This was a famous slogan used in campaigns to promote safe driving but it applies to much more than that.
Speed is often a major cause of many of our mistakes in life.
Most of us first experience the dangers of speed as children.
Children love to go full out. They don’t know the meaning of “slowing down” or the dangers that exist all around them.
Kids run across the street, fly down the hallway, peel down the sidewalk…we’re just hardwired to use our body to its fullest as children.
But sooner or later we pay the price for our actions.
A bruised elbow, a split lip, a broken leg, a cracked rib, a twisted ankle, stitches, crutches, the list goes on and on.
Just a week ago my son was trying hard to do jump rope but he wanted to skip the learning process. As is the case with most children, they learn simply from doing.
Well, 2 minutes later my son learned firsthand the dangers of skipping ahead by face-planting into the carpet.
Thankfully, it was just a few scratches and bruises but it could have been so much worse. I shudder to think what would have happened had he done it in our parking area. He would have needed a trip to the hospital for sure.
Fast forward a few years and as young adults we learn the joys of putting things off in the form of procrastination.
We play for as long as we can until we can put off our homework or studies no longer.
As a result, we cram.
Had we studied an hour a day for 2 weeks we’d just need a quick review and we’d be ready. Instead we choose the “better” way which results in a stress-filled night trying to shove material in our heads to pass our tests.
If we are somehow able to succeed what do we do with our newfound knowledge…we proceed to forget 98% of it. Test done, mission accomplished…time to catch up on my latest video games, my friends on FB or whatever tickles our fancy.
Then we grow up and start working.
Unfortunately, as kids we healed quickly, and as students we survived thanks to cramming so we never learn the lesson life was trying to teach us and proceed to fall into the same pattern; dealing with the easier tasks at hand and hoping that, by some miracle, the rest will take care of itself.
But it never works like that.
Putting off things we know we need to deal with only makes things worse later.
And we’re all guilty of rushing to finish things so we can leave at 5pm in order to catch the game or meet up with our friends.
Either way, speed becomes the name of the game and the faster you go, the more prone we all are to making mistakes.
But unlike mistakes as children, in the business world mistakes can be costly – to your company, and to yourself.
Today we have become used to instantaneous results but the fact of the matter is the faster we go, the more mistakes we make.
Ron White, a two-time USA memory champion, learned this valuable lesson from former U.S. Navy SEAL TC Cummings when preparing for the USA Memory Championship.
TC Cummings, as a SEAL, found that the more he hurried, the worse the results.
Conversely, when he slowed down and focused on being precise, the results were better.
Applying this simple concept Ron went on to set a new record for the fastest time to memorize a deck of cards.
We all want to learn fast, get home quick or finish quickly so we can get on with whatever we enjoy doing. But our minds and bodies don’t work that way. We all need to slow down and focus on getting things right before we focus on speeding up.
What’s interesting is that by going slowly and mastering the ideas we are being taught over time, naturally, we speed up.
Slow is the new fast.