Les Patterson’s Monday Morning Boost: Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast

  • “Slow Down” by Luc B – https://www.flickr.com/photos/fatboyke/2668411239/

    I encountered an unusual phenomenon Saturday night.

    Elisa and I spent a couple of days in Richfield preparing Dad’s home for the next stage of its journey. On our way home Saturday night we drove up to see Rebecca at Snow College and bring some of her stuff home for the summer.

    It was dark as we left Ephraim and began weaving our way through Sanpete Valley. I kept a watchful eye for deer and stray animals as we passed through Chester (nearly completing the “Chester Challenge”), Moroni, and Fountain Green.

    Leaving the town of Fountain Green, home of my Army buddy Clint who deployed with me to Iraq, I fell in behind a minivan driving 5-10 miles slower than the speed limit. Not an unusual occurrence in Sanpete County, even in daylight. Though wanting to get home I was not anxious to attempt passing on the dark winding country roads. I settled in at a smooth 45 mph and kept my eyes open for deer.

    The drive through Salt Creek Canyon passed quickly enough. I stopped in Nephi to check our load before hitting the I-15. The highway was fairly busy and I quickly settled into a “freeway speed” pattern with the other drivers. After a short while I realized most were going a bit slower than the speed limit allowed. 

    We know there was supposed to be a construction zone at some point on I-15 but I didn’t expect it this soon. Perhaps the other drivers knew better. Again I settled into a comfortable speed, albeit a slow one, and plodded homeward.

    The slowness of the drive took my thoughts back to my Army training leading up to Iraq. As I struggled mastering a particular skill, the instructor repeated his mantra over and over…

    It worked as he preached it would. I slowed down my tempo and my actions smoothed out. With the smooth actions came the increased speed. Slow is smooth… Smooth is fast.

    I began to wonder if the same principle applied on the freeway. Would driving 5-10 miles an hour slower actually be smoother and faster? Not in actual physical speed, because the law of physic says that won’t happen, but a little more like “slow down and smell the roses.”

    Carl Honoré, author of In Praise of Slowness and ambassador of the Slow Movement, believes there’s much to be gained by traveling slower:

    “When we travel in roadrunner mode, we miss the small details that make each place thrilling and unique. We lose the joy of the journey. And at the end of it all, when every box on our To Do list has been checked, we return home even more exhausted than when we left.”

    Two full days of working hard, accompanied by a spring time cold, had worn both of us out. We didn’t relish the five hour trip home. I tire especially easily on those late night drives and have to switch out driving roles more often than I think I should.

    The slightly slower pace of traffic seemed to help me be less tired than normal, and more aware. Through Sanpete Valley I was alert for wandering deer, now I was noticing more things along a road I drive frequently. Road signs and billboards stood out more. I noticed brake light designs on different vehicles, including a small utility trailer whose lights perfectly lined up below the brake lights of the tow vehicle. I contrasted my observations with the drive down Friday morning when all I seemed to notice were drivers going too fast, too slow, or changing lanes abruptly.

    My mind also had time to ponder, like how slow is smooth and smooth is fast. I thought about family, kids, and projects I didn’t finish at work. I reflected on the emotions I felt earlier that evening while helping Rebecca with her school project about military suicides.

    I thought about my Dad.

    I don’t know for sure how long our trip home took. It seemed shorter, much shorter than expected, and I felt quite refreshed. Perhaps slow really is fast.

    Have a great Monday! Thanks for letting me share.

    p.s. Take 15 minutes today to learn more about traveling slow from Carl Honoré.

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    Les Patterson loves to share stories and the “Monday Morning Boost” is his way of sharing a story or two with family, friends, and clients. Les believes every person, business and organization has a story worth sharing. Since 1997 he has enjoyed finding compelling ways to share those stories through writing and producing radio commercials at the Cache Valley Media Group. Discover how he can help tell your story at www.CacheValleyMediaGroup.com. Feedback and comments are welcome at les@cvradio.com. ©2015, Les Patterson.  All Rights Reserved. To UNSUBSCRIBE, reply to this email with UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject line and your email will be removed.