Making A Case For Slowing Down

I was on twitter one evening and I saw some tweets by JJ. Omojuwa that went like this: “If you sleep consistently for an average of 8 hours per day this year, you’d have slept for full 4 months out of 12 months in 2016” “And if you are a young person and you are…

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I was on twitter one evening and I saw some tweets by JJ. Omojuwa that went like this:

“If you sleep consistently for an average of 8 hours per day this year, you’d have slept for full 4 months out of 12 months in 2016”

“And if you are a young person and you are doing 8 hours of sleep every day, you better make sure your money is making money while you sleep”.

Sigh. The first thing that ran through my mind was “please, get out of my head” because I know how reading such things tend to stick and true to form I saw myself calculating my sleeping hours, I discovered that I sleep for 6 and not 8 hours but knowing even that didn’t give me any relief. I went to bed that night feeling like the 6 hours was also a waste of several months of the year and all through the week I was nagged by the idea that I don’t really have money that is making me money, neither have I mastered the act of holding off sleep in order to work on money making projects in the way that authors of such tweets have.

Ours is a world that lays great emphasis on speed, doing everything as fast as is possible, rushing and racing, trying to catch up with or outrun time. We feel very useful when we’re busy, we feel like we’re making progress when our schedule and to-do list are packed full with activities….but, “beware the barrenness of a busy life” Socrates said. When did we get so fast? When did doing everything as fast and quickly as possible become more desirable than slowing down? Doesn’t all the hurry make us hurt? Even with how busy the day gets we still wish we can buy more time, has anyone ever noticed how we mostly wish for more time when it comes to doing the little things that actually add colour and meaning to our lives? Could it be that time isn’t actually running like we think but we only got faster? The busy life can disguise itself as a good thing what with the adrenalin rush, the heady feeling which makes us feel invincible and the cockiness that sometimes follows when we’re ahead of the pack, but cramming more and more into less and less time can also, albeit unbeknownst to us, become a way of walling ourselves off from confronting our lives and asking ourselves the bigger, deeper questions.

The word “slow” is often used to describe a person who is seen as dumb, sometimes a buzzkill, a lazy person, an uninteresting event, a simpleton can even be thrown in, it appears to be anything but a positive word. Yes, I know there is such a thing as “bad slow” but there is also “good slow” and that is what I’m advocating for today. Bad slow is often used and talked about so much that it overshadows the positive part of the word to the point that slowing down and admitting that one needs to slow down is a hard thing to do. I’m making a case for “slowing down”, not because I want to give myself an excuse for maybe not being as equipped to prosper and accomplish great things as everyone else who is busy trying to outrun time seems to be, but because I’m tired of going through each day hearing this buzz, relentlessly chipping away at my mind, telling me that I’m not doing it fast enough, I’m not achieving fast enough and I’m not competing with my yesterday well enough forgetting that I don’t even really remember my yesterday as well as I should because I was busy rushing through every second only to catch up with today. I’ve heard different versions of what it means to truly live life that I’ve come to understand that I’m the only one who can define what living means to me and then concentrate all of me on living that definition to the best of my ability.

Slowing down tells me to fully enter into the current moment with the weight of all my attention, of my presence. In this space of time, I am attentive. I am aware. I accept the whole moment with all of me. By slowing down I don’t fill my head with distractions or get too busy to ask myself, am I well? Am I happy? Is my mummy well? Are my siblings doing ok? What is really going on with my neighbour or friend? When I pay full attention, I see that I have a lot to be thankful for and I learn to store all the precious little moments that make up my day in my heart. Slowing down is hard to do especially for me because by nature my mind is hardly quiet or in my surrounding but this is what I must learn to do, this is what we all should learn to do. Time is what we all have, this gift of now, I think it’s what we never need to merely find enough of but rather, the gift we are given to make something of. The second tweet is an example of what the rush against time is really about, we humans are quite competitive, therefore triumphalist by inclination, because we operate in a society where respect for “personal status” is a leading value, but what shall it profit us to have a soakaway full of cash, a desk fully decorated with accolades, but our lives and relationships are empty, our health is failing, the kids grow up and the parents don’t even notice, the marriage is cold and strifeful, the soul is malnourished; and “What will be the good of the conquest of leisure and health, if no one remembers how to use them?” — Watts

I have to confess that I wrote this article a while ago and held unto it because somehow I didn’t feel like I was qualified to make a case for slowing down since I’m only just scratching the surface of my dreams and I’m nowhere near where I want to be; but in a world of reaching, in a culture of numbers and ladders, when do I breath? How do I grow? How do I find peace? How do I nurture my relationships? How do I contribute beyond myself?

