Kill The Speed if You Want To Be Successful

Why fast pace is not always the right pace

Time diminishes right? When it’s gone, it’s gone!

Maybe this is why we try and get everything done in the shortest amount of time, why deadlines figure so much in our lives, why we always have so much to do and so little time to do it and why our lives have become so frenetic?

But could speed be the enemy of time?

I recently spent a few hours fitting a new kitchen appliance. I wanted to get it done as quick as I could, so I set about the job with that specific determination uppermost in my mind. I was very pleased when I finished in good time.

However, as I cleared away the packaging I found an object that was obviously part of the fittings.

So, I read through the instructions (better late than never, I guess) and discovered I would have to remove the appliance again to fit this missing part.

Two hours later I completed the job, correctly this time.

Reading the instructions before I started would have taken some five minutes. Fitting the missing part correctly, exactly three minutes. Together, this would have added around eight minutes to the job — and saved 2 hours!

Pity I didn't remember what Abraham Lincoln said about preparation.  “ Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

Could speed also be the enemy of efficiency?

I watched a young student learning to swim. He was thrashing around and moving his arms as quick as he could and getting nowhere fast.

His teacher encouraged him to relax and take slow, strong strokes. Very soon, the splashing subsided and the student began to move through the water smoothly, and twice as fast as he had been.

He was becoming more efficient with less effort!

Lost time may be the least damage we do when rushing to work to a deadline.

How would you feel if your Dentist told you there was no time to wait for the anaesthetic to take effect because he was behind schedule, or your accountant said he hadn’t checked his final figures because there wasn’t time?

Time pressure can cause us to take shortcuts, like missing out on preparation, or double-checking vital information. As my old woodworking teacher used to say, "Measure twice, cut once".  

The enemy of quality of life?

In his article for the Harvard Business Review, Tony Schwartz writes: “Speed is the enemy of depth, nuance, subtlety, attention to detail, reflection, learning, and rich relationships — the enemy of much, in short, that makes life worth living.”

Whatever we consider our quality of life, there’s no doubt that unless we define it and take the time to reach out for it, we are not going to have it!

And again, whatever we are reaching out for, we need to make time to relish the sights, sounds and fragrances that surround us.

This is the foundation of success.

Maybe, instead of a takeaway coffee, sit for a while and let the smells of the room relax your mind, the smiles and laughter lift your mood and the colours sharpen your senses.

Remind yourself every day to notice the detail of what’s around you and learn to appreciate what you normally take for granted.

Take time to interact carefully with people. Be patient and learn to listen to understand, not just to reply. You will learn more than you thought possible because everyone you speak with knows something you don’t, has value to give you.

When you are moving from one environment to another, such as from work to home, be sure to clear your mind of the past environment and prepare for the next.

Never be too busy for those you love. luxuriate in their closeness. Cuddling the kids in their fresh PJ’s before they go to sleep, a glass of wine by an open fire, snoozing in a warm embrace.

Time well spent. No challenges of the daily grind will outlast such evenings!

Remember that time used is time spent. Make sure you spend it wisely!

Take Time.

  • to plan
  • to prepare
  • to talk
  • to listen
  • to discuss
  • to be wrong
  • to appreciate
  • to care
  • to love
  • to be loved

Slow It Down

Strive at work while you can.
God knows it’s why you are a man,
But don’t wait till the funds abound
Before you get to slow it down.

Give your calling all you’ve got.
Rewards to gain, they are a lot;
But don’t lose loved ones you have around.
Create the time to slow it down.

Toil for things that you crave,
But how much gets taken to the grave?
As needs are met, the wants compound.
Take the time to slow it down.

Best things in life are from above.
The busy struggles are never enough,
And in this truth, peace can be found.
Find the time to slow it down.

© Abimbola T. Alabi

What do you think?

Do you agree that speed is our enemy? I would love to know.

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