I grab my book (a physical book), sit down in a comfy chair with a cup of coffee, and am ready to start reading. Feeling so good, so relaxed. I take a quick glance at my phone and notice a text has come in. I check it. I respond to it. Then, since I’m on the phone anyways, I journey over to the YouTube app, you know, just to see (to see what? I have no idea.). Next thing I now it’s been 10 minutes and I’m oh so far down the YouTube rabbit hole with no end in sight. No longer feeling so good, no longer relaxed.

I know reading the book will make me feel better, calmer, happier, less stressed. I know it, but the draw of the quick, short, well-packaged & titled YouTube video bites is strong. So strong, in fact, that it takes actual energy to counter it. I have to work hard to open a book. I have to make an effort because, for some reason, it’s harder to read a book. Or, at least it feels that way.

Such is the modern world, and it’s not changing any time soon.

Enter the Virtue of Slow.

For the record, I am not anti-technology (I’m a YouTuber and podcaster for crying out loud), I am not even anti-social media (listen to this recent podcast episode). But I am a fierce advocate for utilizing tools to carve out some Slow time.

By “Slow” I mean doing things like:

Read an actual book

Go for a walk or run without anything in our ears (more about this in Ultrarunning for Normal People)

Spend time with friends and/or family.

Listen to music (but, actually listening)

Do nothing. Nada. (e.g. Sitting for a few minutes and looking around)

By “tools” I mean doing things like:

Leave a physical note on your phone that says “read for a few minutes first.”

Set an alarm on your phone that says “Sit for a minute and take some slow breaths.”

Practice intermittent fasting (NO, not food related. Watch my video on this).

It is pretty much impossible to achieve equal quantities of tech-time and tech-free time. However, as a Small Steps coach I argue that stealing even just a few minutes of Slow time can profoundly improve our lives and help us manage our stress. We can affect the current direction of the world – a direction that is pointing toward more technology, less real socializing, more stress – by embracing the Virtue of Slow.

One step at a time. One person at at time.

Are you with me?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *