Like the rabbit in the Tortoise and the Hare, our minds are always going full boar, racing ahead toward the finish line to get more done. We feel almost a sinister pleasure as we pass that car, fit in one more errand, or write one last email – as if we beat the opponent of time.
But everybody has a limit. At night, your body and mind collapse on the couch, in strange mixture of exhaustion, pride, and irritability.
“Feed me,” says your soul. So, we grab for food, television, or some outside stimulus to relax. But that’s not what it wants. It wants fulfillment, laughter, play, connection, love.
Only it’s too late. The day is done, and although we beat the clock, we lost the race.
But there’s another way. A riskier way. It is the way of the tortoise, and it wins the race every time.
The tortoise desires to accomplish like the hare, but at a much slower pace. He sees the trees as he moves by, notices the people on his path. He isn’t trying to “get ahead” or beat the clock.
He knows he is walking and accepts the walk. He looks around in his day because he made the decision to do so.
He is open to opportunities because he is not rushing, he’s meandering. His mind is on the moment because his body is moving at a place the moment exists.
If we want to get more done, paradoxically, we need to slow down. Why?
When we slow down:
- We have more energy. We aren’t burning up adrenaline, trying to run a race. We are more clear headed, intentional, and calm.
- We give ourselves time to make choices. We give ourselves time to notice our feelings and needs around a situation to see what feels right for us. Whereas, racing means deciding quickly without reflection, leaving only thoughtless reactions. And how many times have we had to apologize for a reaction, saying, “I wasn’t thinking”?
- We have a direct experience of our life rather than a daily report. We notice the blooming dogwoods around us. Say hi to the bank teller because we see another person, not a task. And rather than gulp down our food, we appreciate the texture, taste, and nourishment it offers.
We become an active participant in our lives when we slow down.
We see, we hear, we feel, we notice. We’ve been present with ourselves all day, not just glancing up an hour before we go to sleep.
We are fed, we are filled, and we are fulfilled.
Slowing Down to Get More Done