I appreciate you coming to today’s TED Talk because you have so many other things that you could be doing. How do I know this? Because you’re a human (Probably. More on this later.) and almost every one of us is juggling a billion things. You don’t have to be the stereotypical CEO or the single parent of six to have your hands full of important shit.
So, bravo! You’ve already completed step one of our journey here today: You put down the issues at hand for a few minutes and did something else. Want to hear even more good news? There are only two steps!
Why complicate things when I know you have all that other stuff on hold? That stuff you walked away from but are definitely still thinking about?
The problem isn’t with you. It’s with the world. The world is moving faster and faster and speeding everything up with it. Except, and I hate to be the well, actually guy, but, it isn’t. The world is fast and all, but not in the ways you are thinking about and preoccupied by.
If you are on Earth (I assume this includes most of The Prompt’s readers, but if not, HI! Please consult me before taking over our world. I have some advice on where to start!), the ground underneath you is spinning at 1,000 miles per hour, and taking you with it. And don’t panic, but it is ALSO moving through space at something like 67,000 miles per hour around the sun.
When I started that last sentence, we were miles away from where we are now, and unless you are Carole King, or you live on a fault line, you’ve probably never even felt any of it.
Our friend and trusted society disrupter, Ferris Bueller rallies us around the scary idea of how fast life moves. The thing is that none of it is real speed. It’s perceived speed. Perceived speed is everywhere around us.
Tickers on TV screens. Constantly updating social media feeds. Ten hour workdays. More and more fast casual restaurants. Even the music is faster! Damn you house beat remixes!
The rat race, or the hamster wheel, to mix our rodent metaphors, feels like it’s being sped up, and maybe it is. But we don’t have to participate. Are you ready for step number two?
I know, easy to say, harder to do. Let’s work through it. And remember, the world is moving at a constant speed.
I am going to take a leap here, but I’ll bet if you really looked at the deadlines in your life, most are self-imposed. Or at least given more power than they have.
We can all slow down and try to enjoy this journey more. Commit to that five year plan! Set goals for down the road and not just tomorrow. Do things in small increments. You can’t get rich quick unless you get stupidly, out of your control, lucky. You can’t get in shape quickly. You can’t learn Spanish quickly. You can’t write that book quickly. Not if you want to do those things well.
Also, all that other shit you see all your friends or peers doing? You are only getting the highlight reel. You can’t keep up with a highlight reel.
We’re almost done here, and I am going to ask you to do a favor. Not for me, but for you. After this, go sit somewhere, and just sit there for five or ten minutes, whatever you think you can spare. Put your phone on silent and move it out of sight. I’ll bet you $100 that you don’t miss a single important thing.
Remember Ferris Bueller, our oddly astute truant? We talked about his famous perspective on life, but we didn’t let him finish his thought. He told us that life moves fast, sure, but also that if you don’t slow down and take a moment, you won’t really get to enjoy it. You think Ferris Bueller didn’t kick some deadlines down the road a bit?
Slowing the fuck down isn’t a perfect science. Like firefighting and skincare, it’s mostly preventative. It won’t solve every problem, but committing to it should minimize future versions of those problems. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk. Drive home slowly!