Right now, I am sitting in my room in Bali overlooking some rice paddies and doing ... nothing.
I guess that's not entirely accurate since I'm typing this blog post but you get what I mean.
I don't remember the last time I just relaxed like this. I have always been about getting things done and being productive but these last couple of days in Bali really made me realize the importance of slowing down.
Our society (in New York at least) values productivity and living life quickly. It seems that the faster you can live your life, the more "competent" you are. Unfortunately there are some dangers to always living life on the fast lane:
You are going to break down
Whether it's our car, our computer or our body. If we run at full speed all the time, we're going to break down. In certain situations, full speed may be appropriate but for the most part we're better off slowing down to our optimal speed, which is almost always not our top speed. Even at our ideal speed, rest is necessary to make sure our bodies recover. Are you fitting rest into your schedule? If not, read How to Sleep Your Way to Success by clicking here.
You will miss things
When I was in Japan and rode the bullet train (Shinkansen) from Kyoto to Tokyo, I found it interesting that I can see the scenery if I looked ahead but when I looked sideways out the window, everything was a blur. Although moving fast will help us get to our destination faster, we often miss interesting things along the way. How often do we really "stop to smell the roses"?
You will become a boiled frog
To boil a frog, we cannot just put it in hot water because it'll jump out right away. To successfully boil a frog, we must gradually turn up the temperature. When the temperature rises slowly, the frog does not perceive the change and will stay in the water until it is fully cooked. When we move at a fast pace, we're not much different from a frog because we become insensitive to gradual changes in our lives. How many people are unaware of their bad health and deteriorating relationships until it's too late?
Slowing down does not always mean doing our tasks slower. It is more about being in the present moment as opposed to always moving towards the future. We do not know what is going to happen tomorrow so why not make sure we take some time to enjoy ourselves in the present moment as opposed to deferring it all for the uncertain future.
Remember the tortoise and the hare? Be the tortoise.
Robert Chen is the founder of Embrace Possibility and author of The Dreams to Reality Fieldbook. He helps people who feel stuck move forward by guiding them to see other possibilities for their lives. He specializes in working with high performers get to the next level. If you're going through a tough time right now, check out Robert's article on How to Feel Better Right Away and if you're having trouble getting what you want out of life, check out How to Always Achieve Your Goals.