July 2020 Food for thought

Why Pause for a few Seconds?

I used to live my life at 100 miles an hour, so much of the time. I was like the fabled frog in water that is slowly brought to the boil. Now I think that particular myth has been debunked but the fact is that there have been a number of times in my life, when the ‘treadmill’ had speeded up and I didn’t notice it, until I was out of breath and about to collapse in a heap. 

When I’m living at break neck speed, I make more mistakes, it’s harder to keep going and my productivity and success flags. 

The same for our minds. The pace at which we’re operating is matched by a speeding up in our minds and not only are we trying to keep up, we want to get ahead of the game. More often than not, that brings about feelings of undue stress and pressure. Our thinking gets distorted and/or we get caught into old pathways of thought that have been forged over many years that can lead us down a dark alley. 

Slowing down is the new speeding up

Now there are times when old schools of thought are needed. But in these days, when we’re facing the unknown, the old ways don’t work and we need new and fresh thinking. Before we can access that, we need to let the old habituated thinking pass by first. 

Which is why I suggested this reflection this month. When we stop and let the first thought, the second thought and maybe even the third thought pass by, what starts to happen is that something new shows up. If you wait for a new thought, the conversation may go in a whole different direction.  

In that space, that I also refer to as ‘below the line’ thinking, is the source of new ideas, creativity and novel thinking. When we take the time to slow down, we have access to a much wiser source of information than our ego and intellect.  

When I’m in conversation, I slow my pace down. I pause before I speak and invariably something fresh turns up, that I wouldn’t have expected.  

When I notice that my pace of life has increased, I stop, take a pause and wait for wisdom to speak to me. I slow down because I know that in doing so I will speed up.  

When I slow down, take my time I make less mistakes, my productivity shoots up and I end up doing more than I ever expected, like write and publish a book in four months. 

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