“Smile, breathe and go slowly.” — Thich Nhat Hanh
We tend to rush through most events in our lives. Some come into work at 8am on Monday, yearning for it to be 5pm on Friday. We plan months ahead for a vacation, only to find ourselves planning the NEXT vacation, all while STILL ON VACATION! This comes from an inability to live in the NOW. Suffering (including the feeling of being rushed) is a result of one’s inability to live in the Now by either fixating on the past or obsessing over the potential future.
Working in the world of Finance, every project is deadline driven. Clients want their deliverables yesterday! As a result, we tend to feel rushed at work. Personally, I have worked 12 hour days and by the end of the 12th hour, have no idea where the time went! At the end of those long days, I realize that I was consumed by busyness, not productivity. Our society has an obsession with busyness. Not productivity. Busyness. We are constantly moving. Constantly doing. This obsession with go, go go leaves us feeling mentally and physically drained. It only takes 15 minutes to write out a to-do list for tomorrow’s priorities, however many of us perceive these 15 minutes as wasted time that could have been better spent submerged in “busyness.” It is a tragedy that must be addressed!
Being rushed can harm our productivity, health, and happiness! It increases stress and anxiety while decreasing productivity and happiness! Conversely, slowing down has MANY benefits:
- Slowing down allows us to tap into deep states of Empathy. This helps to strengthen and enhance relationships we have with ourselves and others. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another individual. Conversely, when we are rushed, we tend to focus only on how WE feel. Lack of empathy leads to escalations of conflict, and feelings of isolation! The harder we push, the more likely we are to be met with resistance. Conversely, by slowing down, we learn to take deep breaths, relax, and listen to others. Slowing down allows us to actually listen and understand where our counterpart is coming from. By being able to “place ourselves in somebody else’s shoes,” we are better able to understand where that person is coming from and thus reinforce the relationship. As the saying goes, “God gave us 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason.”
- Slowing down allows us to enjoy the “process”, rather than solely enjoying the “outcome.” By focusing on the “process” or the “journey,” we experience immediate positive changes in our mood, presence, and overall happiness. The reason why so many of us rush is because we have bought in to the illusion that true achievement and satisfaction is found in the completion of some future event, instead of the present moment. However, true fulfillment is found in the NOW. It is found in every inhale. It is found in every exhale. By slowing down and learning to enjoy the process, one can quite literally BE happiness.
- Lastly, slowing down boosts creativity! I will be the first to admit, I enjoy filling my down time scrolling through Instagram and other social media apps. Once I deleted the apps for a few weeks, I found that this newfound silence during my downtime greatly improved my creativity AND productivity! The height of our creativity and productivity is not generated through constant thinking (the mind), it is generated through silence.
What are you in a rush for? We only get so much time here on earth. The mere fact that we are here is a miracle! Science says the probability of you existing at all comes out to 1 in 102,685,000. Yes, that’s a 10 followed by 2,685,000 zeroes! What’s more, the odds of becoming a human being is 400 trillion to 1! You’re more likely to win a $100m lottery 9 TIMES in your life, than being [INSERT YOUR NAME HERE]. So this weekend, SLOW DOWN! During transitional moments (i.e. before exiting your car, before waking into your house, before opening a door), take a deep breath and soak it up! Be here now! Enjoy.Every.Moment.