The Magic of Doing Things Slowly

Post written by Warren. Follow him on Twitter.

Go Slow. Savor Life.

Go Slow. Savor Life.

Life moves fast and so does our minds, our bodies, and everything around us. New products are created to make life more simple and “fast acting”. TV programs show us how to get that killer body or create that perfect room in our house in just under a few hours or days.

It is a fast paced world we live in. The days of no TV, no video games, no computers, etc. are long behind us. Life buzzes around us at an astonishing pace and we try to jam pack everything we can into our days and lives.

But the question we have to ask is…

Where does moving through life so fast actually get us?

Is there a special place in life we are trying to get to? If so, what happens if we do get there?

Many of us believe that if we DO reach that point or ultimate goal, things will finally be calm and happy in our lives. We think that life will be pretty much perfect at that point. But will it? The reality is…it won’t. The truth of the matter is there will always be more things to acquire, more “stuff” to get done, more goals to achieve, more obstacles to overcome, etc. There is no end.

So all of this got me to thinking about life. It made me realize, that being mindful and being fully present are the keys to unlocking happiness. But not only that, in many things we do…if we SLOW things down, we can enjoy them much much more and life will become so much more meaningful. Life will explode with more beauty and magic, if we just let it.

Life will simply become much more alive to us if we do many things much more slowly.  A certain kind of magic will be revealed from doing things slowly and mixing that with pure awareness and mindfulness.

What we simply need to do is release this magic in our everyday life. We need to slow down, be aware, and pay attention to what is in front of us. So how do we do this? It really is pretty simple. First, we become fully present in whatever we are doing. Doing this will bring to life…our life. Secondly, we need to slow things down a bit and not rush through things. When we slow things down, we become more mindful, naturally, and this leads to increased awareness. When we do both, mindfulness and slowing things down, the magic of living truly reveals itself around us.

Here are a few things you can do slowly to unlock this special magic in everyday life…

