Slow down to get faster


I recently caught some of the Formula One race in Monte Carlo on TV and something happened which stuck in my mind. The leading driver, Lewis Hamilton, got something in his eye, and this problem caused him to lose precious seconds at the head of the race, and to lose time repeatedly lap after lap. He was complaining about his discomfort via his on-board radio but he didn’t at any time slow down to remove the eyelash – or whatever it was – nor did he take a pit-stop. If he had used some time to rectify the situation, he would have got faster again (his car was the best on the track) and could then have won more comfortably in the end, instead of risking his own safety for the sake of maintaining his speed (which was counter-productive anyway).

Sometimes, you just have to slow down to get faster. Slowing down gives you time to remove the hurdles, take the jumps and produce better quality in the long-run.

Take Sir John Franklin, the Arctic explorer, and the fascinating subject of Sten Nadolny’s book “The Discovery of Slowness”. In his book*, Nadolny portrays how a seeming disability enables Franklin to wait, because he must wait, and apply “slowness” to all things. As a consequence, he attains unimaginable victories which astonish the more ‘hurried’ multitude around him. His slowness is the secret to his success.

So, focus on the task at hand (although I’m NOT advocating perfectionism here!) and don’t multi-task, slow down in your work and see what happens – I’ll wager better quality, better nerves and a better sense of time overall.

Furthermore, if you’re building your business, take a pit-stop from time to time. You’ll find that the ‘breather’ you award yourself will pay dividends in the long run. You’ll be more refreshed and creative when you go back. This can be a short break every hour, or a full day off a week when you remove yourself completely from your work activities.

Beavering away like a power house might fit with your own perception of what it means to be a successful entrepreneur but sometimes, slowing down can be a chance to savour and enjoy the ride.

After all, life is a journey, and so is running your own business.
Have fun – and slow down!
Louise

*“The Discovery of Slowness” by Sten Nadolny: Original title die Entdeckung der Langsamkeit, translated from the German by Ralph Freedman, 1983 Viking Penguin

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3 thoughts on “Slow down to get faster

  1. I love this post. I did a post on my http://www.quirkybooks.wordpress.com blog which included the fact that I needed to charge my battery – “Here’s the story: I am feeling very tired, like I am now running on empty. I feel I need to ‘recharge my battery’ but instead of thinking just like that, I see myself as a Transformer robot and I have to plug myself into sleep, to recharge, re-energise and re-boot myself up again. (Action of rolling shoulders back, stood up straight and magnificent as I am returned to full strength and ready for the fight.) At the moment I feel like the Terminator being swallowed up in a pile of toxic sand that is corroding my metal body. My hand is reaching out to grab on to sleep. (Okay, so being an insomniac, I am usually good at living on not much sleep, but this is the point I am now at).” http://quirkybooks.wordpress.com/2014/06/08/do-you-see-your-life-being-told-in-stories/

    After the death of my Grandma recently, I have taken time out and I feel refreshed to a certain extent for it. It is amazing how much more productive we can be when we come back to do our duty. The only downside, I had missed an email for a great media opportunity that I hope I can salvage.

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