The world’s speed is too fast for our minds to process. Yet we keep on accelerating in the hope that if we do more, say more, consume more, we’ll catch up with what we miss. The irony is that the faster we go, the farther it escapes us.
We don’t even know what we’re chasing. We don’t have a name for it. A word. A label. The only thing we have is a feeling. That something is out of place, and it’s been like that for a while.
Some people think it’s happiness. They spend lives helplessly chasing happiness, oblivious to the fact that the key reason why they’re so unhappy is that they assume that they must be happy.
Other people think that we lack something external. Status. Fame. Money. Possessions. A six-pack. A new iPhone. A million followers on YouTube. They spend their lives chasing all of these things, realizing sooner or later that it’s pretty much like running on a treadmill.
The older I get, the more it seems that the challenge of our generation is not to have more but to learn to live with less.
The generations before us didn’t know the freedom we enjoy today. Their inner instincts corresponded well with the scarcity in the external world. Us? The twenty-somethings, especially in the West, have too much. So much that if we listen to our greedy instincts, we’ll end up exploding from it all. Panic attacks, obesity, feeling burned out, debt — these are just some of the symptoms of a life that revolves around chasing more when you don’t really need to.
Perhaps the solution is to stop trusting that feeling of not having enough, not doing enough, not being enough. Perhaps we need to stop living in a world where everyone acclaims speed. Perhaps we can hurry slowly, on purpose. And, as a result, get a higher sense of fulfillment.
It might look counterintuitive at times, but focusing on a single task or a single project and going deep is way better (not to mention, more pleasurable) than being shallow about 100 different things.
No matter how fast you run and sweat, you won’t ever catch the sunset on the horizon. It makes sense then to switch to walking and absorb the view.
That’s all we can do.