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February 9, 2015

Hurry Hurry, Step Right Up

Hal photo outside Feb2012“One of the great illusions of our time is that hurrying will buy us more time.” (John Ortberg)

Invariably, when I am in a hurry to check out at the grocery store, something will happen to make my line slower than a your average snail. The cashier changes shifts. The register runs out of receipt paper. The lady in front of me is buying some rare Guatemalan melon the cashier has never seen and he has to send three bag boys to find one with a sticker on it. I used to think I was cursed in the “waiting in line department” since this happened to me at banks and in traffic jams as well. But now I think I was just participating in a natural law.

The law is this: Hurrying actually slows you down. This is true not only with cashiers and bank tellers, but with our kids as well. Ever noticed that when you are hurrying to get out of the house with your children, something always happens that slows the process? It’s almost as if the more you speed up, the slower your kids get. I think that’s because hurrying is a needy thing to do. It is a symptom of impatience and anxiety. It is a form of weakness. And kids can sniff out weakness a mile away.

When you hurry, you aren’t creating more time. You are missing out on the only time that is truly yours – the present. Working yourself and your kids into a frenzy just for a couple of extra minutes isn’t going to really get you anywhere. Plan ahead and give yourself margin – more time than you think you’ll need  – for a task. Then enjoy yourself along the way. That’s tough to do, but practice helps. The next time you’re at the grocery store, give your patience muscle a bit of a workout and choose the longest line. Who knows, maybe the simple act of not hurrying will pay off and your line will outpace the one next to you.


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