Running at the Speed of Crazy
There is no doubt that our cultural bias has become, “faster is better.” It doesn’t matter who I talk to, everyone seems to be multi-tasking, going as fast as they can, and desperately looking for tools, tips, tricks and techniques to move even faster. There is also a cultural bias to be a “doer.” The busier you are and the more you do the more status you have. To paraphrase Brene Brown, overworking and exhaustion have become status symbols.
If you are honest with yourself, are you caught up in this trend? What are you really achieving and how effective are you? More and more research shows that humans can’t actually multi-task successfully. It also shows that if you only think about things quickly and on a shallow level just to be done and move on, you are losing the ability to think deeply and critically. (Remember, the brain is adaptable. If you don’t use it, you lose it, when it comes to various thinking abilities and capacities.)
In addition, recent research and books argue that rest and play are powerful and important to human’s abilities to be creative and innovative. So the message is becoming pretty clear that “do more, go faster” has been maxed out as an approach.
I have a real world example of a very successful entrepreneur who is in absolutely no rush, or hurry of any kind. He doesn’t overwork and, in fact, feels quite under control and calm and he has been highly successful. He does not plan for explosive growth and is in no big rush to “make things happen.” Despite his norm busting philosophy, he has successfully built an 8-figure company during the last 15 years that has had continuous, consistent, stable growth year after year. I know far more entrepreneurs who are running around and exhausting themselves “chasing their tails,” who have never experienced this level of growth or success.
It is very important to note that certain personality types have a bias toward speed and excessive doing. It’s a comfort zone for them. They are also assertive types and so the “more, more, go faster” feels good to them. In the process however, they tend to roll over others who bring different points-of-view or who work at different paces. Unfortunately, our collective cultural bias favors and praises these particular personality types over others. (See my previous blog on the enneagram for more about types.)
This whole issue really raises important questions to ask yourself. If your schedule is jam-packed and you are running morning, noon and night, do a reality check. Is this approach really making you successful and sustaining your success? Is that just a story you are telling yourself? Are you actually in pain working this way yet feel the need to buy into the cultural bias? Are you really sure that if you didn’t build in some play, some fun or some down time that things would stop working or start to fail? Is that what you promote within your organization? Are you really sure this is the healthiest approach for your entire team or is it just your personal comfort zone?