“Slow is smooth, smooth is fast” is a sort of mantra with origins in the armed forces. After reading David Goggins’ Can’t Hurt Me, I feel like its meaning has been truly unlocked. I thought it a bit of fortune-cookie nonsense, but now I have the context to to be able to place it. Being slow means being deliberate and purposeful with every action, for example, will it contribute towards the current objective? If yes, then keep going, if not then what will? It is not about the pace at which one is moving, but making sure that we are moving in the right direction in the first place.
It reminds me of my days competing in orienteering competitions in school. I was never the fittest, in fact, I would go as far as saying my level of stamina with respect to distance running was in the lowest percentiles of the fields. But I would never end up doing too badly because I was handy with the map. I remember at the start of each of the races, I would take the longest trying to get my bearings. Even when I did run, I noticed how unfit I was. But it all turned out well, all things considered, and did pretty well for myself because I knew I was heading in the right direction.
Going slow in today’s world is a bit of a challenge. There is a cognitive dissonance associated with a measured approach thanks to the raging river of notifications, updates, and messages we receive daily. When we are dealing with an endless torrent of information, the only way to do so is with pace. To then ask ourselves to go slowly is not quite hypocritical, but rather misaligned with how everything else is done. Perhaps the answer lies in the being able to disconnect.