Life is going too fast. It has even affected the animal kingdom. Three snails mugged a turtle. When someone asked the turtle what they looked like, the turtle said, "I don't know, it all happened so fast."
The theme today is "do more and do it faster." A restaurant promises lunch in fifteen minutes or it will be free. An emergency room promises treatment in twenty minutes or it will be free. People are reading The Fifty-Nine-Second Employee — a book about how to stay ahead of The One-Minute Manager. We have e-mail, overnight delivery, beepers, pagers, voice-mail, and cell phones. You can't go anywhere they can't find you. One guy told me to send a fax to him on his car phone-fax. Can we do that? Doesn't he have to pull over or something? Our world is into fast.
I'm trying to get organized. The experts tell me to handle a piece of mail only once. I'm afraid to touch anything. My computer doesn't understand me. I've named it the Bermuda Triangle. Stuff goes in but it never really comes back out. It gives new meaning to the word "backup." I have so many emergencies that I've changed my area code to 911. I've discovered that when life is going 100 mph you can't control it — you can only aim it. I'm trying to go faster. I've put my VCR in the microwave so I can watch movies in twenty minutes. I've even added an express lane for the invitation time.
Every time I turn around it is "do it faster," "push the envelope," "raise the bar," and "take it to the next level." I feel like the juggler at the circus, but I'm juggling hand grenades instead of balls. I knew I was exhausted when I caught myself singing, "I am exhausted, O Lord," instead of "I exalt Thee, O Lord."
It's not just me; it's everybody. I knew we were in trouble as a society when I saw a lady get on the plane and put the laptop in her lap and her child in the overhead baggage compartment. Well, I'm slowing down. I'm going to relax. I'm actually going to relax better and faster. I'm taking relaxation "to the next level." Sorry — I got carried away.
I'm tired of desktop dining and informational hell. I don't want to be reached at doitfast.com. I've decided to take my mother's advice. If she has said it once, she has said it a thousand times: "Charles, be still." The two most important buttons on my computer from now on are going to be "delete" and "off." Of course, you can't just turn off the computer; it asks if you are sure if you want to sign off. YES! I'm sure!
I'm not saying to drop everything. There is a season of getting things done, but there is also a season of rest. There is a season of evaluation. Understand that five times zero is still zero. Some things are not worth doing even if you can do them five times faster. So I threw away my "to do" list. If it's not important enough to remember, it may not be important enough to do. Then, I cut off my computer and took a golf lesson.
My golf teacher said, "No wonder you don't have any power. Your back swing is too fast. A little pause at the top is what gives you the power." He was reflecting what my mom said, "Be still," with the emphasis at the top. Which is what the Psalmist said: Be still and know that I am God. I need to pause at the top, where the power is.
Charles Lowery is founder and president of Lowery Institute for Excellence, Inc., www.charleslowery.com