In a Hurry? Me, too!

I’ve always been in a hurry. My father said that I went straight from crawling to running.

When I was in college and law school, I drove a VW Beetle back and forth between Miami, my hometown, and Gainesville, where I attended the University of Florida. The car was slow–it had a 50-horsepower engine. Most modern cars have close to 200 HP.

For seven years, I went back and forth on a long, boring drive. Five hours up, five hours back. The only frill in the car was an AM radio and there were few stations along the way. No podcasts, no Spotify, no chats with friends.

The moment I got out of Miami traffic and on the highway, I’d push the gas pedal to the floor. I tried never to let it up until I arrived at my exit in Gainesville. The car rarely went faster than the 70-mph speed limit.

When I got to Central Florida the road became hilly and going uphill the car would slow down to about 55. So I’d push the gas pedal harder.

But the pedal was already on the floor. No matter how hard I pushed it, the car wouldn’t go any faster up those hills. No matter how frustrated I was, or how badly I wanted to arrive sooner, the car wouldn’t comply. Going uphill the car always slowed. Every time.

I still find myself doing this from time to time, in a hurry and trying to move faster than is mentally or physically possible, pushing my internal gas pedal when it’s already floored. The result is as predictable as my trying to get my car to go faster up those Florida hills–it doesn’t work.

And pushing a car’s gas pedal harder than it will go doesn’t hurt the car. But people are not machines. The stress when I’m pushing myself too hard is exhausting and counterproductive. I’m less creative, more anxious, and predictably less efficient.

So now when I realize I’m hurrying beyond my capacity, I try to back off the gas pedal. I’ve found there’s a sweet spot that allows me to work efficiently without the stress of unnecessary pressure. It requires me to stop for a moment and become aware of what I’m doing. I need to feel into my body and recalibrate. When I do this, I can usually get more done in less time. And maybe I can even enjoy what I’m doing.

How about you? Are you in a hurry, too? Can you find that sweet spot and get up your daily hills without bringing unnecessary pressure along for the ride? You might find, like me, you’ll travel with less stress and get there just as quickly. And maybe even enjoy the ride!

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