  • Eating
    Food. We all love it and we all need it. But many of us simply throw down what is in front of us like a ravaging carnivore. We don’t eat, we inhale! What if you slowed things down a bit and actually FULLY tasted your food? I know, crazy, huh? Give this a try next time you are having lunch. Turn off the TV, and eat slowly. Become aware of the sensations in your mouth…it may surprise you. Buy a chocolate bar or a pint of ice cream, for starters, and find out how amazing it can be when you fully taste it, feel the texture in your mouth, etc.
  • Deep Breathing
    Just like food, breathing is just as essential to our ability to live. But many of us simply take breathing for granted, and when we become stressed and tense, we don’t breathe enough or we do it very rapidly. What we need to do is make a point to fully breathe…and do it slowly. Breathing slow does all kinds of wonderful things to us. It calms the nervous system, it releases stress, and it also makes us become mindful of being fully alive. I think many of us have forgotten how that feels.
  • Lifting Weights
    If you are into lifting weights, you are probably like most…you lift weights as fast as you can. You hurry through repetitions and move on to the next exercise. But watch what happens when you do your repetitions slowly, and with proper form. Not only will you feel the weight MUCH more, your body will resist it more thus creating more tone and strength. It works. Try it.
  • Building a Business That Lasts
    “Rome wasn’t built in a day” is a quote you probably have heard and it is true. So why try to build a business in a hurry? The trick is to do it slow and steady, and most of all, do it correctly with proper planning and guidance. If you do it quickly, it will most likely fail. Create a strong foundation, and you will create something that will most likely last while your competitors fail. Don’t forget about creating personal relationships with your customers too, it will pay dividends down the road.
  • Cooking
    Sure, some things are best when cooked quickly, like a huge bowl of stir fried veggies or scrambled eggs…but there are many types of foods that are best when cooked slowly. Crock pot cooking is a good example of this, and so is down home, finger lickin’ slow cooked BBQ ribs. The real magic is the taste and smell one can enjoy when it is all said and done. Chili and a hearty stew are also fine examples.
  • Investing
    So you think that you have to be a whiz kid on Wall Street to make a killing in the market? Or you may even think you have to invest a lot of money, at the right time, and quickly to make huge gains. I can tell you, the majority of winners in the stock market take it slow and steady and rely on the magic of compound interest. You can still retire rich, and you don’t have to be an expert…you just have to start and put your money in slowly over time the right way.
  • Having a Real Conversation
    I bet there has been a few times when you talked with a friend or loved one for hours on end, with no agenda and no time frame. Remember how amazing it felt to connect? Now with things such as cell phones and texting, we have lost the simple art of slow and personal conversations. Why not strike up a conversation and truly be present with that person and see where it goes, without any time limit? Watch the magic unfold.
  • Drinking a Hot Beverage
    In the heart of winter I think sitting down, in complete silence and having a warm cup of coffee or tea can not be beat. There is real comfort and peace that comes from it. But of course, it can not be rushed because for one, you will burn your mouth…and two, you will simply lose the full magic of the moment to become aware and reconnect with your senses as the warm fluid invigorates your body.
  • Reading a Great Book
    Now I’m not a fiction reader, but I do know that I love a great book. I find the best way to fully enjoy a book is to read it slowly, just a little each day, savoring each word or bit of information that is being passed on to my curious mind. For me, reading before bed can be a great pleasure and nothing but pure joy. Check out a book on something you would enjoy, and give yourself a good month or two to go through it slowly. Watch how much of it you will absorb.
  • Giving a Simple Massage
    Next time your mate or spouse is having a rough day, give them a slow and deep massage. You don’t even have to break out massage oils or anything. Simply rub there shoulders, but do it slowly with deep squeezes. Watch how they will melt in your hands, and in turn, treat you with greater respect and love. In many cases, you will probably get one in return!
  • Push Ups and Abdominal “Crunches”
    Don’t have time to hit the gym or just too lazy to get in your car and go? Why not try doing push ups everyday. I find it the perfect exercise for strength, and it is dead simple to do. But the key is to do it sloooow. Really take your time in doing push ups and you will tone up and tighten up in no time. If you feel really adventurous, why not take the 100 PushUp Challenge.  The very same method can be done for tightening and toning your abs with crunches. Just do them slowly as well, and results will quickly follow.
  • Meditation
    Something that I need to do more and I HIGHLY recommend for others to do is meditate daily. It’s amazing the type of happiness and contentment that can arise within us when we slow down, take a time out from life, and simply sit…peacefully. No need to rush the process. No need to rush or expect enlightenment to happen. The goal is to do, nothing. And nothing is good. Here are 100 reasons why you should start.
  • Romance
    There are so many elements of romance that are best when taken slowly. It can start from day one when you are first courting a possible mate (don’t go too fast, or they will flee), to kissing, all the way to making love. Doing all these things slowly will turn romance from a few light sparks into a full out light show.
  • Creating Art or Writing
    I believe the best art and the best writing is created when it is taken slowly and well developed. The more depth it has, the more interesting it can be. Now I know this may not be the case for others, but for me, when I read or see something in art that is has something new “pop out” each time I look at it…I find that magical. Why not create something and really put your heart and soul into it. Even if it takes 5 years to create, just imagine how powerful it will be when it is completed!
  • Talking to God
    I know this one is a personal preference, but I find that talking to God like he is my best friend is the best. Conversations can be about ANYTHING and for any length of time. God has no stopwatch or time limit…God IS time. He has all day, and all eternity. Talk to him, and discover yourself through him.

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As you can see, there are many things in life one can do slowly to unveil the real magic underneath it. The KEY is mindfulness and being fully aware.

Get out of your head and into your experience.

What do you do slowly that YOU enjoy?

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Posted on August 11, 2009

Happy Comments

35 Responses to “The Magic of Doing Things Slowly”
  1. Cheri says:

    What a great blog! I enjoyed reading it slowly! One of the things that I do slowly is get ready for bed. it can drive my husband a bit crazy, since when I say I’m coming to bed it takes a while! But after 13 years he has come to know what I mean when I say that.

    I’m coming to bed means I’m shutting the house down. Checking that all the doors are locked. Listening to the sweet sounds of my kids breathing in their sleep. Making sure no one left out anything that has to be refrigerated.

    Taking my time getting myself ready for bed. No one is asking me to do something for them so I can take my time and brush my teeth. Floss. Even do a facial masque and read a book. Or take some time and write a blog. Or comment on a fantastic blog that I enjoyed reading! And then slip into bed when I’m feeling complete and ready to rest.

    Goodnight!
    .-= Cheri´s last blog ..14 Things That Lead To Failure =-.

    • Hey there Cheri, thank you for your great comment! I love the way you ease into going into bed. What a relaxing and positive way to go to sleep. I love reading before bed as well, just like you, while relaxing. There is a nice peaceful quality about that time of night and it makes going to sleep a breeze. :)

      I really appreciate you taking the time to read my blog here. Please stop by again and have a great night!

      Dayne

    • i rely rely agree on this.i think the fastnes should not come from our desire to be fast, but becouse our doings as become part of us and that is exprience. like the saying, the one who runs fast will fall.thanks for this great brog.

