Sep 18, 2020

How to slow down?

 


Someone had recently posted this very interesting question in a Whatsapp group that I'm part of

"How can one slow down?"

I responded with this answer - "Becoming clear about my priorities, questioning my ambitions - these have helped me slow down"


Priorities and ambitions influence many of our life choices. Let's dive a little deeper into each of these.


Priorities:

Gaining clarity on this one aspect makes most of our decisions and life choices easier. 


Often, I have come across this phrase of juggling multiple balls, in the context of managing multiple aspects of our life - family, health, career, personal growth, spiritual growth etc. When multiple balls are juggled, there will always be a few in the air and chances of them falling are quite high, unless and until you are an expert juggler.


Multitasking / wearing the super-woman hat / super productive / doing it all => these are multiple manifestations that highlight our juggling capability. I had succumbed to all these manifestations at different points in my 20s and 30s. But I have come to realize that juggling is such an energy-draining activity. I'd rather have sustained energy throughout my life than burn out in my 30s/40s, trying to do it all.


If I need to accomplish this goal of having sustained energy throughout, I need to be clear about my top priorities. There is of course a prerequisite. Such prioritization is ONLY feasible if one's basic needs are met. 


As I pondered over the various aspects of my life, I have now been able to prioritize my top 3 in this order. 

  1. My health and well-being
  2. My family
  3. Meaningful work


Once I have clarified it for myself, many decisions have now become easier. For eg, 

I wouldn't take up work that demands long working hours or come in the way of my family time / my Yoga time.

I would eat my meal when I'm hungry and not feel guilty that I didn't wait for my family members.


Take the time to sit down and understand your priorities and their respective order. The number of balls that you juggle up would reduce. The speed of juggling would reduce. You will automatically experience the bliss of slow life. 


Ambitions:

Goal-oriented living gives us a certain direction. No doubts about that. BUT, are these our genuine goals? Or are we influenced by society and peer pressure to take up these goals?


I was chasing designations and fancy titles in my 20s but they are no longer relevant to me in my 30s. They say nothing about who I am as a person or what my skills are. Meaningful work is important to me, but this can be accomplished without any fancy title. Much of our time and mental energy is expended, chasing these titles - Director, VP, CxO etc. And the industry bigwigs are adding more and more levels to the career ladder, so our pursuit never stops.


I'm no longer interested in reading 40-50 books per year. I used to take up these reading challenges but I no longer want to focus on the quantity. I enjoy reading, I will continue to consume content in the form of books, articles, videos, courses etc. I don't want to set up any measurable goals as my intention is not towards completing many books but imbibing the learnings/take-aways in my life.


Start questioning every single ambition of yours. Journal about it - why did you pick this particular ambition? How would it make you a better person? What would happen if you don't achieve this ambition? What is the OPPORTUNITY COST - when you choose to pursue this ambition, what other areas will be impacted in your life? Is it worth the opportunity cost?


Once you are crystal clear about your priorities and your ambitions, the chances of slowing down are higher. 


3 comments:

Amitha said...

Beautiful post

Ambily said...

Such a beautiful thought.Reading book challenge is an example even I was mindlessly pursuing but as you said what's more important to ask ourselves is why are we doing- to stay on the challenge or reflect & imbibe learnings in our lives

Sunitha said...

Wow! Such a thought provoking post.

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