I’ve been thinking about time a lot lately. In our world, we’re obsessed with fast everything: entertainment, service, decisions, travel, even dating. In many ways, we are so reliant on fast, that when things don’t happen at the speed of our expectations, we notice, or we're disappointed, or we're stressed. You know what I mean… how long does that red light seem when you’re late to a meeting? And who, like me, is obsessed with Amazon Prime?
It didn’t used to be that way. Historically, everything took time … a lot of it. In fact, yoga and Eastern spirituality are built on the premise that most lessons and experiences take SO MUCH TIME, that we need countless lives to soak in everything life has to offer.
Now that we live in this digital world, with information at our fingertips, instantaneous communication, and the ability to skip across the planet in hours, we often forget that some of the most important life experiences not only take time, but require it. It’s actually nice to be reminded that time is useful, and how often it works towards our greater good.
So with that, here are five areas of your life where speed is not an asset:
All relationships—personal, romantic, and professional—take time. The process of getting to know someone, of building intimacy and trust in them can take years (or decades). You may meet someone on Tinder, but “swiping right” is only the beginning. Enjoy the time it takes to unlock the true value in a relationship.
2. Getting great at anything.
As Ira Glass so effectively describes how success occurs in the creative world, “It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through it.” The same is true of a sport, or a language, or of being a parent (I surmise).
Anytime you’re hurt, or you’ve hurt others (which is inevitable), what usually helps most is time—to soothe emotional pain, for the edge to wear off. Not saying that you can or should forgive everything, but if it’s what you want, time is committed to working with you.
4. Personal growth.
Whether your path is yoga, or Kabbalah, or simply self-help books, spiritual practice takes time. Breakthrough experiences, like that yoga retreat you loved, or the Tony Robbins seminar I am attending, will inspire us and perhaps shift our perspective, but the good practices and habits that we build are what allow change to take hold.
Unless you’re in a hurry, “fast” is definitely not an asset. You know what I mean.
Now go take some time for yourself.