Sometimes we need to be cautious about getting into action too quickly and take our time to discover the learning

“Sometimes we need to be cautious about getting into action too quickly and take our time to discover the learning.”

— Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Leonard Reese

Have you ever played checkers? How about chess or Go? How long does it usually take before you make a move?

Where do you skip aiming before you shoot in the direction of your targets? How often does being too quick on the draw get you in trouble?

Life is an iterative game in which we are constantly receiving feedback from the world around us. Without taking enough time to examine what we have learned from previous moves, we can find ourselves on the losing end of the many games we play.

EXERCISE:

In what areas of your life are you too quick to act on limited information?

Where would slowing down to embrace more teachable moments help you better navigate your world?

 

“Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious.”

“Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious.”

Thomas Edison, 19th Century American inventor and businessman

Image from Unsplash by Shane

For some of us a new definition of happy hour as we get older is a good nap.

In my most active working years, I always admired the hard driving folks who often boasted about how little sleep they needed.

While coaching top performing professionals over the years, I, however, came to notice that these individuals often suffered in other areas of life without the wondrous restorative effects of adequate sleep.

Without going into all the science, we can rest confidently in the fact that sleep clears out the clutter in both our bodies and minds.

We need and deserve it to step into each new day to realize our full potential.

EXERCISE:

What requests will you invite into your subconscious as you turn in for the night?

What might you invent with a refreshed and renewed mind and body once you awaken?

We honor life by being present for it

We honor life by being present for it. Kiss the joy as it flies.

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Jo Heubeck & Demi Pfenninger

We all know that time flies when you’re having fun. What would be the value of slowing things down to kiss and hug these moments longer and more fully?

To only kiss the joy as it flies is not possible without also honoring the sad and difficult times. If we always wish to sidestep the bad times, we unfortunately miss the good ones.

EXERCISE:

Consider exploring Susan Cain’s book, Bittersweet to expand your capacity to honor and be more fully present to your life.

Man is flying too fast for a world that is round

“Man is flying too fast for a world that is round.  Soon he will catch up with himself in a great rear end collision.”

James Thurber, 20th Century American cartoonist and playwright

Image from Unsplash by Alessio Lin

For many of us the world is moving way too fast these days.

Visualize a dog chasing its tail and replace this image with yourself or others in your communities.

Wendy and I recently visited some friends in New York and found the highways filled with many speed racers, darting between lanes to shave a few extra minutes from their commutes.

We saw a number of accidents which ended up slowing things down anyway, and many police pulling these folks over to fill up their municipality’s cash reserves.

EXERCISE:

How fast is your world moving?

How often do you feel like you are chasing your tail and about to have a rear end collision with yourself?

Let go of some things in your life that you worked hard for

“Let go of some things in your life that you worked hard for, but that are now holding you back.”

Arthur C. Brooks, 11th President of the American Enterprise Institute

Image from Unsplash by Jordan Whitfield

Over the past several years, I have discovered and embraced the wisdom of the adage, Less is More. With two young grandchildren the idea of more love for people and less love of things really hits home.

As we add a new year to the mix, life seems to be accelerating. Spending our time and energy to hold on and maintain previously hard-won victories makes less and less sense with the acknowledgement of life’s impermanence.

EXERCISE:

Where is it time to let go of things you previously valued? How can your open hands help you grasp far more of what is even more important at this point in your life?

When spinning out the only thing to do

“When spinning out, the only thing to do, as hard as it seems, is to get off the mental merry-go-round.”

Mark Nepo, poet and philosopher

Image from wikipedia

The Tilt- A-Whirl is a classic carnival ride found at almost every amusement midway in America. As its platform moves through hills and valleys on the track, the free spinning tubs rotate on an axis.

For people who get dizzy easily, the best coaching is to avoid this cochlear disruption altogether or at least avoid eating beforehand.

Many of us take a mental merry-go-round on a daily basis. We have our ups and downs and we often find ourselves going round and round, always returning to where we began.

Last fall we took our grandson Weston to Sesame Place on a fairly unpleasant day. Most rides — including the merry-go-round — had no lines and we could ride multiple times in a row if we wished. We all declined another spin.

EXERCISE:

Where is your personal or professional life spinning a bit too fast?

How are you making yourself dizzier through your own mental carnival ride?

What do you need to do to stop or slow down the ride to regain your balance?

Go deeper and immerse yourself in the familiar to see what lies in the deep fields of being alive.

Go deeper and immerse yourself in the familiar to see what lies in the deep fields of being alive.

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Logan Weaver

Slow down and really take in the world around you. Bring all of your senses to high alert to notice everything anew.

Pretend that you have superpowers of immersion to experience new dimensions of being alive. Imagine having telescopic and microscopic vision as well as supersonic hearing, super tasting and super smelling capabilities, like certain animals that share our world.

How wonderful these new capabilities would be if we would only slow down and look deeper into the familiar.

EXERCISE:

Where are you currently racing through your life?

Where would slowing down and exploring your world from a more immersive perspective reveal new insights and wonders to enjoy?

“Don’t rush through moments to get to better ones.”

“Don’t rush through moments to get to better ones.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Dieter de Vroomen

Do you:

  • Drive faster than the speed limit?
  • Eat your meals on the run?
  • Speed read or scan e-mails?
  • Race from meeting to meeting?
  • Live for your weekend and dread Mondays?
  • Spend excessive time on social media?

Where else do you find yourself in a rush to get to some place else that appears better?

One possible reason may be due to the concept of “creative tension” described by Robert Fritz in his book, The Path of Least Resistance. He suggests that when we hold both a clear picture of current reality and a vision for a seemingly preferred future in mind, the vision will actually pull or attract us to it.

This concept can be highly useful to goal achievement and making progress toward what we desire. It can also leave us a bit empty and dissatisfied—always seeking something more or better.

EXERCISE:

Where and how would slowing down—mindfully and skillfully experiencing each moment—help you lead a happier and more satisfying life?

Don’t be in such a rush unless you’ve got the time

“Don’t be in such a rush unless you’ve got the time.”

—Author Unknown

Image of a man running across a glass floor

Image from Unsplash by Andy Beales

At my fitness club recently, I was speaking to an automotive executive named Jim about The Quotable Coach series. In addition to showing sincere interest in the concept of quote/coaching commentary/and an exercise to apply the nugget of wisdom to our own lives, he shared today’s quote.

He also told me stories in which rushing had a painful downside – not the least of which was stubbing his baby toe too many times to count.

EXERCISE:

Where and in what ways do you find yourself rushing around your world, with the results you desire falling short of your intentions?

Where would slowing down a bit and taking your time on both important and seemingly urgent matters be the way to approach more aspects of your life?

“The trouble with life in the fast lane…”

“The trouble with life in the fast lane is that you get to the other end in an awful hurry.”

—Author Unknown

Photo from Flickr by Tristan Schmurr

Photo from Flickr by Tristan Schmurr

At no time in history have we ever been more productive, and achieved more in our professional and personal lives. Who doesn’t find themselves racing through their days to keep up or stay ahead of the pack?

Unfortunately, this increase in achievement and productivity is often associated with considerably more stress and less fulfillment and satisfaction.

Examine the following list of daily activities many people engage in, and notice your own level of urgency to finish them as quickly as possible:

  • Reading email and other forms of written communication.
  • Eating your daily meals.
  • Conversations with friends, family, and colleagues.
  • The number of hours of sleep you get each night.
  • Your driving speed throughout your day.
  • Your propensity to multitask.

EXERCISE:

How and where in your life would a slower pace, taking the time to savor sights, sounds, and tastes bring you greater success and satisfaction throughout the day?