, doing the same stuff every day. Since these repeatable activities have already been seen and registered by our brains in the past, every subsequent repeat gets deleted by our memory: it happened, but it doesn’t feel like it happened.
This is the I-drove-to-work-but-don’t-remember-driving phenomenon. If you’re over are 25, I’m sure it’s happened to you. Now — QUICK — recall your first time driving, when you were just learning.
Easy to remember the first time, because it was an event horizon.
It was a memorable, unique experience that didn’t blend in with anything else you’d ever done. So, the time spent doing it “takes up space” in your memory as a period of time.
Kids are continually experiencing event horizons; everything is new to them. Their 24 hours is a real 24 hours. Grown-ups are boring, have routines, and do the same stuff every day. Grown-up 24 hour days do happen — but they don’t feel like it because nothing about it is new to us.
The 45-minute early-morning run I went on 4 days ago? I don’t recall even one minute of it, because I do it all the time. Same route, same warm-up, same empty streets. I can guarantee you that it happened, but to my memory, that hour never occurred. The 45 minute run claims zero minutes in my memory because of the routine I was in.
Compare that forgotten run to the 10K race I ran in 2018, finishing third in my age group and winning a medal because of it. It was the same distance that I just ran last week; I warmed up the same way and listened to the same playlist on the run.
But the fact that it was a live competition marks time in my mind. I recall the songs I played down the stretch of the run, and could name a couple friends of mine I saw on the course who were watching the race.
I could even tell you what I wore that day and where in Miami Beach I parked my car. That was nearly two years ago. And I couldn’t tell you anything about my run from 4 days ago.
Routines = time going by fast. Nothing to remember; you’ve seen it all before.
Event horizons = memorable experiences that mark and take up time in the subconscious. Though it may have taken the same amount of real time as one of your routines, It feels as if more time went by. Your memory has more reason to hold onto it.
The thing I really want you to take away from this is you must say YES to life. While you’ll never hear me tell you to not have routines (they’re essential to consistent performance & success), you don’t need to follow them 100% of your life.
What this means to you is there is life out there to be lived — you just have to get out there and meet it. Do more things. Break routines. Try something spontaneous once a week. You’ll live longer (or at least feel like you have).
Your next step is using what I’ve shared here is getting free access to this FULL MasterClass:
Listen to it here: http://WorkOnMyGame.com/1461