I’m sitting in the showroom of ChandlersBMW of Brighton, waiting. My legendary 1200GS motorbike needs a little attention. (For the techies, its a steering head bearing.) It will take an hour according to Phil Banks, Chandler’s outstanding workshop manager. He is brilliant, a walking encyclopaedia.
But this blog isn’t about Phil. Its about Time.
Will the time I spend waiting in reception pass slowly or quickly?
It depends on what I’m doing and how much I’m enjoying it. If I’m enjoying the wait, … oops, there we go. (The bike is done and the time went far too quickly for me to complete this blog. I’ll stay a while, get another coffee and finish it.)
Emmet Reidy, Chandlers excellent Motorrad Manager, has just come over and is asking me about time. He has to work at “time management” he says, and then lists the unpredictability of each day as the reason for his planning challenges. I laugh, and explain it is to do with how he perceives time, and nothing to do with all the interruptions he cites.
Emmet tends to process time as if he is on the inside of it, a bit like a hamster in one of those exercise balls rolling round the room. He is living in the moment, and is surprised by interruptions that he bumps into as he lives out his day. Classic ‘Inside Time’ processing. Life is an adventure for the hampster (and for Emmet!) When you’re in the moment, as Forrest Gump‘s mother always told him “life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.” Emmet’s immediate enthusiasm and spark will really ‘work’ for the GS riders like me who love a bit of adventure.
Phil is different from Emmet. He prefers to see time from outside – and runs the workshop accordingly! It’s great – efficient, predictable and thorough. As if he is watching himself from outside the hamster ball, about to roll down a step, he likes everything done very precisely. He sees what he thinks is the ‘future’ coming, and adjusts for it, preparing for those events that surprise Emmet. Phil tends towards ‘Outside Time’ processing. Phil will value safety. Emmet is likely to take some risk – though preferably on a bike that Phil has made sure is safe!
Flexibility – you can have both
The Powerchange GOLD Coach training – famous throughout the world (I wish!) for it’s amazing power, depth and breadth – focused on Time in our training last month. We showed the coaches how to move from Inside to Outside Time processing and back. The flexibility is great. We can enjoy the moment AND prepare for what lies ahead. We can also take a new perspective on the past – and change how we feel about it.
But is it that easy?
Each of us has developed our preferred default position for our own reason. It makes us feel good – either because we get a buzz out of surprises, or because we like the feeling of being prepared, being able to look forward to a good time. Or maybe some other reason. Moving from our default preference can be thought of as a not-so-good choice.
Time is odd. The past no longer exists, the future hasn’t arrived, and that leaves THIS moment. Now. As you read this. Do you prefer to be in the moment, or prefer to live life a little more detached? Are you an Emmet or a Phil?
Emmet may have more difficulty remembering and planning. He’ll need to reference a diary more often. Phil, on the other hand, may find the normal unpredictability of life less exciting than Emmet, and is likely to look forward to future events and past good times with what he will regard as due caution. He is unlikely to get such an amazing emotional ‘high’ as Emmet. He will avoid the ‘lows’ too. Life will seem safer, and perhaps less interesting.
Human beings start life ‘inside time’. A baby has no understanding of hours days, past or future. That concept is developing at a massive rate through childhood and into adolescence. However, by the time we’ve reached adulthood we will have experienced all sorts of traumas, some very minor, others highly significant, and know what it is like to wait in a queue and rush for an appointment. Those traumas affect our learning about time. Pain and pleasure affect the memories we have, ‘tagging’ them. If there are a lot of tags that are unpleasant (just one major one can do it) we will be much more cautious about ‘living in the moment’ as Inside Time people tend to, and want to take a more stepped back, Outside Time position. It gives us time to process and consider. The upside is that we will be better prepared to handle/withstand negative experiences. The down side is we are unlikely to enjoy the pleasurable moments so much.
How do you process time? If you’re after more flexibility, get in touch.