Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Slow Down and Focus

The world most of us live in is hectic, fast-paced, fractured, hurried.
What’s more, most of us are conditioned to think this is the way life should be.

Life should be lived at break-neck speed, we believe. We risk our lives in cars and we break the speed limit, rushing from one place to another. We do one thing after another, multi-tasking and switching between tasks as fast as we can blink.

All in the name of productivity, of having more, of appearing busy, to ourselves and to others.

But life doesn't have to be this way. In fact, I’d argue that it’s counterproductive.

If our goal is to create, to produce amazing things, to go for quality over quantity, then rushing is not the most effective way to work. Slowing down and focusing is always more effective.

Rushing produces errors. It’s distracting to flit from one thing to the next, with our attention never on one thing long enough to give it any thought or create anything of worth.

Hurrying produces too much noise to be able to find the quiet the mind needs for true creativity and profound thinking.

So yes, moving quickly will get more done. But it won’t get the right things done.

The most important step is a realization that life is better when you move at a slower, more relaxed pace, instead of hurrying and rushing and trying to cram too much into every day. Instead, get the most out of every moment.

Is a book better if you speed read it, or if you take your time and get lost in it?

Is a song better if you skim through it, or if you take the time to really listen?

Is food better if you cram it down your throat, or if you savour every bite and really appreciate the flavour?

Life is better when unrushed. And given the fleeting nature of this life, why waste even a moment by rushing through it?

"Slow down and enjoy life.  It's not only the scenery you miss by going too fast - you also miss the sense of where you are going and why"
~~ Eddie Cantor

View for the Cahill Expressway, Sydney Australia. Walking with a friend last September, I stopped and took this photo after climbing the stairs. I love my city!


Marja said...

Hi Peggy This comes at the right time Yes we need to slow down. 2015 has been so hectic It all came to me lie a wave.
I am going to say no more often and like last year take time to dream and be creative. hope all is well over there and not too hot Here we have a hot summer month Oh and just listening to Jonathan Livingston seagull - Neil Diamond Cool song

miruspeg said...

Hi Marja
I feel we must take responsibility for our lives. We don't have to be like everyone else and madly rush around.
I am now walking and using public transport more often instead of driving which helps me to live in the present and I am learning not to overcommit myself as well.
Baby steps but hopefully in the right direction.

Glad you liked the song my friend.

Take care and big hugs
Peggy xxxxx

Christine said...

Great advice Peggy, something to always keep in mind. Love your photo too.

miruspeg said...

Hi Christine
I am trying to encourage myself to focus on the important things in life, writing about it certainly helps.

Pleased you liked the photo. I hadn't viewed the harbour from this aspect for many years.

Warmest hugs
Peggy xxxx

bill lisleman said...

I like your whole post but I found the second sentence so very truth and sorta scary. Are we conditioned this way because the world appears to focus on youth? The recent (recent has even taken on a shorter definition) YOLO idea seems to be focused on teens and young adults. It sure would be bad for all of us if too many give up on profound thinking. We are not all going to derive answers to deep mysteries but listening and paying attention to the possible answers/ideas can be a lifetime benefit.

miruspeg said...

Hey Bill
Thanks for your very interesting feedback.
As you know I am a big fan of profound thinking, lateral thinking and creative thinking. These types of thinking, encourage us to look at things in totally different ways.
YOLO is, I guess, similar to carpe diem....seize the day.

Keep on keeping on mate.
Peggy xxxxx

Beautiful Sky said...

Nice post Peggy. As you know I struggle with this. I get a sense of 'not enough time' - and it's horrible. It's easy to say our 24/7 society encourages us to rush, but I don't think it's the whole story. At the turn of the 20th century 'wash day' was a whole day! It took all day to do the washing of sheets in a big copper and then to get them dry. Maybe people felt as rushed then as we do now? Also, when you need to work long hours just to pay the bills, it doesn't leave much in the way of spare time. The luxury of spare time, if you have it, is not to be squandered.

miruspeg said...

Hello Beautiful Sky
As always you make some interesting observations.
Being born in the 1950's I don't recall experiencing the hectic pace of today's world.
There seemed to be more time to dream, to invent, to play.

If we work longer hours in the 21st century it's so we can pay for all our gadgets. Many people want the latest products which wasn't the case when I was growing up.

I recall my father bought me a second hand bike for Christmas and did it up to make it look brand new.....I was thrilled.

I feel very fortunate to have been born when I was, as I feel I've experienced the best of both worlds.

Peggy xxxxx

Lilly said...

Thought provoking post Peggy. It is very interesting indeed. I was saying something similar to one of my guests this morning. Slow down and enjoy your life more. He is 68, working furiously, sometimes 19 hour days and wonders why he is so tired. He doesn't need to keep working at this pace but does not want to give up. It is a choice for some I guess and for others less easy. However, none of us want to get to the end of our lives and have regrets about the way we lived our lives. wow, you always make me think. Glad you are posting again as you are so inspirational.

miruspeg said...

Hey Lilly
Lovely to read a comment from you!
The main object of these posts is to keep myself on track, to have, like you said no regrets, when my time to leave this plane arrives.
I don't want to plod through life, as I feel every moment on this earth is precious and offers an opportunity to learn, grow and evolve.

Hope you were able to plant a small seed in your guest's mind about "smelling the roses".

Take care dear friend
Big hugs
Peggy xxxxx

Can-Can said...

We have had so much snow in the last 3 weeks in Boston that it has forced us to slow down. The transportation system was shut down. Many streets are challenging to navigate whether walking or driving. Lots of events have been cancelled or postponed. While technology allows a lot of us to still do some work, we have had to "take a chill pill." Trying to make the most of it, rather than fight it.
I've really been practicing being mindful - cooking while I'm cooking, eating while I'm eating, reading while I'm reading, etc.
Thanks for your post.

miruspeg said...

Hey Candelaria
Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.
Isn't it interesting how events, if we let them, help us focus on mindfulness.

Hope your journey continues my friend when the snow subsides, because living in the present moment isn't easy, but it is highly rewarding.

Keep shining
Peggy xxxxx