Pushing Harder and Faster vs Taking It Slow
Are you a naturally fast-paced person?
Or do you take your time, confident you will ‘get there’ without missing anything?
I must report that I’ve always tended toward the former, behaving more like the rabbit in the classic fable than the turtle. In fact, I always sort of resented that story.
Slow and steady wins the race… It just sounded so boring. How much more fun to leap ahead and get to the destination so I can quickly move on to the next thing?
I walk fast, I talk fast, and as a youngster I had a bad habit of rushing through tests and exams, resulting in lower grades than I really deserved, simply because I’d have missed a question or read the directions too quickly. (Well, maybe I deserved the lower grade as the consequence of my rushing.)
These days I’m much better at slowing down for important tests, but I still tend to barrel through life, somehow believing that’s the way to more easily get to where I’m trying to go.
I wear myself out, I burn out, and then I collapse.
How about you? Has this been your M.O? And, has it changed at all as your wisdom grows?
The fallacy of ‘faster is better’ really hit home for me on a biking excursion last summer.
My boyfriend at the time was an avid biker and climber, riding up mountains was something he did before breakfast.
I, on the other hand, was more of a ‘fair-weather biker.’ I loved riding my bike, but preferred easy rides in good weather. When I got to a hill I’d be huffing and puffing, wondering if I would possibly make it. Sometimes I even had to get off the bike and walk it.
Which of course made me feel like a loser. So, I usually avoided biking with ‘real’ bikers who ate up those hills like candy.
I really liked this guy though, and I knew him to be kind, so I took a chance on going out on a ride with him, even though his motto was, “the only way to get good at hills is to do lots of hills.”
As we approached the first hill I tensed up, would I be left in the dust, miserable and embarrassed?
I began to pedal faster to get up some momentum.
To my astonishment, I caught up with him easily.
He slowed way down.
My approach had always been to pedal like crazy, pushing, pushing, pushing to get up that hill as fast as I could.
This was just weird.
I geared down, I slowed my pedaling.
My shoulders relaxed, my breathing grew less labored. Wow! This was okay! It was actually fun!
Don’t get me wrong—I was still working. It was still riding uphill, my heart rate increased—gently. Instead of tensing up, pushing, hurrying, praying and hoping I’d make it to the top, I was feeling relaxed and confident that of course I would get there.
I wasn’t pushing myself past my natural capacity.
Of course my guy had slowed down just for me. On his own I’m sure he would have attacked that hill at much speedier pace.
Yet I learned a key lesson that day:
Pushing harder and faster doesn’t always get you there faster. And it certainly doesn’t keep you in the happy place.
A few days later, while out riding on my own I put this to the test. As I encountered a small hill, instead of pushing those pedals harder and faster, I simply geared down and kept my pace the same. Wow… it was like riding through butter instead of pushing against a brick wall!
There might really be something to this ‘slow and steady wins the race’ thing!
I guess that’s the part that comes with age and wisdom… a new interpretation of what it means to ‘win the race.’
Arriving at my destination feeling relaxed and calm—rather than ready to collapse. Now, THAT’S a win! And definitely an incentive for taking it slow in other areas of life.
How fast—or steady—do YOU like to move? Has it changed as you’ve grown older and wiser? Tell us in the comments.