Speaker | Entrepreneur | Author

Sam Davidson's blog

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Getting Slower

The default state of the world is speed. The quest to do things these days, whether it's flip a company, travel to an island, or make a bunch of widgets is the continual quest to do it all more quickly than someone else.

"How long will it take?" seems to be more important than "Is it worth it?" or "Does this matter?"

I've started slowing down my mornings. And my evenings.

I rise early, but no longer is my morning pursuit about speed, seeing how many emails I can answer before daybreak. My mornings are about the slow creation of content, the slow sipping of coffee, and the slow intake of wisdom I find online or in books.

At coffee last week, I had the luxury of slowness. My schedule was open all morning, so I sat and talked with new friends and didn't worry about what was next. We talked about parenting, travel, marriage, God - the stuff of slow conversations, topics that if rushed lose any sort of meaningful application.

It's spring here and the days are slow as the sun takes its time before setting in the evening. Nature doesn't rush, you know. So my family enjoys the slow preparation of meals and the slow stroll around the block after eating or the slow drawing on the sidewalk with chalk. Besides, there's no point in rushing a three-year-old through anything.

Slow is our natural state. That's why we humans do very poorly when things get faster. We make mistakes, overlook important processes, and neglect crucial things that take time to grow: gardens, relationships, legacies, community.

By making time in the mornings for things like toast I find I have more time the rest of the day, during those supersonic periods called workdays, where deadlines matter and efficiency is king. I'm rested and focused and can tackle a to-do list with prowess, knowing that my tango with quickness will eventually come to a close when I drive to school to pick up my daughter and slow time begins. The clock may have part of my day, but not all of it.

The earth will not spin faster or slower based on our rushing around or our napping. She rotates over and over, not asking if she's going too fast or we'd like to skip a turn.

We, too, need that methodical movement, something that both pulls and pushes us toward what's next, all the while understanding that the quest for speed is a foolish one, especially compared to the time-intensive quest for being.