“Haste makes waste…” – Thoreau
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished” – Lao Tzu
“He bites his tongue who speaks in haste” – Turkish Proverb
“Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it” – Kierkegaard
“What good is speed if the brain has oozed out on the way?” – Saint Jerome
“To do two things at once is to do neither” – Publilius Syrus
Haste is a major part of the American way, it seems. To be busy is good, almost the same as righteous or wise. To be idle is bad, almost the same as lazy or sinful. Work hard, play hard, so the righteous say. Go go go go go go go! Why? No time to talk! No time to think…
Does it work, though? Does it get more done, really, all this breathless stressful rushing around? It certainly burns through a lot of energy and punishes us in mind, body, and soul, wears us out. None of that answers my question, though: does it work?
Why does haste make waste, and how? The answers seem straightforward. Haste makes for a sharp increase in errors, oversights: important details missed as they fly past you in a blur. All those balls you juggle: each ball dropped is another mess to clean up, while you try to keep all the other balls in the air. Haste kills concentration and focus. You spend too much mental energy trying to stay on the road – not easy at high-speed – to bother with where you’re going or why, to prioritize, organize. A moment’s distraction, and off the road you go. You travel great distances, burn through lots of gas so to speak, to get to more places than you likely needed to, over routes you might have improved on greatly if you’d taken the time. You get lots of things done badly, and many of the things you did you created for yourself in your haste: errors, oversights, messes. LOTS of waste.
We like haste because it FEELS like accomplishment, like importance, and it keeps our minds distracted from decisions we’d rather avoid. What’s important? What are our goals? WHY do we do all that we do? Haste is to a great extent mindlessness: no time to think. Too busy…
The price is high. It wears out our bodies in countless ways, leads to aches, fatigue, heartburn, poor sleep, you name it. It wears out our minds and souls: kills motivation, initiative, creativity, energy, concentration, problem solving, mood. Truly, a rat race: like rats running desperately for food in a maze they don’t understand.
Calm, deliberate, organized, thoughtful action wins almost every race as it leaves frantic hyperactivity far behind. It feels better, it IS better. It’s the way to get stuff done, get it done well, get the RIGHT stuff done. It’s the way to achievement, success. Haste is the way to more and more tasks forever, destination unknown.
Do you have time for it?
Time to get more done, easier, and live better as well?
How could you not?