Millions of Americans are striving to achieve it, often without
much success. We cut back our expenses, throw away possessions we
no longer need, and struggle to establish priorities. Yet nothing
will really change for us unless we address a deeper problem - our
addiction to speed.
of speed came to me while on vacation not long ago. We were sitting
around the campfire one evening discussing how hard we all worked
to be able to take time off and about the massive workloads that
would be awaiting us upon our return. I felt as if I needed to "hurry
up and relax." Just thinking about it made my heart beat faster
and my mind race in anticipation. I realized how trained I was for
I am impatient with people who are not on time, with drivers who
lazily react to the red light turning green, to people in the grocery
line waiting until the last item is scanned before pulling our their
Most of us had the idea that all the new technological devices such
as the Fax, E-mail, cell phones, and World Wide Web were going to
save us time. But do they? Or do they make us feel more obligated
to respond at a faster speed? Snail mail feels so slow! The pace
of our lives has been cranked up to a level that would have been
hard to imagine not too long ago.
Generally, speed is viewed as a good thing. It is even heralded
as the answer to our overly busy lives. Swamped by work? Get a faster
computer. No time to read? Listen to books on tape while driving.
No time to enjoy life? Purchase one of those devices that allow
you to lose weight faster, cook faster, and even make money faster.
I have always thought the faster I moved, the more things I could
do and the more fun and meaning my life would have. But what am
I missing at a
When I hear friends complain that their lives move too fast, they're
not talking about disliking the notion of speed as much as a desire
to spend moreof their time involved in slow, contemplative
A balanced life is what people crave.
I accomplish much in my life and I truly like the way it feels:
the adrenaline, the brainstorming of ideas, and the crossing of
things off my list. But when I leave work, I consciously try to
slow down and do things that make me feel good like going for a
walk, cooking dinner, or talking with friends.
this referred to as "selective slowness." The key is to be able
to focus on the proper rhythm, geared to what you are doing. If
we can learn to shift our rhythms, to vary the pace of our lives,
a new sense of peace will be the reward. How do you do that?
Begin by slowing down and being aware of what is going on. Take
a deep breath. Worried about the future? Focus on experiencing the
present moment. Walking to work each day, or to appointments throughout
the day, helps. Laughter, music, a change of environment, exercise,
massage, any single one or combination of these is effective.
When I start feeling resentful because of all the demands on my
time, I stop and look at my choices. Is what I am choosing to do
in alignment with the purpose that I have defined as supremely important
and does it contribute in a meaningful way to the vision I have
as a whole? If the answer is yes, then I lose the sense of being
out of control, of time ruling my life, and I can relax.
Leading Edge Consulting
Phone: (970) 247-5999