When I sat down this morning to re-read a research article that I didn't quite understand on first pass yesterday, I did as I normally do. I checked my email account, news feed subscriptions and my social media pages (LinkedIn and Twitter). Amongst the other things waiting for my attention was this article, originally posted by Tony Schwartz on the HBR Blog Network.
The article set me thinking. Why is it, in this so-called modern age of productivity, that we are simply so busy, trying to fit so much in to our lives? We use electronic diaries to keep track, and now they've come to rule our lives. We seem to be constantly "running". Going faster, but seemingly getting nowhere.
If I drive down the road quickly, my attention is devoted to the road. I don't see the wider vista, just the road. I drive to the short-term view immediately in front of me. And guess what? I stand a real chance of missing vital turning points. Ever wondered why car rally drivers have navigators beside them? Simply, they are driving too fast to also concentrate on bigger things like overall direction and goal.
So, back to the article. "Speed is a source of stimulation and fleeting pleasure. Slowing down is a route to depth, more enduring satisfaction, and to excellence". This is profound stuff. What do you aspire to? Speed and all its short-term trappings? Or significance? Perhaps it is time to slow down and find out.