In Praise of Slow

You have an idea. It’s a great idea. You gather materials and carry it out. It doesn’t work. You give up. What made you think that would work, anyway?

Slow motion: One drop of cream being added to coffee.

Wait. Act fast, fail fast, criticize fast. All that speed doesn’t allow you to learn a damn thing. Cutting your losses doesn’t teach you anything except how to cut.

There is a huge benefit to doing things slowly. We live in a super-fast culture, but it’s the same culture that doesn’t like mistakes, that encourages blamestorming as a fair shot in competition.

What’s the benefit of slowing down?

Three water balloons bursting.

You can anticipate. Slowing down lets you think before you act. You can think through the next several steps to see if they are what you want, if those steps move you to the result. If they don’t, you can choose another plan.

Slowing down saves time. Anticipating helps you plan more than one step ahead, create a Plan B, and discover options. All that saves time. Saving time reduces anxiety and possibly money. All because you slowed down.

Practice helps you get it right. Slowing down allows you to practice your steps before you have to do them. Practicing anything, from a piano concerto to a speech, makes you better at it. “Winging it” will just result in making your mistakes public. Slow down. Practice. Then when you do it, it will work, and you will know how come it worked. That allows you to do it again–the right way.

Slowing down slows time down. When time slows down, you see more and you understand more. The more you understand, the more you learn, the more you can use what you know.

Excellence takes time. No one was born an expert. You are not the exception. When you do things step by step you can see mistakes, often before you make them. You have more time to do each step, if you aren’t racing. John Wheeler, the physicist, said, “Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.” Take advantage of time.

Quinn McDonald likes the idea of not always rushing.

Looking for Answers with a Stop-Watch

We wake up in a hurry.

Time flies. Photo my janussyndicate.com

We talk fast.

We walk quickly,  looking ahead.

The speed limit doesn’t count if we don’t go more than 10 miles faster.

Work is done against the clock. Hurry and learn. Hurry and finish.

Don’t think, it takes time.

Fast is good. Time is money.

Got a problem? Fix it fast or blame it on someone else.

Stop. Just stop.

Breathe.

This is the only September minute you will ever have. Don’ t rush it.

Copy this poem by Rainer Maria Rilke into your journal and read it till you know it is true:

Have patience with everything unresolved
in your heart
and try to love the questions themselves
Don’t search for the answers.
They could not be given to you now.
Because you would not be able to live them.
And the point is, to live everything.
Live the questions now.
Perhaps then, someday in the future,
you will gradually, without even noticing it,
live your way into the answer.

—Quinn McDonald is a slow learner, and she’s not sorry about that.

Slow Works, Slow Wins

You have an idea. It’s a great idea. You gather materials and carry it out. It doesn’t work. You give up. What made you think that would work, anyway?

Slow motion water burst from 3dverstas

Slow motion water burst from 3dverstas

Wait. Act fast, fail fast, criticize fast. All that speed doesn’t allow you to learn a damn thing. Cutting your losses doesn’t teach you anything except how to cut.

There is a huge benefit to doing things slowly. We live in a super-fast culture, but it’s the same culture that doesn’t like mistakes, that encourages blamestorming as a fair shot in competition.

What’s the benefit of slowing down?

You can anticipate. Slowing down let’s you think before you act. You can think through the next several steps to see if they are what you want, if those steps move you to the result. If they don’t, you can choose another plan.

Slowing down saves time. Anticipating helps you plan more than one step ahead, create a Plan B, and discover options. All that saves time. Saving time reduces anxiety and possibly money. All because you slowed down.

Practice helps you get it right. Slowing down allows you to practice your steps before you have to do them. Practicing anything, from a piano concerto to a speech, makes you better at it. “Winging it” will just result in making your mistakes public. Slow down. Practice. Then when you do it, it will work, and you will know how come it worked. That allows you to do it again–the right way.

Slowing down slows time down. When time slows down, you see more and you understand more. The more you understand, the more you learn, the more you can use what you know.

Excellence takes time. No one was born an expert. You are not the exception. When you do things step by step you can see mistakes, often before you make them. You have more time to do each step, if you aren’t racing. John Wheeler, the physicist, said, “Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.” Take advantage of time.

–Quinn McDonald is a writer, trainer and life coach. She understands the value of slow.