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  • Writer's pictureGladys Agwai

The art of living slowly: embrace life’s rhythms for true and lasting fulfillment!

Too many people are constantly racing through life, seeking immediate gratification, and chasing the next adrenaline rush. While the need for speed can be thrilling and provide a sense of accomplishment, it comes with its own set of problems and drawbacks. For example, Peter prioritized speed when supporting his family. He was a successful professional with a demanding job that required long working hours.

He believed that providing for his family financially was the most critical aspect of being the head of the household. He used shortcuts to manage family responsibilities, such as, limited quality time for meaningful conversations and delegating parenting responsibilities to his partner who also worked, like, the children’s education, health, or extracurricular activities. He was emotionally disconnected to his family who yearned for his attention and guidance but rarely received it.

Momentum is important in evaluating your progress in life. You want to feel like you are moving towards a greater future and believe you need to go fast to succeed as you saw with Peter. Do not focus on speed but legacy. Your daily habits, the drugs and information you consume, and the stories you focus on all impact your need for speed. Do you need to slow down? If you do not slow down, chronic stress will be generated. Your pursuit of speed leads to high levels of stress, as you constantly push yourself to meet deadlines, achieve goals, and keep up with the fast pace of life. The unrelenting pressure of working and family pressures resulted in the burnout and a state of exhaustion for Peter’s wife with a negative impact on their children. Racing through life leads to superficial experiences. You are unable to fully engage within the present moment. Peter was always thinking about the next task or the next accomplishment.

This hindered his ability to see the destruction of his behavior. You may prioritize your career, achievements, or material gains at the cost of neglecting your relationships, physical health, and personal well-being. As Peter and his wife experienced, this lack of balance can lead to a sense of emptiness and dissatisfaction despite outward success. Short-term gains and instant gratification are prioritized.

While this can lead to quick wins, you often sacrifice long-term goals and sustainable happiness. It is crucial that you understand why your need for speed exists in the first place:

• Our modern society places a significant emphasis on speed and efficiency. You are bombarded with messages that encourage you to do more in less time which is overwhelming.

• The digital age has conditioned you to expect instant results. From fast food to on demand streaming, you have grown accustomed to having your desires fulfilled immediately in all areas of your life.

• The fear of missing out on opportunities or falling behind drive the need for speed. In a world where everyone “seems” to be constantly achieving more, it is easy to push yourself harder and faster to keep up.

The consequences when choosing to live life in the fast lane can be devastating. Peter finally understood how the lack of quality time spent with loved ones can erode trust and intimacy. Do not lose yourself and those you need! Have an intentional approach to life to savor experiences rather than rushing through them. Here are some strategies to facilitate making an intentional shift:

• Look at your current lifestyle and how the need for speed is affecting your well-being and happiness.

• Identify your most important and meaningful long-term objectives, values, and priorities.

• Engage in mindfulness practices to help you reduce the impulse to rush through life.

• Reevaluate your time management practices allocating time for short and long-term goals.

• Seek support to receive valuable insight, accountability, and encouragement.

The intrinsic value in moving from a need for speed to a slow and steady approach is not about avoiding speed altogether but finding a harmonious balance. This allows you to fully engage, pursue meaningful goals, and savor the journey toward personal fulfillment and contentment. Give yourself the time and space to enjoy the simple pleasures, engage with hobbies and the people you love, and appreciate the beauty of the world around you. You will become more resilient enduring setbacks and persevering in the face of challenges. By understanding the reasons behind your need for speed, recognizing the problems, and making the shift, you can ensure the quality of your experiences take precedence over the speed at which you move through them.

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.” Mahatma Gandhi

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