Sometimes being “slow” can be a valuable characteristic. Being “slow” can make you a better decision maker, and promote creativity. If you have read my book, you will know that I credit my persistence, in part, for helping me get to my goals. I have also said many times that I would have preferred getting to my goals a little faster. And of course, knowing what I know now and how to do the work involved in creating a life true to my Self, my next life design would definitely be swifter in its implementation. However, there is value in being "slow” and sometimes even being "stopped" for a short time.
I had a boss once who gave me this advice when I was dealing with what I thought was an either/or decision to make. She said, "Judith, do not forget that you always have another choice and it is to do nothing, at least for now." So many times I have been grateful for that counsel. When I decided to make that choice, the time it gave me to de-stress and let in alternate ways of thinking was key to getting better results later.
So you have done the analysis, the work involved in creating a picture of the life you want to have. Your goals are clear. You are sure of your path. Then suddenly you feel an unease as you face making a choice between two or three possibilities. You feel stressed, and you even start allowing distractions to fill up your time. When you try to face up to making the decision which for you feels like being between a rock and a hard place, you accuse yourself of procrastination, of being too slow. Here is where my former boss' advice comes in handy. Remember that you always have another choice; you can do nothing, at least for now.
This is like being given permission to take a deep breath, relax and wait for new thoughts to come into play. Your persistent mind doesn't like it one bit but your creative open mind loves it. The window is now open and you may even end up discovering that another idea flies in that is indeed better, or a combination of your seemingly separate ideas is a possibility.
Perhaps an overnight or even a week's stay of execution of the decision is called for. I have even awakened after a good night's sleep with an answer in my head to solve a dilemma. If you call yourself a cook you already know the value of the setting "simmer" on your stove. Persistence is a great character trait to have. Just beware of allowing it to give you 'tunnel vision" and keeping you unhappily stuck along the way through.
Sometimes solving a problem can become an obsession, taking all your energy, your time, and especially your creative thinking time. You have your eye on the end of the tunnel; this is your focal point, and you become determined to stay on course. You are essentially closed in, removed from outside stimuli. This is the perfect time to step back and evaluate your process. Some time used at this point may very well prompt you to change direction to allow for a move forward to a decision without the problem itself which was causing so much stress.
A perfect example of this was an experience I had working as a consultant with a team of food service professionals on a very large project of menu revision. The team was focusing on one menu item which was not receiving good reviews. They tried various ways of changing it to make it more palatable. This trying to solve this problem with one menu item was taking all of their time, causing much frustration until my boss was called in to give us some advice. Her advice was, "Just take it off the menu for now” and just like that the problem was solved. I call that taking some slow time to evaluate one's progress in order to make better time overall.
Speaking of tastes, getting the full flavour of a meal or even an event is just not possible at full speed ahead. Slow savouring the experience is the only way to truly appreciate its value. One day in my past 9 to 5 work life, I was, as usual, rushing here and there getting from one place to another in the course of my work day. I took a shortcut through a hotel lobby, a magnificent and elegant place with the most beautiful marble floor. I stopped to look and noticed a small girl sitting on the floor and slowing swirling around. In the midst of all those people, easily a hundred or more, only one small girl was experiencing the coolness, the beauty, of that marble floor. I remember it today as an important life prompt for me to slow down, stop and really look at the world around me.
Interested in reading more about the value of being Slow? Take a look at In Praise of SLOW (How a worldwide movement is challenging the cult of speed)
by Carl Honore.
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