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The Right Pace for a Great Life

January 27th, 2011 3:47 PM by Lehel S.

The Right Pace for a Great Life

 

I've long been fascinated by the conundrum of how fast to

move and how much to do in life. If we don't "keep up" and

do enough, if we don't take action and work hard and get

stuff done, we fall behind and fail to achieve. On the other

hand, when we give in to the temptation to rush and hurry

and multi-task all day long, it seems like we wear ourselves

out and miss some of life's best moments. What's a person to

do?

 

This week I was struck with the concept of "right pacing."

 

We've long talked about "right sizing" in business and

government. How big should an organization be? How many

employees does it need? How efficient should it be? Too much

emphasis on efficiency and speed and performance-at-any-cost

and eventually employees burn out and quit -- or rebel in

protest. Too little focus on productivity and we fall behind

the competition and eventually go bankrupt.

 

Career counselors have focused on the concept that each

person achieves optimum fulfillment by doing their "right

work," defined as work that respects their values and uses

their best talents. We inevitably become unhappy, less

productive and far less fulfilled when we do work that

doesn't suit us or that conflicts with our deepest values.

 

This week it struck me that we each have a "right pace" for

our lives and that failure to honor our inherent "pacing"

stresses us and perhaps even kills us at an early age.

 

We've long known about Type A personalities that move

quickly, and Type B personalities that prefer a more

leisurely pace through life. Type A's are called "race

horses" and we know that forcing them to slow down or

putting them "out to pasture" seems to kill their

enthusiasm, their energy and their productivity, while

"turtles" naturally move slower and forcing them to run

may give them a premature heart attack.

 

This week, I read about a new study that claims testing the

pace with which we walk may be as accurate a predictor of

over-all health as far more complex and expensive medical

procedures. Apparently simply walking down the hall outside

our doctor's office is a pretty good measure of balance,

coordination, strength and neurological function.

Interesting!

 

Americans have long been in love with the idea of speed. We

didn't invent the automobile, but we certainly fell in love

with it. We did invent the airplane and have done more with

rockets and space travel and instant communication than any

people on earth. We love speed! We love multi-tasking and

"doing more with less." We love being first and are proud of

being the most productive (fastest) people around.

 

But, we also know there is something good about making love

slowly, about "the pause that refreshes" and "stopping to

smell the roses." We know that time spent with a child,

watching a sunset or savoring a meal is a good thing. We

know that the desire to "slow down" is almost universal.

 

What are we to make of these contradictions?

 

My sense is that the most successful people find and honor

their personal "right pace" in life. Some love the

exhilaration of multi-tasking, rapid decision-making and

racing through life. Good for them! But others need to be

more deliberate, slower, and more thoughtful and I suspect

they are most successful when they honor their own "right

pace." And I suspect many of life's artists, writers,

teachers and poets have hurt their success by trying to

"keep up" with our cultural preference for speed.

 

Speed is good, but so is meditation. Speed is often rewarded

with more money, fame or power, but we also know that "haste

makes waste" and sometimes being slower, more deliberate,

more precise and more thoughtful has it's own advantages.

 

Find your right pace! Honor the part of you that "knows" how

much to tackle each day and do that, and only that. Vary

your pace and the pressure you allow in your life. Slow down

so you can respond quickly when the situation calls for it.

I find some solace in the observation that "Fools rush in

where angels fear to tread." I love speed and action and

adrenalin as much as the next guy, but there is also wisdom

in mastering the art of doing nothing, observing, and

waiting for the right moment. Find and listen to your "right

pace" in life. I suspect your happiness and long-term

success may depend on it.
 

Philip E. Humbert, PhD,

President of Resources for Success!T

and The Philip E. Humbert Group, Inc.
Posted in:General
Posted by Lehel S. on January 27th, 2011 3:47 PM

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