Sometimes you get the impression the world is trying to tell you something.

Maybe it's serendipity or just a prevailing theme rippling through the web but a number of pieces within a short period all presented a similar theme: slowing down.

Julian Summerhayes wrote about slowing down in life as you get older:

"Instead of resisting the inevitable loss of physical prowess and letting go of my maniacal fascination with work, perhaps I should see this ‘slowness’ as a way to more deeply connect with the present moment."

In response to the same thing as my post about reading on screens rather than paper, Amit Gawande advises us to read Patiently, slowly, uselessly.

Good advice.

Next, Vincenzo Di Nicola (professor of psychiatry at the University of Montreal) writes a manifesto for slow thought over at Aeon. Slow thought is an escape from the demand for instant answers; he argues thought is never complete and should exist without speed or milestones, allowing us to live in an "atemporal present" without care for past or future.

As an illustration he uses the idea of "Socratic walks" in which Socrates would walk the streets and squares of Athens speaking to different people in order to reanalyse an idea, slow the thought process and thus delay reaching a conclusion.

Seth Godin preaches patience:

"Much of the work we do as creators, as leaders, as people seeking to make change--it needs to ferment, to create character and tension and impact. And if we rush it, we get nothing worth very much."

As I say, trying to tell me something.

I've written about slowing down before after being inspired by Mike Caulfield but an attempt at the time to create an iterative, gradual process didn't bear fruit. Perhaps it was because I tried to achieve it within WordPress so the context was too similar to live posting and I couldn't mentally separate the two.

In any event, now that I avoid interacting directly with WordPress whenever possible, any such solution is void.

However, in conjunction with trying to read more deeply, I have taken to delaying any reaction I might write in response to certain things. I've had Safari tabs open on my phone for days, weeks, even as far back as December in one instance, because I want to fully process what they hold.

Read, digest, revisit.

I enthusiastically devised a partial outline and wrote several notes for my new project but have since set it aside for a while, allowing it to "settle" in my mind rather than rushing in headlong.

A good tactic but one to be equally wary of. As Seth also warns, going slow can just be a way of avoiding what we should be doing:

"Sometimes, we mistakenly believe that we're building something that takes time, but what we're actually doing is hiding. We stall and digress and cause distractions, not because the work needs us to, but because we're afraid to ship."

Finding the balance is crucial to give myself the best chance of achieving what I’ve set out to do and avoid imposter syndrome. Still, I think what serendipity is trying to tell me is probably the right approach.

  1. Nitin says: #
    It must be something in the air. I've been thinking about this recently too. In fact, I realized that even though I thought I had culled my RSS feeds to a respectable size, which would let me slow down, I was still following too many things. So I removed frequent posters and other linkblogs and now I'm much more at peace, my stream of feeds having slowed down immensely. I wrote about this on my blog a few days ago. But you didn't see it. You know why? Because I discovered this amazing little thing about WordPress called private posts. Regarding your failed experiment - instead of using a wiki solution, I've come to a point where I've started posting thing 'privately' to my blog. The last three posts I made were all private. Maybe one day, when I'm done working on them, I'll make them public and therefore, publish them. But for now, I get the privacy of things being only visible to me, and the satisfaction of having hit 'publish'. :) Right now, all posts get posted as private by default on my blog thanks to the PrivatePostDefault plugin. It's a bit of a hack, as its a js/php hack using the web admin, and so doesn't work for the mobile apps. I'd like to recommend that. As for reading, I too have been reading posts about people telling us to slow down, read as though you're chewing meat, read books instead of articles so one can dive deeper into a topic. All I can say is that I'm glad we're listening :)
  2. Thanks Colin for the kind mention. I did give you a shout out on Twitter, but I'm not sure if that's your cup of tea. Blessings Julian

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