There’s No Time To Rush
In trapeze and trampoline, timing is everything. The swing of the bar and the rhythm of the trampoline bed follow the laws of physics. Your ability to build height, get into tricks easily, and meet the catcher at the catch point depend more on timing than on power or strength.
Patience is key.
I tend to rush my tricks. I often twist off the trampoline bed, or throw down on a front tuck too early instead of riding it up in the set before tucking. In my trapeze swing, I’ll often sweep my legs back too soon, making the trick more difficult.
Learning to ride the trampoline, to wait for the right moment to initiate the action, is my challenge and my practice.
Last week one coach told me that my internal sense of timing was a bit too early; I consistently try to go before it’s time. This is a bad habit that is really hard to break.
And it results in the opposite outcome of what I desire. Even the smallest degree of difference — 2 millimeters, a few frames on the video replay — can make a huge difference in the outcome.
Circus is Life, and this is a pattern that definitely shows up in my life outside the circus tent.
Just like in trampoline and trapeze, rushing in life doesn’t get me to my desired outcome any faster. It tends to make everything more difficult.
Maybe it does for you, too.
With practice of mindfulness and a deliberate effort to slow down, I find myself rushing less often, but there are still moments when I find myself feeling that I’m behind. Nothing triggers those moments more than my birthday, which tends to serve as an annual reminder that where I am is not where I thought I would be by now.
With my birthday coming up tomorrow, it felt like perfect timing (ha!) to explore this topic.
In today’s episode of My Circus Life, I shared 5 reasons why we rush, and what you need to know to help you stop rushing through life.
Why We Rush:
(1) We think we are “behind”
We believe we are behind where we should be at this point in our day, week, year, or in the arc of our lives. We think things like
I should have made more progress on that goal or project.
I should be further along than I am.
So we rush to try to catch up.
Truth: We are exactly where we are meant to be.
I know this sounds like one of those bullshit things very zen people say.
What I have found, though, is that it really is true. Our challenge is to learn how to trust it. Trust that the things that appear to “set us back” and cause us to be “behind” happen for us. That even if it feels we are behind, we are exactly where we need to be.
The belief that we are behind comes from falling into the comparison trap. We may be comparing ourselves to others. And that’s a dangerous trap.
We don’t know where those others are on their timeline. Maybe that person you’re comparing yourself to will die next year and you’ll live for another 50 years. If I’m going to live to 93, I am not even halfway through.
What if I still have plenty of time?
Or we may be comparing ourselves to our story of what it should look like by this stage of life. And it’s important to recognize that every story is a lie. Where does that story even come from? You made it up. Or the person who told it to you made it up.
So we rush because we believe a lie that we are behind. That’s really dumb.
(2) We fear we will be late to our destination
This may sound similar to Reason 1, but it is different. Even if we don’t feel behind right now, we may fear that we won’t make it to our destination on time. And then we will be behind.
We believe that if we rush we will get “there” faster. This is why I rush in my trampoline tricks. I want to make sure I have enough time to twist or rotate fully, so I land safely.
Truth 1: Rushing doesn’t get us anywhere faster.
What happens when you try to rush out the door? If you’re like me, you forget things and need to go back. Then you end up being later than you would have been if you took more time at the start.
When you rush your work and try to cut corners, you make mistakes or skip foundational steps. Then you have to start again.
A few weeks ago, I climbed the rope. I thought I made amazing progress. I was actually ahead of my timeline. But it was an illusion. It turns out I need to hone the technique more to make it consistent. So I didn’t really achieve my goal faster.
Truth 2: We don’t know where “there” is, so we won’t even know when we are “there”
There’s also an assumption here that we know where “there” is. And that we know what it looks like.
The truth is we have no idea where “there” is. We may have a desire of where we want to go, but what if we are already there, and it looks different from what we thought it would look like?
(3) We are trying to fit it all in.
We get so caught up in trying to cram in as much as we can in the time we have. We believe that if we we move faster we can do more.
We buy into the belief that time is scarce, which causes us to operate from a time famine.
How often do you hear yourself say something like
I don’t have time to get it all done.
Truth: when we cram too much in, we don’t give space to what is there.
When we try to cram so much into our days, we don’t really pay attention to any of it. We don’t remember what we did.
Multitasking is the worst offender. Science shows it is a cognitive drain that makes us less productive. When we multitask, we don’t give full attention to anything. Productivity comes from presence.
Beyond the negative impact on productivity, multitasking robs us of the presence we need to nurture relationships. Several months ago I was on a call with a colleague, seeking advice on an important decision. In the background I could hear typing.
I asked him what the clicking was.
He said he was typing an email. Not even taking notes! (At least he was honest.)
The same parts of your brain that process audio also process reading and writing. So it is literally impossible to fully hear someone else when you are typing an email.
He was trying to cram everything in. I felt rushed and unheard. That doesn’t make for great relationships that produce results.
(4) We are trying to get it over with
Sometimes we rush because the experience is unpleasant and we want it to be over.
Bad sex. Public speaking. Doing the dishes. Laundry. Email. Networking. Your workout. A date with an old friend. A difficult conversation.
Rushing is a culturally-sanctioned form of escape. We can get away with a lot of rushing through things under the pretense of being “busy.”
What’s the thing that you rush through because you don’t enjoy it? Please share with me in the comments. I’d really love to have more examples for this category.
Truth: Anything worth doing is worth doing with intention and presence
Hard things don’t become easy just because you rush through them. And rushing doesn’t give you the results you want.
Several years ago, when I first got intentional about incorporating rituals into my life, I adopted the mindset that if something is worth doing, I should do it with presence and intention. If I don’t enjoy doing it, then I shouldn’t do it.
As much as possible, delegate or eliminate things you don’t enjoy. Find a type of exercise you love. Hire someone to do your laundry and clean your home. Don’t attend speed networking events. Don’t have sex with people who are bad in bed.
(5) We want to move on to the next thing.
This may sound similar to number 4, but it is different. Reason 4 was about not enjoying the thing you’re doing. You don’t like it and you want it to be over.
Here, you may enjoy what you’re doing, but you rush through it because you fear missing out on other opportunities while you are still doing the current thing.
In a recent negotiation where I represented a seller, the buyer’s agent was frustrated by the pace. My seller lives on the other side of the world. I also know her temperament: if I rush her, she will shut down. I clearly communicated the timing to the agent. He tried to blame his client for the frustration. He even forwarded me an email from his client that complained about the process. But his client wasn’t complaining about the pace. Later, the agent revealed that he was just eager to get this deal done so he could move on to other clients. He was afraid of missing other opportunities.
Truth: If you’re rushing to get to the next thing, you’re missing out on the current thing.
Fact: every decision to do something means you’re missing out on something else.
While you’re worrying about missing out on what’s next, you’re missing out on what’s now, because you’re no longer present to this moment.
This pattern will continue when you do move on to the next thing. This is how people miss out on life.
The challenge and the practice is to trust that you will receive other opportunities. Sometimes those opportunities are better.
Watch the Show
Which of these reasons resonate most with you? Are there other reasons you find yourself rushing? Please share in the comments!