Rethinking the 100-meter dash

What’s the smallest unit of time that you can perceive. How much does it change throughout the day? At what points does time fly? 

I’ve noticed is that as I relax my mind and see better, my “now” becomes longer. I think it’s why if you focus on a single point when you’re running or working out, you perform better. Because the more “nows” between me and my destination, the worse I’m going to run. Counter-intuitively, the choppier the curves of now, the smoother the time feels. So the fewer points that time stops, the faster time flies. 

Is there any math behind this theory? Yes. Simple calculus. Integre_area37115

Calculus is the math behind finding the exact area of the curve. Take a look at this curve. For a moment, I want you to imagine the curve as time it takes you to run 10 meters. The chops of the curve are your instantaneous now. As you stress your mind and body, these shorten. And you run slower, and you use more energy. The key to your fastest race is the thickest bars under the graph [after you get going]. 

Think about the 100-meter dash. Let’s assume that everyone has perfect running form, and a perfect start. Usain Bolt takes 41 strides, Justin Gatlin takes 42.5, Johan Blake takes 46. Why does that matter? The person that wins the 100-meter dash is the person that slows down the least. Everyone slows down. And if everyone has the same top speed, and gets to that speed in the same amount of time, the only difference between Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin is that Gatlin slows down a little more over the course of the race. His relative “now” is slightly shorter than Bolts, meaning that he’ll need more strides to complete the race. And more energy. And more time. 

There’s one more important thing to discuss about the 100-meter dash. The acceleration phase. The portion of the race where the runner accelerates to top speed. This portion rewards those that compress time the most. The harder you push, the shorter the amount of time between strides, the faster you accelerate. 

So before you write off the 100-meter dash as a simple display of athleticism, remember the delicate balance of rest and relaxation. The race pits runners against each other, and against themselves. Push too hard, and you’ll come up short. Don’t push hard enough, and you lose. Transitioning two opposing mindsets is key as the runners changing their perception of time throughout the race. 

Sources:

  1. https://news.ncsu.edu/2011/06/wms-dogs/
  2. https://animalogic.ca/wild/7-near-psychic-animals-that-might-just-be-able-to-predict-disasters-before-they-happen

Emotional Context

In emotions, the context is all that matters. The mind and body feel stress and rest, to different degrees and in different places, but that is it. The mind and body do not feel angry, that is an interpretation of a feeling of mental stress, based on what you remember about your current situation.

Let’s say you don’t feel good. You’re just down. There could be a ton of different reasons that you feel this way, but what I didn’t tell you, was that you haven’t slept in two nights. So you probably just feel tired.

Let’s say that you wake up in the middle of the night with a leg cramp. The pain is real. If you finished a marathon the previous day, the pain is expected, and almost a glorious wound of battle. But if you’re older, and the leg cramps are related to some awful disease that you’re fighting, or some medicine used to treat that disease, you may feel sad or hopeless. The cramps are the same, but the context changes everything.

Think about getting punched in a crowded bar. Once you get hit, your mind will rush into fight or flight mode, and it’s your job to interpret the context of the situation. Was it a friend just playing around? Or are you in imminent danger? Are you angry, surprised, or fearful? Or some combination of the three. I would say that you are stressed, and your interpretation of that context determines whether you’re mad about it, or angry about it.

So emotions do exist, but we just create them about our perception of reality. If our perception changes or the context changes, the feeling can be exactly the same but can be interpreted differently. So if you can’t control the feeling, control the context, find the light at the end of your tunnel, and shift your narrative to the positive.

A Really Inconvenient Truth

Before you start reading this, go put a bowl of water in the microwave. Nuke it for five minutes. That should give us plenty of time to rethink global warming. 

So we are constantly talking about global warming and it’s impact on the world. Al Gore really got the conversation started in 2006 with his documentary An Inconvenient Truth. At this point, there are about as many people that think the earth as flat as those that think that global warming is not a real issue. But what if we don’t have the whole picture? 

Why do I think this is possible?

Think about that water in your microwave. Waves of some frequency heat up your water. There’s no flame, no smoke, no burner. And it heats it up very quickly. Essentially, we use waves to raise the entropy of a system. 

So what? 

Well, if you view the microwave as the earth and it’s atmosphere, and the bowl as it’s oceans, we just heated the oceans without any greenhouse emissions. We used radio waves, something that is more and more prevalent every day in modern society. 

