We are constantly told to slow down, that slowing down enables us to perform better. Yet conversely we are continually told to speed up – be more productive – drive yourself, become optimised. Work hard to be successful.
Take Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow, or articles from Harvard Business Review citing their study into businesses that ‘slowed down’ to realise 40% increase in sales and 52% higher operating profits than their fast counterparts. These cite specific benefits of both slow and fast.
I saw the benefits of this in action this month.
I recently took the time to walk the South Downs Way, 100miles, West to East overlooking the south coast of England. No contact, no work, no connection – so how was I being productive, improving, developing – enabling myself to be successful? By doing exactly that.
The role of thinking, reflection (what most will call mindfulness) is merely a way to percolate, calibrate and importantly build out our experience. Our decision making, management, and design are limited to our sphere of experience. By extending that sphere of experience you have a greater frame of context against which to build and make decisions, whilst giving yourself the chance to relax!
I was able to resolve a couple of business challenges, identify new opportunities and balance out some of those key things in life that can be forgotten in the rush.
Thinking fast and slow I like to term ‘considered haste’. Rushing, being busy and speed on their own can be detrimental. Equally, slow and sedate can be detrimental. But together they compliment each other perfectly.
Sometimes we should not focus on what an activity can do for us in terms of that continuous drive, but just be pleasantly surprised by what comes from slowing down!