The Benefits of Taking it Slow
“He Who Rushes Ahead Doesn’t Go Far”
Tao Te Ching #24*
Have you ever felt like life is a treadmill and some unseen force keeps turning up the speed? Have you ever felt like you’re not satisfied with what you’re doing, but it seems easiest to just keep doing what you’ve always done? This kind of confusion happens more and more in our fast paced world.
There is an urge to go faster and faster despite the fact that there seems to be less and less being accomplished.
I address this kind of behavior frequently by talking about the Aesop fable of the tortoise and the hare, which is similar to the above quote from the Tao Te Ching. We are so busy moving as fast as we can that we dismiss the growing feelings of discontent.
We have much to learn from the tortoise. She doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what she is. She may be slow, but she is steady. She just does her job one step at a time and doesn’t get distracted by anything else. That wisdom is what the Tao Te Ching advises, “If you want to accord with the Tao, just do your job then let go.”
If you are experiencing feelings of discontent, slow down.
Step off the treadmill for a day or two or more. Listen to and pay attention to what your feelings are telling you. Reflect on how you got to this point. And know that as human beings our most rewarding and effective lives come from the steady work of internal reflection.
*Source: Tao Te Ching A New English Version, Stephen Mitchell, Harper Perennial