Last week, I had a captivating discussion with a colleague that spanned an array of topics – from the dynamics of friendship to the audacity of forming opinions on matters beyond our purview. Tangential conversations with my wife and counsellor further stirred thoughts that have been buzzing in my mind lately.
Speed. The insistent rush to get there quickly.
I've found myself in situations where I left late for appointments, resorting to hurried actions to make up for lost time. It's not just about driving fast; it's the frantic departure from home, resulting in forgotten essentials and arriving with a clouded mind. The anxiety of the drive, the guilt of tardiness, and the inevitable apologies upon arrival – it's a familiar sequence.
The solution seems simple – leave early, arrive early.
But this isn't merely about rushing to meetings. It seems everything is in a frenzy. Learn a skill at an accelerated pace, speed-read through stacks of books, and ensure your baby hits developmental milestones ahead of schedule.
Lose years of accumulated weight in a matter of weeks. Transform your physique within months.
Speed sells. If I offered you a "Year-long Fitness Transformation" while someone else promised the same results in 45 days, you'd likely opt for the latter. We're drawn to swift outcomes, preferring fast over slow every time.
You lose more
Yet, what do we forfeit in this relentless pursuit of speed?
You may finish the book, but comprehension is dubious. Do you truly grasp the context? Can you apply its teachings to your life? Did you relish the transformative journey of traversing another's thoughts, only to return to your own with newfound perspectives?
Losing weight rapidly often leads to regaining it just as swiftly. There's no time for your body and mind to adapt to change, making it fleeting.
A year passes, yet progress eludes us. We're no wiser, healthier, or happier. Instead, we're left more anxious, and frenzied, feeling like we've squandered time.
A few years back, I rode with a friend in the city. To my surprise, he didn't honk once. In Chennai, this seemed inconceivable. Yet, there he was – calm and collected, unlike any of my drives, even the ones where I left early.
It was an epiphany.
Slowing down ushered me into a different realm. That drive felt distinct. It would take years to tame my road rage, but the seed was planted.
I realised this deceleration was applicable everywhere.
Savouring meals instead of wolfing them down. Tuning into my body's cues while eating transformed the experience entirely. I finally understood what Thich Nhat Hanh meant.
Rather than rushing through books, I savoured them slowly, pausing to reflect, revisiting sections, letting ideas percolate. I learned to jot down thoughts as they surfaced, even if they seemed nonsensical – it was liberating.
Say no to the frenzy
It's a mindset.
It's easy to succumb to the frenzy, a temptation I still grapple with.
Sometimes, I heed the wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh, pausing to observe and slow down. Often, I'm swept away.
But it's all about practice.
Each deliberate action, done slowly, reshapes my mindset.
Balancing clear goals with the freedom to explore is bewildering, especially in personal projects like my bulletproof project. Yet, therein lies the beauty – navigating deadlines and projects, and finding the optimal approach, is a journey in itself.
One thing remains clear: prioritising speed may yield more tasks accomplished, but it robs us of life's essence.
And that, my friends, is simply absurd.
- I'd like to hear your experiences or thoughts in the comment section.
- Where in your life have you found speed to be a detriment?
- And of course, speed/haste is sometimes necessary. What situations come to mind for you?