In our society, Fast is intoxicating — and we crave it deeply. It flows through our blood like a drug. And we are taught early on that to be happy we need to earn, work and love quickly.
Why? When did this blistering pace become a benchmark? I found myself growing more anxious and unsettled when I looked at my life this way.
More and more though, I am starting to realize there is beauty in Slow:
As I started to dabble in investing and saving, I found that the secret in growing my money was not in quick scheming or stock picking or market timing. Rather, it was being boring and passive. I subscribed to Warren Buffett’s philosophy of “the art of doing nothing.” This meant choosing financial products that were simple and reliable — and then practicing patience. It was the idea in which you planned for the long game, where years mattered more than months. This slow approach reinforced something deeper for me: a mental attitude to pay yourself first. Even if you had to start small, you make it a point to save for your future — slowly and carefully. And over time, your money will work for you, and not the other way around.
After moving to a new city, I felt the unsettling feeling that I needed to go out and meet people immediately. I had to start finding friends or otherwise I would lose my chance. But the more and more I worried about making new friends, the harder it became to just relax and be myself. And I realized that deep friendships come from slowing down. My closest friends right now took years to make. And the reason why we are close is because we make it a priority to keep in touch — offline. I think that’s where the secret is. Slow friendship means taking the time to call, to connect, to plan trips, to see each other consistently. Not just through texts, tweets and chats. So I decided to take a new approach in my new city: take a breath and slow down. Give yourself time to meet people in person — over a coffee, over a drink. And let it evolve at its own pace. It’ll be worth it.
In your 20s, you find yourself constantly planning and scheming. You are told to think about how to plan two jobs ahead. And if you let yourself, you end up more distressed about getting somewhere vs. working smarter at your current job. Of course, a career plan is beneficial, but I argue there is a point of diminishing returns. Your career is so amorphous; it will constantly shift and change as the years go by. So I’m learning it’s better to just focus on doing your very best in your current job and learn as many skills as you can. Opportunity will come with time.
When I listen to stories of couples who go the distance, I hear one constant: time. Real, sustained love is a product of commitment and sacrifice and trust over years. It’s a slow burn that gets brighter with time. And that’s why I’m learning true love for someone can’t be forced quickly. It can’t be pushed and prodded or accelerated. So take your time to get to know people slowly — over multiple dinners, dates and conversations. And let the love grow slowly.
In a culture that praises Fast, I hope we can change so we value Slow. It might make all the difference.
Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and chase you. –John DePaola
Read more of my posts on life, business and technology on arjundesai.org