Slow Down to Speed up

Slow down to speed up - Hello Genius cards © Karin Pinter

Everyone wants everything fast nowadays, and the pace – unless you run off to the mountains or some remote island – is only getting faster and more demanding. Yet, wanting things “yesterday” under a rush typically causes problems, misunderstandings or fallouts. It happens in relationships, businesses, finance, healthcare, education, and on the road.

How many accidents happen because someone is rushing home or to the office… yet they never arrive?

How many businesses go broke (and families end up in despair) because someone rushes decisions that end up costing them a lot of money?

How many relationships fall to pieces because somebody wanted to rush in too fast?

Think about how many times you’ve made rash decisions that worked out badly. Now think of how poorly you’ve spoken to yourself afterwards. Do you call yourself stupid, inept, useless? Would you like to feel less of that and instead feel better about yourself? Would it help in your personal and professional relationships?

“A disciplined mind brings happiness.”
– Buddha

By taking a step back and looking at things from a more calm and measured place, we can decide, plan and act from a place of clarity. Of course, there will always be unexpected things popping up or some inevitable emergencies to deal with, and we can’t control everything (nor should we), although we can make better provisions for our short, mid and long term plans.

If you feel like you need to rush something, quite often the very thing you’ll really need to do is to stop, take a breath and contemplate what’s really going on; like an archer calmly taking aim before taking their shot on target. With this calm and focus he or she can then release the arrow. The same will happen with you. Once your plan of action is in place, once you know what’s required, then you can speed up. You can move with more agility, based on a more concrete strategy instead of willy-nilly, playing whack a mole.

Here’s what happens when you slow down to speed up later:

  • You lower your stress levels and improve memory
  • You improve your communication and relationships
  • You improve productivity and results

All of these things will positively impact your health and wellbeing. Less stress means less or no chest pain, back pain, dizziness, headaches, poor sleep, gut pain, ulcers and low energy, among other things. It means better concentration, which impacts your personal life and how you interact with the people around you.

Essentially it’s a way to reduce stress and mistakes – both personally, professionally and at a team level.

A key hormone released when you’re stressed, cortisol, has been linked to problems with memory. Stress is also closely linked to conditions such as depression and anxiety. These have also been suggested as factors that could increase the risk of dementia. 

Slowing down may seem counterintuitive, especially when you’re in a high-pressure, fast-decision working environment (or if you’re a race car driver). Yet, even in these environments we can prepare our minds in advance of these high-pressure situations, so that when we make decisions in the thick of it, we can create better results. Whether it’s meditation, making the time to write things down or simply breathing deep a few times before we step into a meeting or situation, all of these things will help us make better decisions and take better action.

It’s like being the adult amidst chaos when everyone else is throwing a tantrum like a tired 5 year old (all due respect to tired 5 year olds who don’t have a handle yet on managing their emotions or communicating effectively).

That’s why sometimes even in the PR world, answers don’t come swiftly so as not to fall into knee-jerk reactions that typically make situations worse. But this works in our personal communication too, so as not to end up having arguments.

In the end, everyone wins when we all slow down before speeding up.

In what area of your life do you feel you could benefit from slowing down before speeding up?

I’d love to know.

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