What are your thoughts on our culture of speed?

Image via Kinetic Fix

Responses

  1. nO2_EFX
    Its strange how people are quick to imply that if we sleep 8 hours every night we would have WASTED 33% of our life on sleep. God in his infinite wisdom made night so mankind could grab some shut-eye yet people say utilizing the time to rest is wrong.

    In my journey to getting fit and all, I discovered that one of the reasons people don’t loose weight is because they don’t get enough rest/sleep. Insufficient sleep is also said to be a causative factor of things like high BP and stress. Here’s the thing, when we’re young, it’s fine to cut in on our sleep time if we’re going to use it to further our goals. But we must realize that even the strongest and most driven humans need rest.

    Some fitness coaches even say that you need at least 6 hours of sleep for your body to rest and repair itself. so if you don’t sleep long enough you body wont heal properly and grow.

    Sleepless nights should not be a way of life, it should be a means to an end. once said end is finished, catch your Z’s, please

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    1. twisted
      …no time to stand beneath the boughs and stare as long as sheep or cows…
      I remember this poem so well and I can’t believe how apt it summarizes this post. It was also one of the poems I never forgot by w.h.Davies.
      Nelo did you attend chrisland school?

      Posted from TNC Mobile

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    2. Priscilla Joy
      Hi Nelo and Twisted, please what is the title of the poem? I would like to look it up. You’re right it summarizes the post so well.

      Thanks guys.

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  2. OluwaPRtoyosi
    This indeed is an intelligent polished writeup. I get really scared of how I hear that if u sleep at your younger years too much you would suffer been an old man or woman… but what now happens to the enterprenuer who has no client to see or the graduate that has walked from distance to distance seeking for a job and hoping for a call….Sleeping might not mean you are a lazy frllow but incapacitated after many trials and you decide to nap out…thanks ya’all
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    1. Priscilla Joy
      Thank you , getting a goodnight sleep can never be a crime, like Od pointed out there should be a balance between rest, play and work time and nobody should be made to feel guilty for sleeping.Success means different things to different people and there’s no one proven path or method that leads to success or assures prosperity at old age. Don’t just be lazy is all
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  3. dexter
    I love this piece,i dont think I have anything to add just to share and brood over it. Thank you Priscilla for “pulling the plug”
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  4. Od
    I’m unapologetically opposed to that culture, is what I think.

    Someone said of me in uni once, “you are always the one that is slow with everything” or something like that. I know why I’ve always been. I have an inquiring mind, as God’s grace would have it. So I was always never in a hurry about something especially if I didn’t understand it.

    I know about the competitiveness in human nature and am at war with it. I would sooner embrace being looked down on for coming last than be celebrated for standing on a heap of bones. That’s part of my legacy from Christ. For some time now I’ve been the type of person who gives away precious knowledge to enable others gain advantages I possess. I don’t seek to be ahead of others. I seek to open new paths and help others march more confidently.

    That all makes me ponderous in pace. It also does make me a bit of a pariah.

    Today in church, the pastor said that as long as it’s honest work you should get off your butt and go do it rather than wait for a big job or a big business to fall into your lap. I agree with the sense in that but I have come to learn that honesty is a concept people gloss over now in the face of competition.

    For example, he said, “if someone calls you to come and paint a house, just go and paint the house and earn some cash.” It sounded right until you consider that few things are really as simple as that. That is why there is such a thing as due diligence. If you fail to take the time to discover what is exactly required of you in that job and how your activities will impact the environment, this seemingly simple job could cause harm to other people and perhaps even you.

    I think that there is such a thing as overthinking things but there are fundamental questions in everything that must not be disregarded or else the time apparently saved from so-called unnecessary analysis will have to be spent possibly multiple times over to fix the damage done by thoughtlessness.

    So, there should be a balance. Let’s stop the haste but learn to use our time with wisdom. 8 hours of sleep, for example, may be time well spent if it gives us 16 hours of extraordinary productivity while 6 hours might spent the same way might cost you 2 hours of productivity and 10 might also waste you 2 or more.