There is a new spike in the ocean temperatures, one that’s unprecedented in the last 140 years. And it’s started in the last decade. Draw your own conclusions. 

Let’s take a step back in looking at global warming. We know it’s happening, but we don’t have the whole picture about why. If we continue to raise the energy of our system, the world will continue to get hotter. It’s probably going to continue to get hotter anyways, because of the second law of Thermodynamics. But if we want to truly start to make a difference, we may have to sacrifice more than we ever imagined. 

So next time you drive your electric Prius to work, open up your laptop, connect to Wifi, and pick up your phone, stop and ask yourself if there may be more to the story of global warming. 

And don’t forget you have water in your microwave. Let it sit [without radiation] for a while and it will return to room temperature. 

Sources:

  1. https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/04/the-100-year-march-of-technology-in-1-graph/255573/
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming#Public_opinion_and_disputes
  3. https://www.windows2universe.org/earth/polar/polar_atmosphere.html
  4. https://qz.com/99625/the-meteoric-rise-of-cellphones-in-one-chart/
  5. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/02/13/north-and-south-poles-important-climate-differences/
  6. https://courses.lumenlearning.com/geophysical/chapter/earths-motions/
  7. https://www.quora.com/Are-electromagnetic-waves-affected-by-magnetic-fields
  8. https://www.explainthatstuff.com/microwaveovens.html
  9. https://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/global-temperature

Blue Light Glasses

They work, but not for the reason you’re thinking. No doubt screens give off some less-than-ideal light, but that doesn’t explain this whole issue.

The main problem here is with the field of vision. I had a separate post about that, which you may want to go back and look at. Essentially, the broader your field of vision at any particular time, the more work your brain has to do to process the information. When we get stressed at work, we begin focusing on the entire screen, instead of the small portions of the screen where we’re working. And the bigger the field of vision, the more time dilates, so the faster you experience visual and mental strain.

It sounds minute, but it’s a big difference. At some point, they will make screens (hey, maybe they already do) that do not emit blue light, but it will not fix the problem. There are plenty of people that have worked in front of computers for years without major side effects. The difference is how they look at the screen, and perhaps how interesting their work is to them. Yes, boredom creates a strain as well,

So how do the glasses help? They restrict your field of vision. They make you focus on smaller amounts of the screen, which shrinks the amount of wasted energy your brain is using to process information. And the less wasted processing energy, the less stressed you are. And the less stressed you are, the faster your days will go by.

So get a pair, or don’t, just know that you can create the same strain without staring at a screen.

Conservation of Dopamine

It’s the neurotransmitter responsible for pleasure [among other things]. Consider for a moment the possibility that we all produce it at the same rate. 

So what would that imply about depressed people?

We’ve shown over and over again how the human brain perceives time. How it controls your sleep, your sunburn, and your height. If we can assume just for a minute that everyone’s brains produce the same amount of dopamine, how would that fit into our theory?

That would mean the most stressed people would constantly be low on dopamine. So those people that are aging the fastest are also the most unhappy.

I think we can agree that stress is the opposite of happiness. So people that are the most stressed are the least happy.  What if we all had the same amount? Could that even be possible? If dopamine is the opposite of stress, the most stressed people would run out of dopamine first.

It’s about time perception. The more stressed you are, the slower time moves for you. And the longer your days, the less dopamine you have at the end.

So if I told you that you had the same amount of dopamine as the person next to you, what would you do differently? If time is relative, and this chemical is produced relative to that perception of time, reduce your stress to increase your happy.

Field of Vision

Yesterday I put some 0.5 diopter contacts in. Why? Because I’m a hopeless romantic. Because I wanted to see what it felt like. If the slightest amount of vision correction is all I need to feel better, what’s it matter, right? 

So I put in two 0.5 diopter contacts, and went for a run. I don’t know that it was any faster than usual, but it was more peaceful. It went by faster. 

I stopped to think about my fear and anxiety. Not during my run. After. They were gone. But not in a good way. I hadn’t overcome them. I had hidden them. I was essentially buzzing. 

From this point, I realized that the state of mind that I began to fall back on was too volatile for a normal life. Maybe I fixed my vision too quickly, and I needed to taper off some more. Or maybe it was something else entirely. 

I put on some glasses and my mind started churning. If all I needed to do to be completely fulfilled was look like a goober all the time, I’d probably go for it. I popped the lenses out, and put them on. And not immediately, but soon, something started to happen. My mind began to relax. 

