We are a fast-moving culture. We don’t like sitting still. In fact, we take pride in how busy our lives are. Yet in the midst of our fast paced society, we’ve lost one thing: the value of being slow.
People always try to rush me, and if I’m being honest, I don’t like it.
I don’t like a workplace that focuses more on getting something done rather than how effective that something is. I don’t like feeling pressured or like I’m playing catch up. I like taking my time with things, not because I can’t go fast, but rather because I don’t like rushing life.
The reality is, we don’t need to rush life. We don’t need to hurry from one place to another or one task to the next.
We can’t change the speed of life; we can only change what we get out of it. And if we choose to slow down, breathe in the pauses of life, then we’ll reap better results.
A slower life begets a meaningful one. If you’re struggling with whether you should slow down with life or not, here are just a few reasons to convince you to do so:
1. If you slow down, people won’t expect you to do everything.
Reality check: you can’t do everything. You wish you could juggle fifty different tasks, but you can’t. Yet, if you haven’t noticed, the reason people expect you to do everything is because you agree to do everything. If you slow down and put a limit on what you can do, then people won’t come to you for everything they need done. They’ll instead come to you because they’ll know you do a great job at getting done what matters to you.
2. You can master what you want.
The more you spread out your time among different tasks, the harder it’ll be to hone in on your passion and work to develop it. However, if you go slower with life, you’ll be able to devote more time to developing what you love to do.
3. You’ll better be able to focus on details.
A recent study measured that in 2013, the average attention span of an American was 8 percent, which is shorter than a goldfish. In our fast living, we have reduced our attention. As a result, our detail has suffered. With only eight seconds of attention, we do what we need to, only to make a mistake we don’t return to later. If you slow down, you won’t miss the details you often overlook.
4. You won’t live with unrealized expectations of yourself.
If you’re like me, you’ve beaten yourself up for not getting done everything that you’ve wanted to get done in a day. When we move fast, we have expectations of ourselves that are hard to meet. Instead of meeting those expectations, we get frustrated and discouraged. But when we slow down, we can see the truth of what we are capable of. We can then set the bar at a more reasonable height for ourselves.
5. You won’t stress about time.
People who move too fast worry about deadlines too much. Their calendars, schedules, and clocks have mastered them. However, there is a chance to break free from this bondage. If you slow down, time will release its grip on you, and you won’t get so worked up by oncoming deadlines.
However, it should be stated that I am not suggesting you avoid deadlines. Just don’t let deadlines affect your mental state. In other words, don’t stress about time. It’ll remain the same whether or not you choose to worry about it.
6. You’ll say yes to the things that matter.
People who rush through life oftentimes end up saying no to life-giving opportunities. They see time as a finite resource, something that should be used to getting done work, not for health.
It’s true that time is finite, but it’s not true that you can’t do what you want with time. There is enough time to go out with friends or meeting up for coffee. If you slow down, you’ll be more prone to say yes to these opportunities.
7. You won’t interrupt yourself.
I said this before: we have short attention spans. With our attention gone haywire, we tend to interrupt ourselves while doing work or while living day-to-day. We often forget what we have to do next or what we meant to do a couple seconds ago. In other words, we stumble on an unnecessary interruption.
Fast living dissolves better thinking. Learning to live slower helps us avoid interruption and truly concentrate.
8. You’ll become a better decision maker.
The workplace takes prides in quick thinkers. But today, most decisions are complex. When we decide something quickly, we often skip over a crucial element worth considering. Slowing down, however, will give you the ability to give equal attention to all aspects of a decision.
9. You won’t be a ghost to your loved ones.
A strange thing surrounds people who rush through life: their loved ones talk about them as if they’re dead. They say things like “I miss them” or refer purely to memories when they speak of them.
This doesn’t have to be you. You don’t have to be a memory to your loved ones. By slowing down, you can instead concentrate more on making new memories with them.
10. You’ll probably discover you’re not that busy.
People in college were really stressed about “being busy.” But truth was, they had a lot of time on their hands. All they did was go to class and do homework. The reason most of them said they were busy was because they didn’t use the free time they did have wisely. They rushed because they wasted time doing other things.
By slowing down, you’ll probably see that your fast living was really the result of you not using your time wisely. You’re probably not as busy as you imagine yourself to be, but because you’re moving too fast, you don’t pause to see whether you are or not.
Moving too fast in life is an epidemic of our culture, but it doesn’t have to consume us.
If we choose to slow down, focus on the here and now, I believe life won’t be filled with stress or unhealthy habits. Instead, moving at life’s slow, methodic, and luxurious pace will heal us. It will give us the strength and energy to make a difference with our work and day-to-day life. And that, I believe, is worth slowing down for.
Photography by Mikaela Hamilton