Deep Time: noun. Geology. The multimillion year timeframe within which scientists believe the earth has existed, and which is supported by the observation of natural, mostly geological, phenomena.
I often listen to NPR, and recently I heard an interview with Anthropologist Vincent F. Ialenti encouraging us to embrace “Deep Time” thinking in a more holistic, speculative and global way as we undergo a profound transformation in our collective experience.
Wow, that’s deep.
In our new book Slammed, we write:
Our feeling of being Slammed cannot be simply explained as a condition of the “workaholic” culture we live in, the rise of the mobile smartphone, or the lack of proper time management techniques. While those are certainly contributors to our dilemma, there are much larger social, developmental and technological forces at work. What we need to figure out is how to be in charge of time again – how to direct it to complement our values, our lifestyle, and our goals. If we want to move beyond this feeling of being Slammed, this continuous race to the pace that modern time has set for us, we must change our relationship with time.
But changing the way we think about time is no small endeavor. It requires intentional reprogramming—a dedicated effort to reframe the way we look at the day’s tasks, the week’s demands, the year’s goals, and our life’s work.
April is “planning season” for many of our clients and I have spent countless hours in boardrooms across the country listening to various business leaders talk about priorities. But, this year has been different. People are talking a lot more about long-term concerns such as climate change, sustainability, biodiversity, and community development. In more than a decade of doing this work, I have not seen leaders as concerned as they are this year for issues that will span generations, across centuries.
Ialenti explains that this is a phenomenon taking place across industries, populations, and nations. “Engaging with such radically long-term timespans is no longer just for the astrophysicists, theologians, paleontologists, geologists, evolutionary biologists, or archaeologists among us. It has become our collective task.”
Deep time thinking can change our relationship with time. It also opens our minds to really big ideas.
The Slammed experience is one of feeling task-saturated, too busy, overwhelmed and out of control. In this space of scarcity, we shut down new ideas—we just don’t have time to think about or implement them. And this limits our individual and collective capacity to change our situation. Deep time thinking invites us to see the big picture and to dream big. There seems to be a new appetite today for transforming our relationship with time and breaking free of the Slammed condition.
Are you ready to live in Deep Time?