Slow Down, You’ll Get There Faster

Living in a fast lane. Global connectivity. Instant gratification.

Billion dollars ideas.

We have our goals, ambitions, dreams. We want to … no … we need to get there faster before it is too late. While we still have the strength and drive.

There is nothing wrong with big hairy audacious goals. We only live once, so we might as well make the most of it. Often, what we regret the most is the thing we didn’t have the time (or courage) to do.

But how fast can we run? Or more importantly, how far can we go?

Slow down. You will run faster, and you can go far.

It is not the rabbit versus the turtle. We want you to be both a rabbit and a turtle. (Maybe something like a ’turbit’ — a turtle with turbo rabbit). Slowing down to run faster and far is about taking a step back so we can manage our bodies and minds with laser focus. It is about building simple habits that move you towards your goal. Simple habits that if practised long enough will evolve into second nature. And before you know it, you are running effortlessly, faster than ever, non-stop.

We will look at five habits in relation to slowing down. Each one builds the next one and the next one and so on. But that doesn’t mean we forget the previous habit when we get to the next one. It simply says we need all five habits because they are built upon one another.

Habit One: Recharge Regularly

The longer we work, the less effective we are. There is a point where results will drop regardless of how much efforts we put in.

We need to recharge.

Slowing down forces you to notice your wellbeing. When the rush is over, the physical and emotional repercussions will surface. No, they have not been hiding all this time. A multitude layer of adrenaline covered them.

In a way, slowing down allows your mind and body to release their tensions. You then have the opportunity to rest. Your mind and body can recuperate.

Your brain needs plenty of rest to function at its optimal level. Go to sleep!” (Lalah Delia)

Habit Two: Remove Noises

Now that we have slowed down and recharged, we can start noticing noises. Those that are not important to our primary goal — remove them. These noises can be anything from actual sounds (perhaps noisy neighbours) to little side projects that often occupy too much of our mind and time.

The tricky part is saying no to a thousand things and yes to one thing.

Often we are afraid to focus on one thing and miss out on others. What you need to understand is, by doing everything you miss out on everything. By doing one thing you have a chance to be the best at it. Don’t be afraid to remove noises and focus on one thing — your primary goal.

“I fear not the man who has practised 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practised one kick 10,000 times.” (Bruce Lee)

Habit Three: Planning

Removing noises allows us to get clarity. It is time to plan our steps with a clear goal in sight. Yes, planning is an essential habit albeit boring it may be.

Without continuous planning, your efforts will be akin to those wandering in the desert with no map and compass. You can spend years going around trying desperately to achieve your goals without going anywhere.

On the other hand, be careful with trying to find the silver bullet. While the activity of continuous planning is essential, the actual plan itself might be obsolete immediately after implemented. There is no silver bullet. There is only an evolving one.

The whole idea is to coordinate your steps in a strategic way towards a strong goal. But be flexible. Keep fine-tuning and keep evolving.

“In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” (General Dwight D. Eisenhower)

Habit Four: Self-control

We are our greatest enemies. Often it is ourselves that restrain us from moving forward. In the heat of the battle, we often lose control.

It is the execution that results in success. Masterful execution requires excellent self-control. How are we going to move forward flawlessly if we are continually affected emotionally by what is happening to us?

Slowing down helps you to achieve better self-control through regular recharge, complete focus, and continuous planning.

In achieving your goals, there will be obstacles and challenges. Some of them will make you wonder why you bother to go for it at all. There will be a time when you want to throw in the towel. In those moments, remember, it is not what happens to us that matter. It is how we react.

“Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.” (Charles R. Swindoll)

Habit Five: Step Forward

One of the most dangerous assumptions in life is that we are in control. While we can be in control of ourselves (Habit Four: Self-control), we are never in full control of everything else. The bigger our plan is, the less certain it is. Our ten years goal is a dream. But our ‘thing to do’ task for tomorrow is very real.

The more immediate the action step is the more control we have over it. The more we can be sure of the outcome.

The most important step right now (actually at any given moment) is your next one. Focus on your next step and stop worrying about the tenth step.This habit builds on both planning and self-control. A continuous act of planning will guide your mind and an excellent self-control will ensure you are moving on the right track.

You never know for sure how the whole plan will pan out but nothing happens until you take the next step.

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

So just to recap:

Habit One: Recharge Regularly
Habit Two: Remove Noises
Habit Three: Planning
Habit Four: Self-control
Habit Five: Step Forward

I have even constructed an acronym to help you remember: 2RP2S or TwoRPTwoS (read: torpedoes).

The five habits are simple enough to understand yet challenging to master. And all it takes to start mastering these habits is one simple conscious effort: “slow down”.

One more time … slow … down …

As previously published in Medium: Slow Down, You’ll Get There Faster

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