In praise of slowness at work
18 Jun 2020 | 4 minute read
I've always been a fast worker. Not only have I been fast, I've been taking a lot of pride in being fast. I get things done. That's me, you know. I get things done.
And I still do. Why? Because I love creating things. I absolutely and completely enjoy seeing ideas come to fruition. The magic of pushing the deploy button and seeing the idea that spawned during a walk with my dog becoming something graspable. Something real. If that idea takes to long to realise, I become agitated. I want it to happen. It has to happen. Hence, I've been putting ungodly hours on things to make them happen faster.
But for the past few years, another perspective of speed and fastness have started to unfold. A perspective that spawned from my then newly started meditation practice. The perspective of slowness.
Before I dive deeper into slowness, and my definition of slowness, let me introduce you to how my brain used to work.
Imagine yourself at an amusement park, walking down the colorful lanes. There are fun things to do everywhere. You're amazed by the magic of everything happening around you.
Wooow. You want to do this! And this! And that! Aaahh! I want to do everything!
And then you go do something, maybe go for a rollercoaster ride. And when you're on the peak of that ride you realize that hey, I want to do that instead! And at that point you simply forget all about your rollercoaster ride and go do something else. And when you're doing that other thing, you do it as fast as you can because you realise that you can do these other cool things.
And it goes on and on in this neurotic loop.
Simply put it, there are so many amazing things out there to do, and I wanted to do them all. Now. Unfortunately, life doesn't work that way. And it's not that efficient either if you want to create long-lasting value.
Even more unfortunately, this is how many businesses go on about their daily work. Ad-hoc, dopamine driven and going from one thing to another without much hesitation. Let's get back to that later.
Back to my brain.
If you can relate to how I perceived that my brain used to function, you probably know what that feels like. If not, I'll tell you.
It's like this amazingly good but also horrible relationship that you really should leave but never leave, the relationship that brings you to joy as much as it brings you to tears. Gives you just the equal amount of love and laughter as anxiety and stress. It doesn't make you feel safe and sound, but it gives you a crazy ride.
And I argue that when we are seeker, when we haven't found what we are looking for just yet, we are drawn to that. The rollercoaster ride of life. The high peaks and the rock bottoms. They make us feel like we're alive, doing something.
But by no means are they the only way to live your life, even though it might feel like it at that time.
Today, I am much more boring that I used to be. Much more boring. I would even argue that most people would say that I am living a boring life.
- I go to bed early enough for people to think I'm crazy (8:30-9:00 PM, my god).
- I don't enjoy the big city life.
- I'm very happy not buying things.
- I don't mind having very strong routines.
- I enjoy silence much, much, more than sounds.
- My dog, my partner, deep thinking time, a few close friends and family, jiu-jitsu and the gym is all I need to have a great week.
And how I am living my life today heavily correlates with how my brain functions. The amusement park scenario described earlier is no longer my default state of mind. It's vastly different.
I'm not saying that it's better or worse. Just different. My mind, and my life, is different from what it was. So what happened, and what do I va