Log 28-8-13 / Why slowing down may make you more effective.

August 28, 2013

The older I get. The more I realize that it is not what I LEARN every year that matters. As it remains the very curious case of what I can UNLEARN that truly matters.

That is because when we THINK deeply about who we are, why we even wake up and go to work along with where we are headed – then like me, you will probably begin to discover so many of the roles, missions, goals and attitudes towards life have been scripted by OTHERS and not us – perhaps to serve their selfish agenda of just chalking up meaningless numbers so that they can look good and go on an extended ego trip – but what do I get? What’s in it for me?

Something to think about!

That’s why one of the things I committed to do this year is to throw out many of these old scriptings that has managed to encrust themselves in my mind by SLOOOOOOOOOOOWing down. A militant act of resistance (or maybe petulance on a Byzantine scale). To even go against the grain, just to see where it all ends up. Easier said that done. Trust me. As the poison of going fast is so well rooted in one’s character (probably due the relentless propaganda machine scaring the shit out of all of us, that we even slow down just a bit. We will be munching on mud cakes and tree bark congee. No prices who benefits from perpetuating that great lie.).

I guess most people take the path of least resistance and buy lock, stock and barrel into the highly competitive fast, faster and fasterest lifestyle for no other reason, as they see everyone doing the same – on the surface, being competitive and fast seems to get you all the goodies, gets you that promotion, higher salary, car, house, holiday etc etc etc. But what is the bloody point, if you end up getting a heart attack when you are supposed to be in the prime of your life, only to end up giving it all back by incurring super duper expensive medical bills. What if it comes at a terrible cost to your personal life where your wife, kids and friends are just relegated to passing acquaintances

This should prompt us all to ask: have we become so fixated with the allure of speed that we can no longer perceive the wisdom of slowing down any longer?

Maybe, we all just need to press the PAUSE button and think deeper about the fundamental question of where we are heading along with whether this whole idea mindlessly chasing growth is such a good thing – do we want to put ourselves and our loved one’s FIRST. Or do we just want to mindlessly accumulate stuff just because someone on TV sells it as la dolce vita?

For me after nearly one year of experimenting with the SLOOOOOOW life…all I can say, I am never ever going back to the life of the hamster wheel ever again. Why should I? I only live once…..least I can do when I am here is stop time from time to time to admire the view and smell the flowers…that after all is what life is truly about..


“Slowing down is not merely important to your health and well being. It’s conceivable slowing down may well be the only way to carve competitive advantage on a sustainable basis – so what if people label you lazy or say that you lack drive. Go tell them to fuck their mothers. Trust me, as when you commit yourself to doing just that, it’s not such a bad thing IMHO – as you will probably have to go into business for yourself. Either that or you’ll be sacked or have to put up with the perpetual grief of an inconsiderate boss who expects you to work after five just because he doesn’t have a life and no one wants to fuck him.

I reckon this corrosive notion of WORK is quite pravalent in Singapore – and the only reason why it is able to latch itself to the whole idea of how work is and must be, is because no one has bothered with the idea of thinking about it deeply – if they did, they would probably say, Enough is enough! No! Dowan! Go and fuck your mother! (that is the gold standard of verbalizing it IMHO) What did I just say? Go fuck your mother lah, while you’re at it do the dog and cat as well!

When you go into business (which you probably have too, if you take my advice what to say to your boss) – you will find that once you have established yourself (after you have learnt the ropes, networked enough to just pick up the phone to get things done, turned the corner etc etc) – there is really so much room for improvisation and experimentation – and when you reach that sweet point – I highly recommend that you experiment with SLOWING DOWN.

One of the things that hits you when you SLOW DOWN is that you’re suddenly aware of things and people and details that previously escaped your field of vision when you were bulleting like a rocket – one begins to lead a nuanced life, instead of just skimming the surface of superficially where everything is just binary, generic along with black and white – things, events and thoughts acquire a sense of precision and scale, they aren’t just framed in neat white and black labels – you will find that you’re able to build stronger relationships, have much more meaningful conversations along with discover new skills like how to smile at a girl in a short skirt on the trains without coming across as a crazed suicide bomber – as since you’re SLOW and deliberate about the whole procenot of whatever you’re doing and just trying to get it over and done with. In your new reborn turtle state of mind you sound less like a robot who is just rattling off from a laminated card – people will even begin to enjoy your company and they even look forward to seeing you (now I finally know why I wasnt too hot with the ladies. And all along I thought it had something to do with my aftershave) – to me that’s when one is living instead of just existing.

But one of the most significant changes in your life as a business man as you begin experimenting with the whole concept of SLOWING DOWN – is you actually become more effective – this at least is my experience.

Granted. It may sound kooky and even counter intuitive at first. But just go with the flow with me on this one – that’s why I mentioned in the beginning – we need to UNLEARN instead of LEARN – as when you SLOW DOWN. Suddenly you will discover a whole field of possibilities that previously escaped you beginning to open up.

Recently I have been encroaching on the turf of my enemies (very gingerly of course) – I am secretly gathering the support of the villagers in his precinct to stage a coup which requires me to network extensively – to drop by at the school and refresh the teachers knowledge on math (which for some inexplicable reason is always lacking in Kampung schools). As I am a God with numbers. So far so good, except for some irritating incidences involving some of the younger teachers poking fun at me and cracking jokes during lectures. Beside that everything is just sweet. Fellowshipping with the kampung folk, finding out whether anyone needs assistance etc etc.

This is the equivalent of my shock and awe – to plan to start this war off by first making sure the hearts and minds is in my back pocket – previously, I considered networking and kissing babies along with attending weddings and kenduri’s (invitations) as just an add on, something that I would normally do, ONLY if you have time to burn – but as I SLOW DOWN and take the trouble to listen deeply, commune at a deep spirited level, take the trouble to understand the issues and to ask deep probing questions etc etc etc  – I find many of the villagers in my enemies territory are not happy.

So you see, I have just discovered a nail that I am going to hammer into the coffin of my enemies – now the learning outcome here is IF I didn’t SLOW DOWN and just did whatever I was doing before by breaking the sound barrier – this strategic intelligence would probably escape my attention and I would probably have to deferred my plans to take over his lands by another five years. But as it is, I am starting to realize that I don’t have to wait that long to launch my great design – all I need to do is kick that rotten door down now! And to kick it so hard that all the bolts fly out – their lands will be mine!

If you want to move forward. Perhaps it makes far more sense to step back. By this, I mean to slow down and start to smell the flowers, admire the scenery along with probably enjoy the conversation and don’t be surprise, if somewhere in all this, suddenly it just goes click – and that’s really the sound of the door that has always been closed to you all this time, suddenly opening.”

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