“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”
Matthew Broderick, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
The modern world is fast and busy, ceaseless communication that comes at us from all around. The seeming urgency to reply to emails at all hours. The globalisation of business means that business can come from and go to anywhere. The endless supply of content and news that comes from friends or official channels. The pace of life which seems to mean ‘busy’ is the new normal.
There are great advantages to this technological and societal change in pace, but there are also issues and problems. Are we taking the time to ponder decisions? Spending time with loved ones? Responding to emails with care and attention? Researching the way we should do something or indeed spending the time to take care of ourselves, both mind and body?
I am not advocating that we spend the entirety of every day sitting under a tree watching the butterflies meander over the field, pondering the meaning of life, even if that would be quite nice. But would an hour every other day harm you?
Generally success is not made in great leaps, but from steady, deliberate progress. Putting one foot in front of the other, it takes time. The overnight star is a marketing fiction that hides the decades of work. Therefore, is the rush to succeed itself just a fiction? Maybe we do need to slow down a little, take one step at a time.
“Small steps may appear unimpressive, but don’t be deceived. They are the means by which perspectives are subtly altered, mountains are gradually scaled, and lives are drastically changed.”
Richelle E. Goodrich
I believe we need to slow down to succeed. If you know me, or get to know me, you would be surprised to hear me say that, most assume I pack a lot into a day and I do, but I also make time to take time over things. I get up at around 5am most days of the week, but generally spend the first couple of hours, breathing, meditating and exercising, allotting time to take care of myself. Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger (his business partner) have said on many occasions that they spend most of their day reading and they have done so since before they were the richest men on the planet. They take time to study what they do.
We need to take time out to focus on important things and move them forward one step at a time. Now what is important to each of us varies and what we want to succeed in varies from one person to the next, though the fundamental principles are the same whatever you wish to do in life.
To give you an example from my life, I am loathe to be under pressure to respond to emails immediately, unless they are legitimately urgent. I frequently respond saying I will get back to them soon with a more detailed response. Indeed, I have taken to picking up the phone with increasing frequency to make arrangements, but that is an aside to my main thrust of this thought today.
So perhaps taking that cup of coffee and thinking about that email you need to respond to or going for a walk to help plan your next steps in business and moving along at a steady pace, like the tortoise in the fables of the past, is the surest way to get to the finish line.
Slowly and deliberately yours,