“Life’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
-Dr. Phil (maybe)
That quote feels good when you read it, but deep down you’re like:
“Why do I feel like I’m running at full speed ALL THE TIME, then?”
Well, because you are. Everyone is.
We get up and give the wife a quick peck as we sprint into the shower. From the shower it’s a dash to the coffee maker to pour out your liquid gold to start the day. Then you zip outside to see how quickly you can get to work and begin to feel tense and miserable because the day has begun.
You see, Dr. Phil is right in a sense. Life is a marathon from the aspect of its longevity. It’s going to last a while.
But we aren’t treating it as such. We are all doing our best Usain Bolt impressions, sprinting from conversation to conversation and task to task without stopping to take a breath.
Let’s explore how slowing down, playing the long game, and being more present in the craziness of your day can prove to speed up your success.
Connecting with people can’t be rushed, but we spend our time with others just trying to get to the next interaction.
“How are you doing?”
“Fine, how are you?”
“Great, thanks for asking.”
Onto the next one.
The surface area of our conversations is vast, but the depth of them is pretty shallow.
Slowing down and actually holding space for a conversation is so rare and so cherished. It is the key that could unlock the deepest connections you’ve ever experienced.
Your romantic relationship will grow to unthinkable levels.
Your bond with close friends will become envy inducing.
Your connection with your family will make you actually enjoy going home for the holidays.
Now, don’t get it twisted. Just because you slow down to talk to people, doesn’t mean that each and every conversation will be sprinkled with glitter and rainbows. There will be tough conversations and tense talks.
But when you and the person your spending time with sit with those awkward exchanges for a meaningful amount of time, you’ll find that the knots that your relationship has been tied up in will loosen. You’ll both feel lighter. And as a result, future exchanges will be more glittery and rainbow-like.
In Your Career
Ahhhh the workday. A time when we run around trying to check things off our to-do list without checking in with ourselves, those around us, or the world at large.
Slow. The F. Down.
By being present with each task in front of you, you’ll spend less time worrying about what time it is, and more time making sure you do the job well. You may feel that by doing this, you aren’t using your time efficiently.
“But I can do two things at once, Nick!”
No, no you can’t. I promise you. Not two things that engage your brain anyway. Sure, you can walk and talk at the same time, or workout and chew gum simultaneously. But if you try to do two or more things that involve your brains help all at the same time, you will get none of them done with any sort of success.
You can’t read a book while driving, because you will either crash your car or not understand a word you read.
You can’t be diligent in working through that spreadsheet while also playing with your fantasy football roster, because you’ll either miss something important in your spreadsheet or you’ll start Joe Flacco by mistake. Never start Joe Flacco.
The point is, if you just stopped trying to juggle a handful of tasks all at once, you’d accomplish a lot more.
In Your Health
Have you ever fallen for a workout plan that offered you a 6-pack in six weeks or a diet that sold you on rapid weight loss?
If you’re nodding along with a shameful grin, you’re not alone.
This is where the health and fitness industry makes its money. Suckers like you (and me) line up with a fistful of cash, ready to throw it at anything that promises some quick and easy results.
But if you look around at the gym, the guys that are in good shape have been at it for years. They’ve been playing the long and patient game of consistent exercise and a balanced diet while you’ve been bending their ear about keto, your new fancy workout plan, and any other trendy health option that lured you in.
Rather than looking for the next quick fix to your fitness, just take a cue from the guys that have put in the work and have gotten results. Slow down the process of getting in shape and invest in the long haul.
By giving it more time, you’ll create a better foundation. You won’t lose 10 pounds, then gain 15, then crash diet to get back to square one. You can play it slow and steady and maintain a healthy physique.
Marinate your fitness, don’t microwave it. Be patient and give it time. Your results will be better in the long run.
Time and patience can be your friend in the fast forwarded world we all operate in. Your presence will contrast the behavior of everyone else so clearly that you will stick out like a sore thumb (anyone have the origin of that random saying?).
Slow down and you may just find that you’re accelerating your progress in life.
Enjoy the ride, Sir Tortoise. Slow and steady will win the race.