By: Martin Grunburg
I’m fairly certain we all learned this as children: The tortoise wins the race. SLOW and steady wins the race.
It might be worth checking the pace of your day, and maybe yourself. How often are you jumping from one task to another – racing from here to there?
Fastest – “The first man gets the oyster and the second man the shell,” Andrew Carnegie famously once said.
There is a great deal of truth to that statement; change is seemingly accelerating everywhere, and the rapid adoption of new and better strategies and technologies must happen quickly. But there is equal value to going SLOW, to pressing PAUSE and even STOP.
Slowing down gives you time to ask key questions: Is this the race I want to be in? What does winning look like? What am I trying to accomplish?
You can bet that the most successful people and companies schedule a time to stop – to pause, reset and PLAN. They ask key questions that help them adapt and redirect quickly. This is a key point, because without stopping they are just running in frenetic circles.
“Never confuse activity for accomplishment,” legendary basketball coach John Wooden used to say.
I have a theory that almost everyone reading this blog (born after 1956) falls into a larger classification of what I like to call The Microwave Generation. Consider food, our most basic human need. With a microwave oven, you have a hot meal in an instant! (Poof, magic!)
How might that sort of instant gratification have programmed us from an early age? “I want something (goal/achievement); therefore, I can have it quickly.”
Our desire for food is granted immediately – no need to head out on a long hunting expedition or forage for fruits and vegetables. In this mindset, when we set goals for ourselves and expect great achievement, we become frustrated when it isn’t produced right away. I suspect this takes a toll over the years – this expectation of instant gratification without an appreciation for labor and patience and an understanding of the real nature of achievement.
But when we look at nature, we see something very interesting. The moon and sun aren’t rising or setting any faster. The ocean tides remain unhurried. What about the pace of the seasons? How about the time it takes for the gestation of a baby?
“Nature never says one thing and wisdom another.” ~Juvenal
I would submit to you that as much as technology surrounds and infiltrates our lives (business and personal), YOU are nature.
The speed of nature is SLOW. That’s worth repeating. In fact, the speed of relationships is slow. You can’t hurry the process of getting to know a person; it takes time – a lot of time. And what about that massive oak tree? How long did it take to become big and strong? Have you ever tried to watch grass grow?
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the second best time is now.” ~Confucius
I marvel these days at the craftsman and the artist. The speed of the artisan is slow. They seem to be unperturbed by the technology that surrounds them; they understand and appreciate nature and its process for achievement. In fact, it seems that they almost assume and mirror nature with an appreciation and awareness of planning that is deliberate, careful, considerate — and slow.
Ultimately, life can be a beautiful combination of both technology and nature, and I think it’s essential to realize that winning the race isn’t about going fast, it’s about going fast and slow.
Enjoy the slow.
BTW: if you’re interested in winning… that is, stopping, planning and resetting to ensure you are on the right track… visit thehabitfator.com/win and check out the new Habit Factor Accountability Group program ( a 90 day to Kickstart for 2016 ) There are some great bonuses for early registration too.
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