Since embarking on The Slow Project, the past couple of weeks have certainly been enlightening. As those who are following me know, it came about after I wrote about easy ways to slow down, ironically finding them very hard to do.
As I have tried to meet each slow goal, I have had trouble. This has led me to realize some bigger issues I need to address before tackling those goals. Some of the comments I received from Care2 readers have really helped me find those issues and have been very helpful and enlightening.
For example, one of them (from Mary B.) led me to realize that those of us who over commit never think about the person on the receiving end. We can leave them waiting for us, and it actually results in a lesser quality of work and makes us think what we actually do is more valuable than it really is. This made me ask myself what does that tell someone when you aren’t really focused on him or her?
Another thing I have learned in the past couple of weeks is how plugged in I really am and how I need to unplug. All of the wonderful technology we have allowing us to do so much, has made me think that I should always be able to do more. Each new piece of technology is always capable of doing more, and doing it faster. We get more memory, more power, and more speed. It is no wonder we have no idea how to slow down or do less when we are encouraged to keep doing more.
But, as I wrote about last week, the thing that has really come into focus is that I really need to do less.
And, this week I realized why I always end up doing more; it’s as if a big light bulb just went on and I can see things so much more clearly. This realization came about during lunch and a long talk I had with one of my good friends. She mentioned that she doesn’t have a plan, and that she never has and is thinking she needs to get one. This surprised me because to me she seems so focused on her career goals and where she is going.
As we kept talking, it suddenly hit me; I don’t have one either, and, I have never had one. I have no specific goals and have no idea where I am headed. So, I just keep adding things to my list because I am unclear what should be on that list.
I pride myself on being organized on making a list of all the projects, errands, and chores I need to get done, but I don’t make a “life list.” Where do I want to go in my life? I keep saying I need to learn to say no to everything but I realized I first need to define where I am going and what needs to be part of that journey and what doesn’t. Just like saying “yes” to everything isn’t the right answer, so is saying “no.”
I realized that only if you know where you are going can you ever get there. It is no wonder I haven’t felt that I have gotten anywhere; I don’t know where I am going.
I am like the stereotypical male who will never ask for directions. Yet, ironically, one of the most popular pieces of new technology is the GPS. So, I need to map out my life using my own personal GPS. I will keep you posted on how I am navigating with it.