  2. Jen says:

    hello Dayne,
    I enjoyed this post as a gracious reminder to all of us! :) slowing down is a good thing! Lately, I am learning to ‘single-task’ more consciously! Yes, I am still that multi-tasker by habit but I am becoming more aware and am slowing down more! :) I am working on the mindful eating, and the meditation lately, and so these resonated with me again! Thanks for a helpful post! Namaste. ~Jen
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..Sacred Regrets: Forever Lost at Sea =-.

    • Hi Jen, thanks for commenting. :)

      Yes, when we single-task and focus, we tend to become more conscious and mindful. Mix that with slowing things down, and things really come alive.
      I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

      Have a great one!
      Dayne

  3. Kaushik says:

    Hi Dayne,

    Great reminder. Doing anything slowly with attention is a great meditation! Thanks..
    .-= Kaushik´s last blog ..Do you feel lighter, more compassionate, more joyful, more natural, more playful? =-.

  4. David Damron says:

    Awesome post….I try to influence people to stop and see life….too many times we all run through life and it becomes a blur….Not only do we get more out of life when we slow down and relax, but we tend to enjoy it more….

    Great post thanks…..

    Dave
    LifeExcursion
    .-= David Damron´s last blog ..Girls Living Against Minimalism: Knick-Knacks =-.

  5. @Kaushik Thanks for commenting. Yes, I agree, doing things slow with attention is a great meditation!

    @David You are right, the enjoyment level goes way up when we slow down, relax, and simply stop and fully embrace life. Thanks for commenting David!

  6. Hey Dayne!

    How are ya? :)

    I really like how structured and easy-to-read your post is, I learnt a thing or two from reading this:)

    With me, it’s like without knowing it that I get into the mode of doing everything fast, chowing down food, rushing conversations etc, until I realise I need to slow down and enjoy for a bit, but then after time of slowing it down, I get back into that fast mode. It’s like a continuous cycle:)

    I really agree on the weight lifting and investing, the slower the better, ooh, and also on the eating food, enjoying a really good meal:)

    Have a rockin’ day!
    .-= Diggy – Upgradereality.com´s last blog ..14 fabulous date ideas =-.

    • Hey Diggy, how are you doing my friend? Thanks for the nice comments and I’m glad you enjoyed the post! I’m glad you are also trying to move a bit slower and enjoy things more. Yes, it’s easy to get back into “fast mode” but even if we slow down a few times a day, it can make a big difference overall.

      Have a great one Diggy and thanks again for visiting!

      Dayne

  7. Taking things slowly can definitely create a deeper appreciation for life and its simplicities. Investing your time and money into a business venture slowly will allow you to take things step by step. This doesn’t mean success isn’t on its way, but your just going at your own pace. As long as your happy, You can Snale it if you chose!
    .-= jonathanfigaro´s last blog ..Top 10 Quotes to Improve Mind Instantly =-.

    • You are spot on with your comments Jonathan. I think many in business rush it because they don’t think things through, and they end up flat on their face. Taking step by step, and doing it correctly and mindfully is key.

      Thanks for commenting! :)
      Dayne

  8. alternaview says:

    Wow…that was a good one. You are so right. It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and think that means you should move faster and faster and do more and more. I know that has been my issue from time to time. The reality and the alternaview is exactly what you expressed…even though you may be “slowing down”, you are actually moving and completing things in the most effective and productive way possible. Thanks for the pointing out that “slow and steady” applies to just about all aspects of our life. Your reference to the stock market and exercise really drove the point home. Thanks for the reminder and the alternaview.
    .-= alternaview´s last blog ..The Strength in Understanding Your Weakness(es) =-.

    • Love that name, alternaview! :) I really appreciate you taking the time to comment and read here. “Slow and steady” is the right recipe, I think, for much success in a lot of things. The stock market and exercise, like you say, are prime examples.

      Thanks again!
      Dayne

  9. Great post, Dayne! I’m terrible at doing things slowly — I’m always in a hurry and rushing — and so I really needed a post like this. Doing things slowly and mindfully is one of the best ways to stay in the present moment, which is something I’m really working on, so thanks for sharing your insights in this post.
    .-= Positively Present´s last blog ..a positive present just for you =-.

  10. Kaizan says:

    Great post. I totally agree with what you say, and its nice to be reminded of it like this, since the tendency is to just keep ploughing ahead.

    I liked your suggestion on slow reading.
    .-= Kaizan´s last blog ..If You’re Not Complaining, There’s Something Wrong With You =-.

  11. @Positively Present- Hey Dani! You are right, like most people, we are always moving fast and forget to slow down. I hope this post can be a reminder to take it slow and savor life. :)

    @Kaizan-I’m glad you also enjoy slow reading. It is one of my favorite things to do. There is nothing like reading a great book, and taking it slow and enjoying the info it has.

