Volume 1, Issue 7, 10/11/07
Today I'm watching myself rush. What's interesting is that I'm
doing it without time pressure. I have one only appointment -
the rest of the day is unscheduled - and my body is still
When I notice I'm hurrying, I slow down. I let myself walk
slower. (This happens every few minutes.) I catch myself
speeding as I wash my lunch dishes and ease up.
I'm on my way to the freeway when I remember I'd rather take the
scenic route - city streets, slower, more relaxing - to the
library. So I do.
I love going slower. (I notice I don't want to say "I love going
slow.") What I don't like is hurrying. And I don't like the
assumption that I should be hurrying, which, unfortunately,
seems to be built into my operating system.
Whenever I realize I'm hurrying and let myself go slower, always,
I notice it first in my body - I think I experience what the
brain researchers call a "hap hit" - a noticeable feeling of
satisfaction, a "hit" of happiness, even if it sometimes lasts
only a fleeting moment.
I'm guessing one thing introverts and extroverts have in common
is that none of us likes to hurry as a way of life. Out of
curiosity I looked up "hurry" in the dictionary, thinking it
would say something like going faster than normal or faster than
you want to.
But it wasn't till the third definition or so that going too fast
came up. So maybe I'm wrong about extroverts, because the basic
definition was simply about going quickly.
And pace is, according to temperament research, different for
introverts and extroverts. Generally speaking, extroverts do
have a faster pace than introverts because of differences in
brain chemistry and in how we use the autonomic nervous system.
Introverts and extroverts are in the same boat, though, when it
comes to my definition of "hurrying as a lifestyle": going
faster than you want to more often than you like. Nobody likes
that - it's built into the definition! And my hunch is that
it's not just introverts who face the challenge of hurrying
as a lifestyle.
But help is on the way! Some time ago I read a book called
"In Praise of Slowness", by Carl Honore'. It was published in
2004 and describes the international "Slow movement", which is
taking many forms around the world. For instance: the 700+
member Sloth Club in Japan, the Society for the Deceleration of
Time in Europe, Citta Slow ("Slow Cities") in Italy, Slow Food
activists all over the world, and millions of people slowly doing
their yoga right here in the U.S. of A.
I'm curious about the make-up of this multi-faceted movement.
Is it mainly introverts, quietly taking things into our own
hands? Or extroverts deciding the speed of life has gotten
out of control and mobilizing? Or introverts and extroverts
I like to say that I believe the world is longing for more
"introvert energy" - more reflection, more quiet, a slower pace.
I'm secretly hoping the Slow movement is an introvert/extrovert
collaboration. But I know introverts have natural talent to
contribute to it.
Meanwhile, back in my own body (which played three games of
solitaire really fast today :-)), I've got two things going for
me. One is that I love those "hap hits" I get when I slow down.
The other is that I've declared my intention to let my life be
slower. (An intention can be very powerful.)
End of food for thought - on to a practical idea:
A Practical Idea for Introverts and Extroverts
Think about the amount of hurrying in your life. If it's about
right, take a moment to feel satisfied. If it's more than you
like, set an intention to slow your pace down a notch or two.
Find a way to remind yourself about your intention once a
week - and see what happens!