You Can’t Ignore the Threes: Slow Down Already!

I tend to pay attention to things when they come in threes within a short period of time. If it’s less than three, then it may just be a coincidence. When it takes more than three times to get my attention, then that would mean I’m either not present or avoiding the information.

Today, I got the message: SLOW DOWN!!!

I got the message from Dave Buck in “Real Coaching Revolution.” He wrote: “A lot of the time people are NOT present to what they are doing because they are so overwhelmed by having so many things to do. Slowing down and being present is a gift (play on words…”

That was magic number three!

The other two came over the past few days as I was finishing a couple of interesting books, “Pure Heart, Simple Mind” and “What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should do the Opposite.”

I enjoyed reading both of these books. Although I’d purchased both of them many months ago, it wasn’t until this past week that I decided to complete reading them.

Isn’t it interesting that I decided to do it at the same time and found the same message in both books as well as in Dave’s message? Some coincidence, eh?

It gets better…

Ironically, I had a house guest staying with me at the same time I was reading the aforementioned books and he remarked to me how much he enjoyed the signs I’d posted.

I have several signs posted around my apartment with the message, “Keep it Simple, Keep it Consistent.” I put them up just about two years ago when I was taking an online course on how to write a mini-book.

While this particular message didn’t use the exact words, “slow down,” it had the same meaning. In other words, don’t allow overwhelm to rein supreme. Slow down and takie baby steps will help ensure that your energy is continually moving toward a goal.

In Seishindo coach Charlie Badenhop’s “Pure Heart, Simple Mind,” he writes about his Aikido training. In a special advanced training class, Charlie is attacked by five other students to see how he’ll fare. As he’s attempting to fend off the attackers, his master called out to him to “slow down, slow down!” Unfortunately, he was subdued by the group. He tried the practice a second time and Sensei yelled out “slow down!” But, Charlie didn’t fare any better.

Sensei questioned whether Charlie believed him and went on to successfully demonstrate what he’d been suggesting.

The two then watched recordings of their performances. Sensei offered his analysis:

“‘See,’” he said, “you are never calm, never still. You’re trying to catch up with what’s going on, rather than leading the proceedings.

‘Notice the difference,’ he said, as we looked at the footage of him performing. ‘Movement, calmness, movement, calmness, and always in harmony with my breath.

‘If I move to soon, they charge after me. If I pause just a moment, they rush to the spot I was, and not the spot where I am. They focus on the past, while I do my best to stay in the present.

‘What’s making this hard for you is your lack of confidence and your belief that what your doing is difficult. The more you hurry the more you worry and the more your mind becomes scattered.

‘A scattered mind has no focus and no clear path. With no clear path, you become like a deer frozen in the headlights of an oncoming car. You become the prey.

‘I don’t want to overstate all of this,” Sensei said. ‘But, I’m guessing you may find the same to be true in your everyday life. Move less and do less and you’ll have all the time you need.’”

In science writer David DiSalvo’s “What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite he emphasizes the importance of slowing down:

“Slowing down providers time to consider how an issue has been framed and whether we really considered all the relevant factors. Pausing for just a moment can allow you to challenge yourself about an action you are about to take that could have horrible consequences, like responding to an email while driving instead of waiting until you can focus attention on the message you want to send — instead of parsing attention between the email and driving. Slowing down is, in short, fundamental to every topic in this book. If more of us would take just a couple extra moments to think an action through, we would all be much better off.”

While doing a lot quickly may seemingly move you toward your goal, it may in reality deplete your energy. Will power will only get you so far. It’s simply not sustainable over a long period of time. It may also prevent you from getting an accurate picture of what else is happening around you.

So why not choose to slow down, take a deep breath and evaluate your situation? You’ll may well be glad you did.

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