I’m 43 and I have been in a hurry to get somewhere my whole life. By somewhere I mean some goal or some dream I have been pursuing. I find myself wanting to get there now. I didn’t know I’d stumble upon a simple trick that could help me achieve my goals, and help you achieve your goals, until now.
Have you been in a hurry too?
Some of us are looking for that perfect weight, a career goal, a certain relationship, the chance to do what we think we were born to do.
We want to hurry up and get through the right now to get to the not yet.
I am crossing my fingers that I am not the only one who feels like this because then I am just writing this whole thing to myself.
Well, maybe that’s who I always write to anyway: me.
But, maybe just maybe, you need to remember with me one thing:
Life is not a race or a competition, despite our inclination to make it so.
Lucky me, I was recently able to travel to Southeast Asia with my oldest daughter on a tour over spring break. What we saw abroad was beautiful and the time we spent together was priceless. But, I also was able to ponder something while thousands of miles away from home.
It was about slow. Not slowing down (although that’s good, too), but rather, about how getting where you want to be takes time.
It takes a lot of patience, and commitment, and just plodding away. It takes a lot of deep breaths and tiny movements forward.
On busy streets and chaotic corners in the places my daughter and I visited, there were millions (at least it seemed like it) motorbikes. They swarmed like bees or flocks of birds around cars, tuk-tuks, buses, rickshaws, and people. It was mesmerizing to watch them.
Mesmerizing and a little crazy.
The very first day of our tour, our guide gave us the best advice … broadly applicable, I believe. We stood on a sidewalk and saw our destination 30 feet away on the other side of a busy, busy street. There were no crosswalks or stoplights in sight. He looked at us and stepped into the street, five hundred vehicles hurtling toward him and he said, “Slowly, slowly.”
The rest of us in our little group looked at each other with that, “This guy is crazy,” wide-eyed grimace that is universally understood without words.
Yet, he said again, “Slowly, slowly, walk across the street, do not run, go slowly and they will go around you.”
So, we huddled close to the guide putting our lives in his hands and slowly, slowly, slowly walked across the craziest road I’ve ever seen.
You see, in this part of Southeast Asia (I haven’t been to all the parts), running across the street is a certain invitation to at the very least broken bones and tire marks running across your back. Hurrying can kill you.
Woah, it hit me. How well does this apply to life and trying to get where I think I am going?
Time, expectations, worries, trials; they all come hurtling at me like a swarm of motorbikes. I do not think I will make it through the crush. So, I hike up my skirt and I run … to my detriment.
When really what I need to do is stop, and slowly, slowly step into the fray and one step at a time, move forward. All the things that I worried about or fretted over, they get dealt with, or even move aside when I calmly take things in stride.
And, I eventually get where I am going.
Of course, we know Rome wasn’t built in a day. You won’t accomplish all your dreams lickety-split. Be patient and go slowly one step at a time.
You’re less likely to get run down (literally and figuratively) by the thundering herd. You are much more likely to be successful if you are willing to take it slow and steady to get to your goal.
Instead, you ought to get up each day, think about the goal—whatever it is, and then take the one step you can forward for that day.
It’s just one step. Not a leap, not a sprint.
Near the end of our trip, my daughter and I decided to get up early to walk around a nearby lake. We had to brave the streets by ourselves without our guide. I felt like we were part of a beautiful ballet as we slowly, slowly moved. Vehicles of every type glided around us.
Of course, we made it across. And I couldn’t stop thinking, This is life. This one by one, moment by moment, one inch by one inch until we get where we are going kind of life.
No more mamby-pamby, crazy hurtling way ahead of ourselves. Too much is lost (sanity, joy, peace, to name a few).
If you want to get where you are going, just get there slowly, be in the moment, and you are sure to make it.