Why You Need To Slow Down To Speed Up
Shift Your Mindset To Shift Your Reality
2020 has been a weird year and it’s almost over.
You’ve got grand plans for 2021, but how aligned are they really to who and what you are?
For me, I get tempted to charge ahead, like I always do. But last year I did something a little differently — I slowed down and as a result, ended up speeding up in life.
It’s a weird concept — slowing down in order to speed up.
But it works.
If you feel like 2019 was not your year, here are some thoughts to make 2020 the beginning of your transformation.
The tale of the misunderstood rabbit
I grew up with the tale of the tortoise and the rabbit. For a long time, I thought I was being a good tortoise — plodding along, doing all the things everyone was telling me to do without deviating from the path.
Growing up, we all get told stories of how we should act, who we should be and how we should think. The luckiest among us get to freely explore, make the mistakes and make up their own minds about things.
They’re the ones that know where they want to go and what they want to do with their life.
They have goals that are internally fueled.
They do the things they do for themselves and not for anyone else.
They’ve discovered their path and their actions, decisions, and sense of self align with it. They accept and reject things that are in alignment with where they want to go.
The rabbit, however, is unfocused. Not because he is lazy or unintelligent. Rather, it’s because the true path hasn’t been discovered yet.
As a result, he meanders through life. He may have a goal, but that goal is not as strongly fueled or in the same manner as the tortoise.
It’s not his fault. Not really.
Then one day, it occurred to me that the rabbits among us may just be late-life bloomers.
Why we do the things we do
Perhaps it is the nature of our generation. We’re polarized between knowing exactly what we want and being perpetually confused but holding up our appearances as best we can.
Our values, sense of place in the world and relationships have shifted from the traditional, nuclear family and community units to dispersed and deconstructed connections.
Everything has changed and we’ve done our best to adapt to it.
Technology is our connection to the world and also our vice. It is our workplaces, our friends, our acquaintances, our memories and collected stories. Our identity is shaped by our output and responses received.
We also absorb and internalize the narratives of others — their stories, opinions, and fears.
And because everything is so public, by being different we risk being rejected.
We get pulled in all directions.
The rat race has evolved from just competing with your neighbor and those within your immediate circle to strangers on the Internet with good photography skills.
The issue with our current reality
It took me a while to figure this one out.
For a long time, I’ve been racing through life at double speed but not getting anywhere in particular.
In part, I had a fear of missing out by not being fast enough.
And it was only recently that I began to realize that I’m the rabbit in the race.
There’s something about other people’s Facebook updates that makes you feel depressed — like you’ve achieved nothing in particular, despite doing all that you can, while everyone else has moved onwards and upwards in their lives.
Maybe someone from your high school got married and had a kid. Maybe a family member managed to buy a house. Maybe one of your friends is having the time of their lives living it up in a Parisian cafe.
Whatever it is, their documented lives make yours look miniature in comparison.
Slowing down means cutting down
The issue with this is that you’re assuming that their race is also your race. It’s a mistake I made during a good portion of the last decade.
And the only way to win is to get off the race track and find your own path.
This means getting rid of life things that belong to other people’s life paths.
It may be the career choice you’ve made. It may be the relationships and connections you’ve made online. It may be the feeds you follow and the content you consume.
There’s a misconception that to slow down, you need to physically stall your progress.
However, over time, I’ve discovered that to slow down and gently transform myself into a tortoise is the strip away the noise and chaos that doesn’t add to my journey.
When you cut down on the distractions, it increases your focus and lets you move faster towards your real goals.
Rather than trying to work on a dozen different pathways all at the same time, racing against multiple actors traveling down their paths, you’re focused on your own.
Shifting your reality
Hoping off the rat race treadmill is one way to move forward.
It’s one thing to cut toxic people from your life. It’s another to reconfigure your reality to how you want it to be.
Because sometimes the people in our lives are not necessarily toxic — but their public output makes you feel inadequate.
When that happens, it means that you’re still comparing your journey to theirs.
To shift your reality, you also need to shift your mindset from secret envy of others to personal growth and pursuits. When negative feelings begin to occur, you need to remind yourself that their achievements and milestones are not yours.
You need to ask yourself — why are you really doing the things you’re doing?
Is it because you feel obligated to do so?
Or is it because you think that’s what you should be doing because everyone else is doing it?
To shift your reality, you need to shift your paths away from what others are doing and figure out your own. You need to go through your own process of failure and successes, of experiencing and overcoming your fears, of doing things that you want to do but are outside your comfort zones.
There’s more to personal transformation than just vowing to go to the gym or to eat healthier.
It’s a process of taking up personal accountability and properly take care of yourself. It’s the act of finding out what you truly like, dislike and enjoy for what they are and not based on how everyone else appears to be towards it.
Slowing down is one way to achieve it — to take the time to remove the distractions in your life and fill it with things that nurture your growth. Only then can you truly move forward down the right path and at the speed you’re meant to be travelling.