Thursday, 8 November 2012

Have You Tried Doing It Slowly?

One aspect of life that I absolutely love, is the fact that we never stop learning.  we can never 'know it all' and as soon we begin to feel quite wise in our years, life reminds us of how little we actually know.

Take this morning for example.

I was shaving - something I've been doing now for almost 30 years, when I discovered something new.  Using a new blade, I was inspired to press ever so slightly harder, and to slow down.  Not that I usually shave fast I might add - I shave like I imagine anyone else with a thousand things to do might shave.  This morning, it was different.

I slowed right down, and found that I got a much closer shave, with less irritation, and no cuts.  Even my neck, either side of my Adam's apple, where I can be prone to a razor rash - a smooth closer shave.

I got to thinking.  Firstly, how I could miss this simple fact after shaving most days for 30 years.  Secondly, how sometimes simply slowing down can greatly improve all areas of life.

Slow Down and Do More?

In my book "Seven Paths to Freedom", I mention the many benefits of getting up a little earlier, and having some 'quiet time' each morning before the rest of the world leaps out of bed to chase their tails all day.

While shaving today, I was reminded of that, and the strange effect slowing down can have on your day.

Imagine two people typing the same manuscript for a magazine.  one is stressed, and is allowing the strict 1 hour deadline to make him type twice as fast as he usually would.  Let's say the second person has decided to slow everything right down - she is not going to be fazed by the pressure, and is 'going with the flow' today.

The man finishes first after just 40 minutes, and begins to spell check and alter his many spelling and grammatical errors. As he does so, the lady finishes hers after 55 minutes.

A quick speed check, a sigh of relief, and her manuscript is ready for the editor.  The man, growing more and more frustrated, is still correcting his mistakes as the hour deadline is reached, and he admits defeat.

There's a hint of 'The Hare and the Tortoise' in that example, which I'm sure is a tale as old as time.  When we rush through life, we don't do as well as those that pace themselves, that purposefully plod in the direction of their dreams, slowly, and deliberately.

The Author - Kilimanjaro Summit. 2010
Polay, Polay.

I took a walk up the highest free standing mountain in the world a couple of years ago - Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.  From the very first steps taken six days before summiting, the guides would say to me "Pole, pole" (pronounced Polay, Polay).  It means 'slowly, slowly' in

I found it incredibly difficult to walk so slowly for those firs t few days - I have long legs and usually walk at quite a pace.  The message was plain and simple - slow down.  By walking very slowly, your body would acclimatise to the ever increasing altitude more easily.

For those that ignored the warning of the experienced guides - sickness, pain and failure could await.

Although the route I took up the mountain was largely deserted for the first few days, the last few were not.  I joined other groups from all over the world, all intent on conquering this famous mountain.

On the morning of the final push to the summit, I found it difficult.  I have to be honest here, this was no 'walk in the park'.  I did have slight altitude sickness, had picked up a stomach bug in the last day or so before the final push, and I'd not slept well at all that day.

When I say 'that day' - the plan was to climb for about 8 hours, arrive at the high camp for around 4pm, eat, then sleep (which was impossible due to the noisy camp) and then rise at 10pm for a walk through the night to reach the summit for sunrise at around 5.30am!

I mention this because I used "Pole, pole" all the way up that mountain that night.  I was overtaken again and again by what I assumed were much fitter, stronger and experienced trekkers, and tried hard not to feel demoralised - all that mattered was the goal.

Imagine my surprise then as one by one, I passed these same people some five hours later, either heading back down with painful headaches, or vomiting by the side of the trail and being comforted by weary team members also feeling the strain.  I witnessed tears of frustration as people could not go on, and the odd tantrum, but on I pressed - pole, pole.

Had I not had a stomach bug, and had I grabbed a few hours sleep that day, I might have been tempted to dig in and climb fast myself.  I'm glad that circumstance assisted me that night, in forcing me to ascend slowly.  I slowed down, and conquered the highest free standing mountain in the world.

So what's my point?  Slow down.  That's my point.

I challenge you today to at least once, pause for a moment, look around, and take stock of your situation.  Take time out to breathe in slowly, and appreciate your surroundings.  stop rushing.  Continue your day in this mindful state - and be amazed at how much more you get done, and how everything just falls into place.

You might try this tomorrow too, and as you see the many benefits, try it the day after too!  

Use the same mindset when improving your current life.

Take a moment each morning to slowly plan ahead, and then proceed with purpose in the direction of your dreams. 

Wishing You Great Success


Curtis Rivers

If you enjoyed this blog, you'll love the free course I've put together for you - Seven Paths to Freedom.  Go and grab it now!




This blog was written by Curtis Rivers. 


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