Here I am sitting at my table typing this post and I am looking out my window and I can see clearly the big snow-capped mountains in front of me. It looks peaceful and it is such a beautiful tranquil setting. But, then I can also see the cities and towns that sit at the base of these mountains and it’s not so peaceful, it is busy and often chaotic. We seem to live in a society that runs at maximum speed, people are always in a hurry and are always busy. We seem to always follow this trend of acting quickly and running through life full-speed ahead. We live in a society where everything seems important and urgent. It can make you feel like you need to keep up, otherwise, the world will leave you behind. In our world today, especially as Americans we want instant gratification. If you want something, you want it now! You don’t want to wait or be told that it will take time. With social media and google search, we can get access to anything instantly! We don’t have to wait anymore. But, life isn’t like this. Sure your life can change in an instant based on your choices, but good things and lasting things take time and effort.
We get too caught up being busy or going through life quickly and not really noticing what’s in front of us or what’s important. We need to slow down. We need to realize that not every task or every goal and desire is urgent and that we shouldn’t get too caught up in the future, but live in the now and take life day by day.
The key phrase is SLOW DOWN, even if it’s just a little bit. We have more time than we think we do. Sure, we may have a lot on our plate and sometimes more than we can handle, but there is enough time to complete our tasks and accomplish our dreams.
When I say slow down, I’m not talking about meditation or relaxation, both of those are wonderful things for anyone’s life, however, I am talking about how we think and act is why we need to slow down. The fact that the meditation industry is reported to be a billion-dollar industry, goes to show that people are wanting to discover how to slow down and relax. I have discovered from my own life that slowing down is more about focusing on what matters most, who you are, and what your purpose is.
A couple of years ago I learned the importance of slowing down. I was 22-years old, a newlywed and I was about to become a father in nine-months when I started my college education. I felt behind and that life was passing me by. There were people my age who already had their degrees, some were in law school and medical school, but here I was just starting with classmates who were in junior high when I graduated high school. It wasn’t like I didn’t do anything for those four years, I had a good job and then I went to serve a two-year LDS Church mission. But, I put so much pressure on myself to rush through school that it ended up negatively affecting my life. My mom always told me as a kid, “don’t bite off more than you can chew”. I felt like I was doing the opposite and I was doing more than I was able to. I was focusing too much of my time catching up to others and comparing my life to others and what their life was doing. I even had some people tell me that I needed to hurry up and finish school and get a good job because people my age were already in those jobs. For too long, I focused on what the world wanted me to do, which was hurry-up, play catch up and do more than I can.
During the course of my studies and running a business from home for a couple of years, I was an at-home dad with my kids. I spent so much time rushing through life and trying to stay busy that there were some days, where I had to ask myself, “did I even play with my kids today?” I fed them and changed their diapers, but did I actually spend quality time with them? Even my relationship with my wife, I had to ask “did I show her love today? Did I give her affection and my attention?” I also had to question myself and if I was doing things to help me become better. Some days, the answer was no. I was too busy focusing on my tasks. I needed to slow down. The days that I felt the most stress or was easily frustrated those were the days that I didn’t take time to make myself better, I didn’t spend quality time with my kids or with my wife. I focused too much on being busy, I focused on trying to catch up, and I was focusing on things that just didn’t matter most.
“No other success can compensate for failure in the home.” – David O. McKay
I had to check myself. I had to realize that being busy wasn’t good. I needed focus on what mattered most. That was my family, my kids and my wife. They are my top priority. I also needed to take care of myself, do those things that make me happy, going for walks, going for a drive and taking time to relax and read a book or watch some TV. I also needed to realize that I wasn’t behind and that the world wasn’t passing me by. I learned how to balance and I trusted that school would get done and that doors of opportunities would open for me. In December of 2017, I graduated from Arizona State University, I was thrilled that I finally did it! But, now I am in graduate school to receive my Master’s degree. It’s a 12-month program and I am confident and patient that life is going to be great and rushing it isn’t going to help.
So my lesson that I learned is slow down. Good things are going to come your way, but being in a hurry isn’t going to make them come any faster. Slow down. Don’t worry. Trust the process. Life can be beautiful if we allow it. But there is some danger in feeling like we need to rush through life because we can miss out on some sweet and special experiences.
Tim Ferris author of the 4 Hour Work Week wrote:
“Slow down and remember this: Most things make no difference. Being busy is a form of mental laziness –lazy thinking and indiscriminate thinking”.
Slowing down can make a difference in your life. Quit thinking that being busy is good. Our time in life is precious and very valuable, what we do with our time is important. Enjoy the time that you do have, don’t get so caught up in making a living or being consumed with your work. I believe that life is better and work is more effective and fulfilling when we take time to slow down.
Or in the words of one of my favorite people, John Wooden:
“Don’t let making a living prevent you from making a life”.