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    1. Priscilla Joy
      You’re right Od, balance is key. And speaking of productivity, Arianna Huffington authored a book: The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time. I haven’t read it yet but from reviews her book shows how our cultural dismissal of sleep as wasted time compromises our health and decision-making and undermines our lives. And she cites technology, work pressure, peer pressure, etc as reasons why we seem to favor workload and speed to getting a shut eye or focusing on things that really matter, she also has extensive data to back it up.
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    2. SeryxMe
      “I know about the competitiveness in human nature and am at war with it. I would sooner embrace being looked down on for coming last than be celebrated for standing on a heap of bones.” < ------ This!!! Sooo me!
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  • E
    Oga you’ve hit me with real word today, my mind can’t fit rest again ????????. Dame!!
    “I know about the competitiveness in human nature and am at war with it. I would sooner embrace being looked down on for coming last than be celebrated for standing on a heap of bones.”

    tanks for this…

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  • E
    Ohhh!!! boss you actually brought that Fantastic line up??? Ohh! Aah!! Doffs my hat, hooks my elbow….
    Tanks for d correction though
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  • Cavey
    Oh Priscilla, you are blessed beyond measure for this!!!!
    A couple of months ago, my mom called me and told me to slow down. “Caveman, so what happens when you buy the biggest house, latest car and have all the money you can dream of before you’re 30? What would you use the rest of your life to do” of which I said nothing…I was thinking skydiving, scuba diving and just basically chill the rest of my days while my money works for me but i’ve been on leave for 3 weeks now and I’m starting to understand what she meant. A lot of times, we get so carried away with wanting to make an impact so quickly that we lose our essence and sense of appreciation of now in the process. Even the bible while encouraging steady progress asks that we “not be anxious for anything” and while there are lots of interpretations for that, I also see it as a call to slow down, keep calm and even stop to analyze, appreciate and enjoy the moment.
    God bless you again, Priscilla.

    Posted from TNC Mobile

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    1. Priscilla Joy
      Thanks Cavey, your mum was so right to ask that question, the thing is we overestimate how great and awesome the time when we have it all we’ve finally “made it” will be and feel, we put off the present because we’re working for the future thinking it’s the future that will finally validate our lives but we forget that when that future comes we may not remember how to live it, the euphoria of the awesomeness of that future doesn’t last very long, and that is life.

      I think you should read this http://waitbutwhy.com/2013/11/life-is-picture-but-you-live-in-pixel.html, it’s really long but worth the time.

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  • snow
    Nah, i can never joke with my sleep. Despite all this faux-intellectual crap about spending 1/3 of your life sleeping.
    I sleep with any opportunity i get. in the bus, anywhere i can rest my head abeg. I know what happens to me when the sleep forsakes me, when i yearn for just a little rest but my eyes and mind won’t let me. so if i am able to sleep, best believe i will take it.

    Try staying awake for five days straight, then you’ll realize the value of sleep.

    Sleep deprivation is a torture technique, i guess you can understand how very important it is.

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    1. Priscilla Joy
      well said Snow, I don’t joke with my sleep at all. wait, but five days straight? I can’t even imagine what that was like.
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  • Larz
    Have you noticed how if you had a piece of equipment that you use without break, it is likely to fall apart quicker than another that is used less than you do?

    Ppl need help, for health and other reason. We need to recharge our body (esp our brain). We can only reset our body if we have adequate enough sleep. You mind (or was it brain) doesnt completely shut down and reset itself if the first few hours of sleep, it needs to get into a deeper level of sleep.

    Now, the prb with this so called fast paced life is that a) it advocates less sleep time b) it promotes doing over any sort of pausing (including thinking time which is apparently too slow). What you get is ppl r trading off resting / thinking time for doing more stuff. The prb is a lot of this stuff is prbly not adding any value to your overall dream. When you see any one person that is an accountant by profession but does photography on the side, writing, learning a couple of languages, plays golf, takes salsa classes etc. Sounds impressive right. In fact most ppl cabt help but be wowed at this thiught right. Well, me I ask them, what is your end goal. What are you planning to achieve. Because more often than not, if such a person asked themselves that question, they might decide that they would rather stick to 1 profession, 1 vocation, 1/ 2 sports or leisure activities and do them very well. This will translate a better life balance. Like someone said earlier, it is more about balance. Ultimately, we owe it to ourselves to live life and not just race through life. Trust me, our selfie of the events we pass through wont be enough to compensate through doing stuff without really experiencing them

    Posted from TNC Mobile

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    1. Priscilla Joy
      you really do understand it all, “doing stuff without really experiencing them” so apt…and then we’re asked “What will be the good of the conquest of leisure and health, if no one remembers how to use them?” — Watts, not really experiencing stuff is what leads to forgetting how living and just being feels like.
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  • Afuye
    Something I tell myself daily. The weight of self expectation crushes more than the comparisons to my more successful peers (Funny but I never compare myself to the “less successful” peers. But nna, whats the point of not sleeping when you haven’t even effectively managed the time you have awake.
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