How to stretch time

stretch time by walking
Taking time to walk to a lunch meeting yesterday

I constantly listen to leaders who feel they don’t have enough time. If I suggest to them that we take a walk rather than meet in their office, they oftentimes look at me like I’m crazy. Until that is, we actually go for a walking meeting.

Walking not only stretches time, it solves problems too. Read on.

Walking stretches time

Erling Kagge, in his latest book: “Walking. One step at a time” writes:

“Everything moves more slowly when I walk…It is a truth universally acknowledged that one saves time travelling only two hours from one point to another instead of spending eight hours on the same journey. While this holds up mathematically, my experience is the opposite: times passes more quickly when I increase the speed of travel. My speed and time accelerate in parallel…when you are in a car driving towards a mountain…life is curtailed; it gets shorter. You don’t notice the wind, the smells, nor the shifting light..everything becomes one big blur…if you were to walk along the same route, however..the day becomes something else entirely…time stretches out, independent of minutes and hours. And this is precisely the secret held by all of those who go by foot: life is prolonged when you walk. Walking expands time rather than collapsing it.

I’ve made a precis of his full passage (ironic, that!), as readers like to absorb posts quickly, I’m told. I do encourage reading his book, perhaps during a long walk. It is quite beautiful writing.

I also highly recommend his earlier book, Silence in the Age of Noise. I wrote about this in: “What happens when we find silence?” some time ago, also sharing in there an absolute favourite story (and video) around a hugely powerful moment of silence from Marina Abramovic.

So, I am writing this post the evening before publishing, having today chosen to take time to walk across part of London to a lunch on the edge of a common (or park if you prefer). It has been a gorgeous day, so I always love to walk to absorb the weather, to stretch time if you will.

So, walking can stretch time, but did you know it can also solve problems too?

Walking to solve problems

In “Solving problems by taking a walk“, I gave some examples from my own experience of this, inspired, among others, by the Latin phrase “Solvitur Ambulando”, or “it is solved by walking”.

Oh, and I am amused at myself that in that post, which dates back over a year, I referenced Kagge’s book on Walking, which at that point he had spoken about but had not yet released, hence I am just now reading it.

Today going for a walk inspired me to write this blog, so “solved” my “problem” of what to write about for tomorrow. It also reminded me of Kagge’s book and also the idea of Solvitur Ambulando.

If I had simply taken a taxi to lunch a) I would not have had an idea for this post, nor b) been reminded of Kagge’s thoughts on walking.

Oh, and as a bonus to finish, from one of my favourite authors, Matt Haig, in his book “Reasons to Stay Alive”:


And, one more thing, one of my favourite books is called “How to Stop Time”, another by Matt Haig. Take time to read this or any other favourite book and that will also stretch, if not stop time.

So, leaders, now you can stretch and stop time and also solve problems by walking. What’s next?

Also published on Medium.