By any measure, Arianna Huffington – author, political commentator and founder of The Huffington Post – would be considered a high-achieving, successful professional.
She would make a great lawyer.
And yet Huffington is on a mission to reshape our definition of success. She believes a balanced life must include meditation, vacation and relaxation. She says we need to sleep more and worry less.
She says everyone – most of all harried professionals – need to slow down, not speed up.
“Are you busy right now? Are you already behind on what you wanted to accomplish today? Or this week? Are you hoping this will be a short post so you can get back to the million things on your to-do list that are breathing down your neck?” she writes on the HuffPost. “Our culture is obsessed with time. This is our real deficit crisis, and one that, unlike the more commonly discussed deficit, is actually getting worse.”
Huffington could be an overworked associate or a stressed senior partner when she writes: “In order to manage time – or what we delude ourselves into thinking of as managing time – we rigidly schedule ourselves, rushing from meeting to meeting, event to event, always just a little late and trying to save a bit of time here, a little bit there. We download apps for productivity and eagerly click on links promising time-saving benefits. We fear that if we don’t try to cram as much as possible into our day, we might be missing out on something fun, or important, or special.”
In Praise of Slowness
It seems Huffington began decelerating after reading “In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed,” by Carl Honore. The book was her first selection for the HuffPost Book Club in 2009.
Here is how Honor defines “slow thinking:”
It is what we do when the pressure is off, and there is time to let ideas simmer on the back burner. It yields rich, nuanced insights and sometimes surprising breakthroughs. Returning to business as usual is not the answer to this crisis. The future will belong to those who can innovate their way back into shape – and innovation comes from knowing when to slow down.
None of this is taught in law school. In fact, usually we are told just the opposite: work hard, push yourself, climb the ladder.
And yet on a deeper level we all understand that less is sometimes more, and that by slowing down our thinking we can bring abundance to our lives.
Jay Reeves a/k/a The Risk Man is an attorney licensed in North Carolina and South Carolina. Formerly he was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He was listening to Poco as he wrote this post. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 919-619-2441.
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