    Thank you both for commenting!
    Dayne

  12. Bakari says:

    Two of my favorite authors are Ernie Zelinski (Success without a Real Job and The Joy of Not Working) and Marc Allen (The Type Z Guide to Success). They have learned how to be highly successful while not falling into the I have to work 40+ hours a week lifestyle.

    I live the same way. I know what’s most important, I use leverage to multiply my efforts and I know that the journey is more important than the destination.
    .-= Bakari´s last blog ..Boot Camps and what matters most in Public Speaking =-.

  13. Elizabeth says:

    Hej Dayne,

    Just read your post on ZenHabits and liked it, so I moved over to your blog and found this post. A well written post on a subject which I hold in high regard. Love slow cooking and baking, which is an almost daily experience for me. Instead of driving the kids to school, we bike and take all the time to chat on the way. For me it is the best way to start a day. Reading out loud to the kids, slowly building up the tension, excitment in the story is wonderful to do and appreciated. Slow art, I choose to start to embroider a piece called Soul Food and have been working on it already for several months. The joy and the lessons learned while putting on one stitch at a time, it’s like a continuing meditation. I have so many examples, I am definitely a member of the slow living society. Thanks for reminding me.
    .-= Elizabeth´s last blog ..Soul Food (part 22) =-.

    • Hey Elizabeth and welcome! It sounds like you have the, taking life slowly aspect down pat! :) Excellent. I loved all your examples as well.

      Ahh, what a great line or idea you stated in your comment…”I am definitely a member of the slow living society”. Wouldn’t that make a great club or organization? I think you are onto something. :)

      Cheers and thanks again!
      Dayne

  14. Hi Dayne! I just discovered your blog while I was reading the Zen Habits post on Minimalism and love what I’m reading. I completely agree, there truly is magic in doing things slowly. When you take the time to put yourself in slow motion and actually see the world around you, you’ll find that there are small miracles everywhere you look.

    Can’t wait to read more!

    • Greetings Linda, thank you for taking time to comment here. I appreciate it very much. You are absolutely right, little miracles are happening all the time, the key is slowing down, becoming aware, and noticing them. I just checked out your site as well, your book looks fantastic! I will have to get a copy for sure, it seems right up my alley. :)

      Thank you again,

      Dayne

  15. JS Dixon says:

    I like taking slow walks on a trail, and overall just not letting myself panic at tasks, so I can take them nice and slow as well.
    .-= JS Dixon´s last blog ..5 Ways Serving Others Will Help You Succeed =-.

  16. Vinod says:

    Hi, I just saw your comment on ZenHabits. Excellent, insightful advice. I agree. I just wrote a post on my blog about something else that is done better if done slowly… running! http://www.kurup.org/blog/2009/09/22/running-slow/
    .-= Vinod´s last blog ..Running slow =-.

  17. Naima says:

    I really like your list. Investing and eating slowly are really underestimated, and I strongly believe they are the basis for financial and physical well-being. I’m also pretty sure that slow romance is responsible for 12 years of a happy yet exciting marriage.

    The other one I really like:

    I too came from Zen Habits to your blog, and will be having a good look around. Thanks for sharing.

    -naima
    .-= Naima´s last blog ..The best of all worlds =-.

  18. Paul says:

    I came here having searched for “why do I panic when doing things I have looked forward to”

    I run around all week at work serving folk as an I.T. operator and fault finder.
    At home I run after family. I have an aged mother and so should be happy to do this.
    I do try my best to do things slowly but have a reputation with my family for not getting on with it. They are all multi task folk and cant understand when I dont run to do things straight away. Why do something in April which is due in september?.
    I now find that during the week I look forward to an hour or two in my workshop (I am a model maker) however when the time comes I just shake and panic. I try to get on with what I planned to do but………..

    I just left my workshop to make that search and found this page. I shall be keeping an eye on here. I am now going back to the workshop to do a little job slowly and giving thanks to God that I am able to do it.

    BW

    Paul

  19. Dhanny says:

    Hi Dayne,
    FYI, I think some people like doing everything faster/slower without any reason or environment pushed. It is just blended in their blood since a baby. It is like an instinc.

    My wife and my second child is totally the opposite stereotype of me and my first child. I think we cannot judge which one is happier in one condition since I can see, each side is suffer(not happy) doing the opposite of their built-in stereotype.

    Regards,
    Dhanny

  20. Ryan says:

    Is it ironic that I rushed through this article, skimmed it high level and am writing this post without fully reading the topic? Did I miss something?

  21. very nice post, i certainly love this website, keep on it

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