Is Time Really Relative?!

I heard a yogi insist that ‘time is relative’ and we need only to adjust our brains around that concept to liberate from the stressors of life.

Really?! l thought. Surely that’s only science fiction. Time couldn’t be relative because we live in a linear world and share linear experiences. Leaders, governments, and employers all subscribe to linear time!

But if time is relative, life would be so much easier… So I took on the challenge of trying to wrap my brain around this intriguing idea, even if it was only because all my other tools for dealing with the unexpected weren’t working. I had nothing to lose.

Collective agreement, in this case around linear time, doesn’t make it fact. There used to be a collective agreement that the world was flat! So why can’t we bend the boundaries of time?

Once I accepted that possibility, I was soon pondering what it would look like if the structures of reality itself could fluctuate…

Well for starters, throw deadlines out the window! What’s the point of molding your life for someone else to measure? But let’s break that down: How can you possibly achieve your goals by throwing out deadlines? What does it mean, why does it matter, how do you do it?

It took some time to grapple with these questions. For someone who takes commitment, deadlines, and timelines very serious, the ‘time-is-relative’ concept has been hard to actualize. And honestly, my work ethic has served me well for the most part.

But that is also why I have found it life-shatteringly difficult to process the times it hasn’t served me. What’s the value of work ethic during the misfortunate times? Those times of betrayal, misunderstanding, or worst of all, failure due to discrimination or some other circumstance out of my control.

And really, that’s the point: it’s ALL out of my control. Especially when others, less married to commitment, deadlines, and timelines will lie, cheat, and exploit their way to the top all the time.

The value of work ethic is a personal achievement, not for the measurement of others. If it doesn’t fulfill your purpose, your vision, and/or your own definition of well being with compassion, let it go.

Will the world stop if that deadline is missed? There might be consequences, but only you can define the value of those consequences in your life. Besides, life might not turn out how you planned even if you make that deadline! Just ask the Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and now the Millennials.

And somewhere amidst all that is a path to following our dreams. So what’s the easiest way to accomplish it all without the stress and worry? Take away the deadlines and timelines attached to your biggest aspirations.

I know we’re all going to die so the clock really is ticking. But that is linear thinking! And it puts a giant wrench into your Sustainability Cycle by curtailing creativity.


Living outside of the linear is incredibly liberating because it suggests living inside the moment. And the moment changes, moment to moment! To quote the Merlin Principle taught to emerging business leaders:

Leaders who use the Merlin Factor, identifying themselves with a particular visionary future, must likewise act on behalf of that future in the circumstances of the present.

Scientific studies, specifically in physics, are increasingly revealing that correlations between time and space demonstrate relativity. Theoretical physicist Brian Greene says “I might not be moving through space, but I am [always] moving through time.” You can even learn in Under 3 Minutes how time is not absolute.

Add to this, String Theory, which has given gateway to the possibility of up to 10 dimensions in our universe. We’re familiar with the 3-dimensional, but this theory suggests another 7 dimensions might include alternative realities of time:

The seven dimensions are not immediately apparent to us, but which can still be perceived as having a direct effect on the universe and reality as we know it. Scientists believe that the fourth dimension is time…

This is only the beginning in proving that the same theories that govern our universe, also dictate our realities. If these are proven it will become common knowledge that time is malleable. Which means time can adapt…to you and your authentic journey.

What a liberating (and scary) concept! That we can indeed build, in essence, create, our own reality….that’s a lot of power. How does one comprehend that, especially with the complexities around fear of success? The offer is bigger to digest than the words imply. And it requires alignment with your authentic self.

I still very much recognize deadlines and timelines in my life, I’ve just had a healthy separation from them — a no-fault divorce. I use them as a flexible guide, not a concrete structure that will shatter if compromised. But measurements of time will always adapt and evolve – they are only benchmarks.

If everything in life is getting in the way of your goals, maybe it’s time for a change your tactics, sans judgment. Abolish that fixed, linear thinking! Instead, free yourself to define your own authentic progress. That’s sustainability.

So it turns out…the yogi was right. Understanding time as relative is complete and utter freedom. Freedom: that beautiful little word that holds so much personal meaning. For me, freedom now means living inside the moment, where time is relative.

Original Artwork by Dave Law, freelance visual artist and illustrator.

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Emileena Pedigo

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Emileena is a blogster and coach for artists across discipline. Her book on artist development, ANOTHER WAY, scrutinizes how the…

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