I love this saying, as there is so much truth and wisdom in it. It sounds counterintuitive, after all slowing down and going fast are opposites right? Well, yes, they obviously are but in the context of being able to live a fulfilled life and reach your potential, it makes perfect sense.
We live our lives today at 100 miles per hour, and wear tiredness as a badge of honour. We’re not happy unless we are busy, but this causes more problems than it solves. Your health suffers as the lack of sleep reduces your immune system’s ability to ward off illness. Your relationships suffer through neglect, as you’re too busy to spend time with family and friends. Not to mention the fact that your creativity and ability to think clearly suffer the more tired you become. Why do his too yourself? Is it not better to be able to enjoy life now, while fighting for more?
This is where adults can learn an important lesson from children. One thing that struck me as a teacher, was how children slow down and take time to notice things and enjoy experiences. They don’t rush from one thing to another, but live in the moment. Why can’t we do the same?
When you slow down and take some time out for yourself, you will find ample opportunity to;
- Reflect. Take some time to revisit your goals and the progress which you have made until this point. What has worked well so far? What hasn’t gone according to plan, and what have you learned from it? Do your goals need to be adjusted? Are there any knowledge or skills gaps which you have identified, and can address?
- Refocus. That problem that you have been unable to solve for the past 3 weeks despite working on it night and day? Take a step back, do something fun for a while to unwind, and the answer may very well come to you. Not only that, but you will be getting back to work re-energised and refocused with a clear head. I’d say that’s with a timeout for an hour or 2.
- Work on your relationships. As your journey towards your goals picks up momentum, there is a danger that it consumes all of your time and attention to the point that you unintentionally neglect your relationships. Take some time to remind your partner or spouse how much you love them, and how they are the most important person in your life. Spend some time with family and friends. Let people know that you appreciate them.
- Focus on your physical and mental health. Long hours spent hustling, combined with a lack of sleep can wreak havoc on your body and mind. Catch up on some sleep, go for a bike ride, get in the gym, meditate, read or write in your journal. Whatever it is that you usually do to maintain your physical wellbeing and your mental health and happiness, do it. Do lots of it. It’s pointless striving hard for your goals only for your health to fail and you to burnout.
How do you find time for any of the above? Simple. MAKE TIME. Schedule an hour in your day to read, perhaps another hour for exercising and three hours in the evening for quality time with your family or friends. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. My examples require a total of 5, which leaves you with 19 hours to work on your personal and professional development and ensure that you get at least 7 hours of sleep. It sounds simple because it is. All it requires is some discipline, a little organisation and lot less time in front of the tv mindlessly watching rubbish while eating junk food.
Stop putting your life on hold. When you slow down, and take some time for yourself, you will be able to lead a fulfilled and happy life now while you work to become and achieve more.