So I sit here today writing this post in lense-less glasses, feeling great. And here’s why I think it works: 

My superpower, my experiments, or whatever I’ve done in the past have made me somewhat immune to mental strain. I’ve said before that I can see out of your glasses. 

When I get stressed, or in the zone, my eyes widen, and my peripheral vision expands. My pupils dilate, just like yours, and I start to take in more of the world around me in less time. I call this freezing time. The problem is, that it’s not healthy to freeze time constantly, and that’s what all my experiments allowed me to do. To see in field of vision that I shouldn’t be able to, and probably wasn’t supposed to. 

So with these silly glasses on, I shrink my field of vision, and my mind can almost rest with my eyes open. The smaller field of vision gives me a smaller chunk of information, something that I can actually process. I blink less, and can focus much better. Basically, when my body is resting, my mind is finally resting too. 

What I think this means?

It means that my experiment isn’t done yet. If shrinking my field of vision helped me in this capacity, what can it do for others? If putting some specs on was all someone needed to help reduce mental strain, which we have proven effects every facet of how your body operates and ages, because it controls your perception of time.

 

I am Seau

I finally got around to watching the 30-for-30 on Junior Seau last night. As a natural follow up to my posts about concussions and CTE, this was a must. Not to mention the documentary was incredible, and provided great insight to an unbelievable career that met an unfortunate end. 

Junior Seau was the most talented athlete of his family, a hard worker, and freak of nature on the field. He made his presence known in college and moved on to the NFL where he continued to dominate. He imposed his will on NFL offenses for two decades. 

The problem comes off the field. When they get home. This state of mind is a gift for coaches and for teams, but it can be a curse for the individuals, if they don’t know how to properly wield it. It’s paramount that this beast is left on the field. If you bring this home to meet your family, you’ll bring home a void that you will never fill. 

Imagine, if you had the ability to freeze time, but didn’t know it. Once you remove the outlet [football], things really start to go haywire. These guys consume massive amounts of calories and have no problem burning them off in the warrior mindset. But when they retire and make their entrance into the real world, they will have some big adjustments to make. Not only will they need to make some diet changes, but the outlet for this mindset is even more important. Without that, the frame spills into your life. The insatiable, unbreakable beast has no place in your home. Your wife will never be enough. You will never be enough. 

How can I compare myself to such a legend?

Because I know what this feels like. The expectations. The relentless work. The speed. The instincts. I just always assumed that as long as I worked harder than everyone else, I would be successful. So I just constantly pushed myself, for fifteen years. I doubt anyone has logged more time working out in the past two decades than this guy. I know how to push. 

The problem is, though, that I’ve always struggled with relaxation and recovery. I can’t be the best, because I can’t relax. There is always something that I’m working to improve, to learn, to do, so why would I ever just chill? It turns out, that is as important as anything you do. The time that you do nothing. Or for me, just the ability to do nothing. 

I developed an entire personality around my lizard brain. I lived that way for years. The problem is, it makes relationships hard. It makes every thing that makes life worth living, impossible. Life is a slow game, and people that do whatever it is that I did, die early. So I’m trying to learn to settle in. To hang out. To chill. To be content. It’s not easy, because I can pretty easily go down a train of thoughts to convince myself I could be doing something better with my time. Something more productive. But it turns out that life isn’t a race. Or at very least, it isn’t a sprint. 

What you need to know if you’re trying to transition from warrior to settled? 

Know that it’s going to be the hardest thing you ever do. You’re going to be sad and helpless, but it will pass. You were happy before your fame, and you’ll be happy after. Find some way to burn off steam, to tap into that frame of mind that made you special. Do not sit in front of a desk for the next decade. 

Use your gifts. You were made a warrior, so no amount of sitting in front of a screen will change any part of that. Find something you’re passionate about, and pursue it with reckless abandon, the same way you pursued football. 

Your condition is reversible. Your brain is fully capable of the level of happy that you had when you were younger. 

Suicide is not an option.  What’s next may be worse than what you’re going through now. And it may last a whole lot longer. 

Talk to someone. A friend. A counselor. Someone you can completely open up to. Be completely honest, and question your own logic. Doubt your fears. 

Don’t be like me. Don’t be like Seau. Check your abilities at the door. Control your inner beast. Your sanity and longevity depend on it.