Have you noticed how the pace of life seems to be speeding up?
The modern world is full of people rushing here and rushing there: doing things as fast as they can. It seems that the faster you can do something, the better. The faster you can do something, the more things you can do in a day, the more productive you appear. People rush around trying to cram more and more into each day.
Every day the world gets a little faster, we do a little more. There is no end.
Why is this?
It’s because we believe that faster is better.
Everywhere you look there are messages telling you that faster is better. The modern world is filled with:
- fast cars
- high speed trains
- fast food
- high speed computers
- same day delivery
The message is simple: faster is better.
And, not only does the world tell us that faster is better, but it also says that what was fast yesterday is not fast enough today. It strives to get quicker and quicker, faster and faster. A car that was considered fast 5 years ago, appears slow compared to the latest fast car.
From school into work
As a kid I was quite bright. I did well in tests. I do remember though that very early on it was not good enough to simply get 10 out of 10, the ‘winner’ was the person who could get 10 out of 10 and finish first. So from a very young age, academically, I learned that faster was better.
It was the same with sports. The quicker you were, the better you were.
On into work and this principle really took a hold. Productivity was king. The more you could do in a day, the better you were, and the more you were rewarded.
Today, it remains the same. We are constantly asked to do more with less and that means doing things faster.
Every day we are asked to deliver more, and yet each day only ever contains the same amount of time.
This faster is better mentality then spills over into our home lives. We rush around cramming as much activity into our lives, believing that the more we do the more fulfilling our lives. And in order to do more, we have to do things faster.
The problem with faster is better
Like a dog chasing its tail we spin round and round, getting faster and faster; and yet end up going nowhere.
Living life at high speed means that nothing is really done properly; attention is not paid; quality falls; and focus, rather than being on what we’re actually doing, is always on the next item on the list.
Mistakes are made.
Life becomes a blur, becomes stressful.
We become exhausted.
At some point we come off the rails and crash.
Life is no longer enjoyed, it is endured.
And all because we believe the false notion that faster is better: a notion that tells us the more we do and the quicker we do it, the greater the reward.
Faster is not better
Faster is not better: it’s a misconception.
How then to slow down, to stop chasing our tail, to apply the brakes, to get off the ride?
Simplicity helps. Write down all the things that you think you have to do. Look at them and then decide what is necessary and what is unnecessary. Ranking each task can help here, with those coming lower down the list likely to fall within the unnecessary category. Eliminate the unnecessary. Simplify your day and your life.
Plan some down time by not filling every moment of every day with task after task. Remember that you are creating space in your day for that very purpose, not to fill it up with other tasks.
Slow down: focus and pay attention.
Do things one at a time.
Be mindful in all that you do. Try consciously doing things more slowly. Breathe.
Don’t give in to a world that rushes at you screaming “faster”.
Find your own pace and stick to it.
It’s not always easy to slow down, but it is possible. We’ve had it drummed into us that faster is better, and yet it is not.
Let go of that belief.
Focus on what works for you.
The results will amaze you. Your quality of life will improve, you’ll be more relaxed.
You will once again enjoy life, rather than endure it.