Time Coding and Mental Space: Navigating Your Internal Space-Time Continuum


Unravelling the mysterious workings of our inner cosmos

Today, we’re delving deep into the inner workings of our minds, exploring the fascinating realms of time coding and mental space. So buckle up and prepare for a mind-bending adventure!

Below this short blog post, you can find the podcast/interview I did with Aaron at Raglan Radio. I’ve included some approximate timestamps so you can find the juicy bits of particular interest to you.

Time Coding

Ever wondered why some folks are always fashionably (or annoyingly) late, while others arrive with military precision?

Time: an ever-present illusion

We can all talk about time; the past, the present, and the future. We can pretend that time is real. But in fact, time is just an idea—a way of measuring change—that we’ve all bought into! The only ‘time’ that truly exists is the present moment—which is constantly evolving.

However, we all have a way of representing time in our minds. We don’t just experience time; we ‘code’ it, assigning significance and meaning to particular moments and memories.

We have ingenious ways of cataloging experiences and events within our mental space. It might involve the quirks and variables of individual time lines or the cultural differences that shape our perceptions.

And what’s mental space?

We allocate mental space to the people and things that populate our outer world. You could think of mental space like a vast library. Whether it’s a book library, a tool library, or a toy library, the principles are the same. We organise everything in a specific place, neatly cataloging it so we can find it again when we need it.

So imagine your mental space as a digital library, where you record and classify everything you’ve experienced in a particular way. You’ll categorise the important people in your life, the places you live and work, the vehicle you drive or the equipment you use. Even the food you like and don’t like to eat! (yep, see timestamp 44:00!)

Lucas Derks, an NLP Trainer from the Netherlands, discovered how we classify people in our mental space. Through his intriguing and pioneering work, called Social Panorama, he helps us explore the psychological framework behind our social interactions.

Reinforcing both mental space and time coding is the language we use. For instance, when discussing people, we might use terms such as:

  • Close friends
  • Distant relatives
  • Looking up to someone
  • Keeping a person at ‘arm’s length’.
  • etc

Feeling small

Do you ever feel insignificant in the presence of authority figures or larger-than-life personalities? It all comes down to the spatial placement of people within your own mental landscape.

Our perceptions of power and influence deeply intertwine with the spatial hierarchies we construct in our minds. I have a post about mental landscapes called How Your Mental Landscape Affects Your Real Life Relationships. And of course we talk about it in the podcast, with examples.

A key takeaway

If you change the location of someone in your mental landscape, you’ll change the relationship you have with them in real life. Yes, truly! Changing their location will cause you to relate differently towards them. And because you’re in a system with them, when you change how you relate to them, they’ll change how they relate to you. It seems like it’s nothing—but it’s everything.

“Without consciousness, time and space are nothing.” ~ Robert Lanza

Podcast timestamps

This podcast begins with an explanation of NLP as well as some examples of how a skilled NLP Coach can help people resolve issues.

  • 04:00 How we construct and code time in our mind and why there are differences. Examples of how people code time and the impact this has on their lives.
  • 13.30 Cultural time coding differences.
  • 18:00 How we adapt to various concepts of time.
  • 19:00 How time coding affects getting things done and planning, including being present in the now.
  • 21.40 The language and body language of time.
  • 22:40 How memories are remembered—or not.
  • 23:45 Time, respect and lateness.
  • 28:00 (Off topic a little) Examining the differences and potential conflict between big picture and detailed thinkers.
  • 31:00 Mental Space. How we locate people in our mind and the language we use to indicate their placement. Then how we relate to those people according to where we’ve positioned them in our mind
  • 30:45 Benefits of knowing where you’ve placed people and how you can change relationships by simply changing the placement. With more examples
  • 41:00 We locate everything in our mental space.
  • 44:00 How we place food and the impact on our eating habits.
  • 45:00 Do we represent values spatially and what does a specific value actually mean?


Navigating the nexus

From time coding to mental space, we’ve negotiated landscapes both familiar and uncharted, unlocking the secrets that lie hidden within the recesses of our consciousness. You understand that time is not merely a linear progression but a multidimensional construct, shaped by our perceptions and experiences.

By making simple, yet profound adjustments to our mental landscape, we can unlock new possibilities and forge deeper connections with those around us. This understanding gives us the power to transform relationships and reshape our reality.

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Tags: Change, Communication skills, Mental space, Podcasts and audio tips, Systems


  1. Penny Wigan

    As always, an awesome article with valuable tools and insight – Thanks Steph for being brilliant – much appreciated!

    • Stephanie

      Aww, thanks Penny. I love to write stuff that people find useful. Glad you enjoyed it. ❤️


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