Slow down to get more things done

I sometimes think that being busy all the time is the only speed people know nowadays. People are busy with being busy. And if it was with things they like, but that is not many time the case. Look around you or at yourself. Do you really like all the things you are busy with all the time? Of course, there are moments that people can be busy, but all the time……… slow down, take a breath, relax.

There are plenty of arguments to take it easy, to slow down. I find, that since living in Botswana, that ‘slow down’ comes naturally and brings me a lot. If I compare my agenda with the one from five years ago, it quickly becomes clear. Back then, almost every moment was filled up mostly with work, sports, social events, and commitments.

You could argue that it is because of the heat here that I automatically slow down, or covid, or because less is possible. However, all that hardly plays a role. Finally, there is always work to do on the farm and we have been and still are busy building up our businesses. And yet it is much more peaceful, less hectic. We have time to live!

It is that I, we, do what we love rather than wanting or having to conform to what others expect or want from us. We choose our own pace, which is much more relaxed than in the Netherlands and yet we have done and managed to do much more.

There is a number of aspects underlying this, which also became clear to me before I settled here. One of them was that I grew up with the concept of working, especially working hard and making money. We live in a system where we need money and there is nothing wrong with earning money either. But why should I have to work hard for that and what does that really mean, working hard? Working a lot of hours? Working physically hard? Not having consideration for others?

And then what is the result of working hard? That people give you recognition, that you are praised, that you are successful? If you work to show how good you are, you can become quite disappointed. And will there be time for the rest of your life?

My motto, stop working hard and start working smart.

There is more that prevents you from just running instead of going into the ‘slow down’ mode.

If you just keep busy, then you don’t have to worry about your feelings or to ask yourself how you are really doing. It is why more and more people are getting sick. Both physically and mentally. There comes a point when your body tells you that you might need to brake. If you don’t listen to your body’s message, then that body may have unpleasant surprises for you.

Another phenomenon, which I have experienced and with which I have also gone on too long with, are statements like: ‘Never give up!’ Meanwhile, I do know that this is a dangerous quote and that winners and successful people know exactly when to give up. What I particularly miss about this quote is that people cross boundaries, both physical and mental, with all the consequences. Even worse, I find the reaction of the environment where people who give up, who quit something, are put down as losers.

All arguments to just keep going, not slowing down, cause missing out on life.

So why slow down? Here are a few arguments for you:

– To process and implement information. There is an overkill of information. But you have no use for that information if you don’t do anything with it. You probably know people who go from training to training, taking one course after another, adding another workshop, going to yet another motivational speaker, etc. I was one of those. I found out that all that information is interesting but putting it into practice? No… Now I know better. Find good and applicable information and put it into practice. Take your time, because you need it.

– Experience life, really experience it. Stop rushing through it, checking off a checklist because you feel you have so much to do, can’t miss anything, want to meet what others expect of you. Take your time to enjoy. To look, to feel, to do nothing.

– To rest your body, to work on your body, to listen to your body. You only have one.

– Awareness. When you slow down, you can become more aware of yourself. How you react to something, what you say, how you say it. Become aware of how others perceive you and react to you. What is that inner voice actually saying to you and is it accurate? What choices do you make and how?

SLOW DOWN, it’s a choice, your choice.

Peter Henssen