Part of the approach we use at Emerging Perspectives involves slowing down to create space. If you visit our website, you’ll see this at the top of our Approach page:
SLOW DOWN TO CREATE SPACE.
BE OPEN TO WHAT EMERGES.
MOVE FORWARD WITH CLARITY, INTENTION, AND COURAGE.
And yet, I often find myself trying to rush toward the finish line. In the back of my mind are items to check off my to-do list. My life is busy, just like yours. I have family, work, errands, chores – people, pets, emails, appointments, dishes and laundry vying for my attention.
So, why, then, do we at Emerging Perspectives emphasize the value of slowing down? Surely faster is better?
Aside from creating unnecessary anxiety, rushing through work doesn’t create better results. In fact, the opposite is often true. I sometimes think that more effort will take me further, but this isn’t always the case. Paradoxically, slowing down often makes us faster (and more effective) overall. For swimmers, a slower stroke makes them more streamlined and helps them go faster. When evacuating a building, exits clog when people move too quickly. Slower movement gets people out to safety faster.
The Navy Seals have a saying: “Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.”
When you slow down, you’re more intentional and things go more smoothly. Smooth means high-quality and better progress in the long run. Aside from making fewer mistakes, slowing down allows space for innovative and creative ideas to emerge.
And, yet, slowing down is hard sometimes. I frequently have to ask myself, “What’s the rush? Is this truly urgent?” Given that I’m not a first responder and have never had to rescue anyone from a burning building, the answer is almost always no. The sense of urgency is all in my head.
Slowing down is something I have to work at. Maybe it is for you, too? One way I do this is by trying to only do one thing at a time. Or I remind myself to pause and re-read an email before hitting send. And when I feel my body speeding up, I try to do the opposite and slow my breathing. Slow and steady.
Want to learn more?
- Tedx Talk –Slow down to go faster: The Power of the Pause
- Harvard Business Review Article- Need Speed? Slow Down
- Forbes Article – The Fasted Way to Be More Productive is to Slow Down
- Complexity journal article – When Slower is Faster. This article examines the “slower is faster” effect in pedestrian dynamics, vehicle traffic, traffic light control, logistics, public transport, social dynamics, ecological systems, and adaptation.