A great thinker, Ferris Bueller, once said “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while you could miss it.” If only Ferris knew how fast life would move in 2021 compared to 1986.
While the world continues to get faster and faster, we are submitting a campaign for slowing down. One of the problems we as humans face is an inability to react both quickly and rationally….consistently.
What happens when conflict emerges or the unexpected occurs and our desire to defend kicks in? Typically, we don’t stop, process, and then respond. Rather, we respond and then possibly reflect back on that response when the dust settles.
We quickly send emails stating our position or opposition (usually with some bold or underlined words and a few exclamation points). We vent on social media and then rush to delete the post once cooler heads prevail. And we interrupt mid-sentence because our thought most certainly is much more insightful compared to that of the person speaking.
Periodically, we talk about the myth of servant leadership as a weaker form of leadership. We think a similar myth extends to the soft-spoken or oft unspoken. While their approach may lean to the softer side, their words and tactics can have a significant impact. Where others feel they need to say more to be heard, some actually say more with less or realize that not everything warrants an immediate response.
In a fast-moving world, we tend to yell louder than the next person in order to be heard. But are we actually hearing anything at all?
Slow is fast. As leaders, we need to learn to get the ball in our glove before throwing it to first base.
It’s true we don’t always have the time to fully process in the moment, but are we processing at all? Are moments just that, or are we making them out to be bigger? Conversely, do we respond to single act without knowing the full context of the person or situation?
The purposeful pause can give us time to regulate our emotions, to consider other perspectives, and to be curious in a way that avoids assumption or quick judgment. This simple act can be very difficult to incorporate into our daily interactions, but it can also be the thing that moves us from simple interaction to meaningful conversation and continual learning.
Utilizing the purposeful pause doesn’t have to grind things to a screeching halt. In fact, once you’ve learned to use it well, you may discover that you actually go slow faster than most.