A couple of years ago when I was in Berlin, Germany, I gave a keynote presentation titled “Mastering your Mind” at an exclusive invite-only Private Equity event. The location was beautiful – a venue tucked away in what appeared to be an unused industrial building. After my talk, one of the guests came up to me and said “I really need to slow down my life. My whole family needs to slow down. It’s just too hectic.”
I responded to him by asking “Are you driving and walking any faster than you normally do?” He looked at me a little puzzled and replied “No.” I said, “Then you don’t need to slow down but rather what you need to do is simplify. Life is not going any faster for you than it was before. It may be more full of things you’ve taken on but definitely not going any faster. The earth as far as I know is still spinning at the same rate. We still have 24-hours in a day…not a second more or less.”
The fact that you have taken on a lot more responsibilities or commitments in life gives you the impression that you are going faster when in essence you are not. You have more things going on so you spend less time with each thing and you switch from one thing to another frequently in hopes of getting it all done because you can’t concentrate on one thing long enough to actually bring it to completion. All this tells you then that you are going too fast and you need to slow down.
But the fact is you are not going any faster. You are not peeing any faster. You are not breathing faster all day. You are not sleeping faster.
So, don’t say slow down. Say simplify instead. Say “I need to simplify my life. I need to do fewer things each day. I need to be doing things that are aligned with my priorities in life and stay focused on just doing these things because these things are what is truly important to me.”
Simplify! Simplify! Simplify!