Happiness and Hurrying

I’m a hurrier. I value efficiency and timeliness. But sometimes outside forces put a crimp in my ability to translate these values into practice, so instead of actually being efficient and on time I just stress about it. Maybe you’ve experienced this too – a new job with a tight schedule that forces you to rush around, or you’ve become a parent and are figuring out how to fit another person’s life into your own. Life can (and does) change, and sometimes the life we’ve moved into doesn’t have enough hours in the day to get everything done. That’s stressful, but it it’s only the tip of the iceberg.  There are significant secondary effects that hurrying can have on us and those around us. When I hurry I make less eye contact with the checkout clerk and smile less at my colleague when saying good morning. I’ll tend to zoom ahead instead of letting someone into my lane when I’m driving to work. In short, I’m not my best “me.” Appearing unrelaxed, unapproachable, and unhappy can affect other people’s happiness and most certainly affects how they interact with me. It’s a feedback loop of unhappiness.  Also, hurrying doesn’t always achieve what we want to achieve. A friend once did an experiment after getting another speeding ticket on his way to the beach. The next few times he went he drove the speed limit the whole way. Not only did it take only about 15 minutes more but the entire drive was relaxing and enjoyable. His weekend could start when he started the drive instead of three hours later when he got to his destination. Sometimes we need to hurry, but let’s face it fellow chronic hurriers – usually we don’t. So let’s practice not rushing. What’s the worst that can happen? We’re a little late for something and we learn to leave earlier next time. And the best that can happen? We and everyone around us feels more relaxed and happy. So hurry up and start slowing down!