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Be quick but don’t hurry

Posted on August 19, 2014 by Sunny South News

When I first read this statement I was struck by the brilliance of the mind that expressed it, so I decided to do some research.

It was no surprise to discover the author was one of the most revered sport coaches and educators in the history of college basketball in the U.S.

As head coach at UCLA, John Wooden won 10 national championships in a 12-year period. No wonder he is venerated as a man of great leadership and motivational skills. Described as a man of profound decency, ethics and faith — he was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest honour given to a civilian in the United States. Although he died in 2010, just four months short of his 100th birthday, his legacy lives on in his writings (particularly “The Pyramid of Success”) and his maxims (including the one which so impressed me).

My dictionary says when you are “quick” you are ready, alert and aware of acute details. The conditions stimulate your ambition and you move ahead in a short time with expeditious happenings.

Making “snap” decisions often has good results and scientists have experimented with this hypothesis. The expression “go with your gut instinct” can be something we hesitate to do but the research says it works more times than it fails.

Apparently, when humans are faced with quick choices, they keep their emotions to a minimum and don’t second guess their preference.

Shorter timelines may be better than longer, since they result in increased efficiency. I don’t have an issue with “thinking on my feet,” as it were, if immediate action is critical. But I would much rather have the time to review my options using the best information I have at the time. Mulling over the facts, alternatives or circumstances helps me to answer the question, as to whether or not my decision will be effective in moving me closer to my personal goal. 

The word “hurry,” on the other hand, brings negative connotations. Although you are being impelled to greater speed, this acceleration may cause careless and confused results.

I know it certainly adds to the stress of the situation. When we want to succeed but feel the timeline is too short, the pressure it injects adds tension and anxiety to the process.

I have a friend who constantly faces quotas and expectations in her work. She has had no part in the setting of the priorities but is totally accountable for her numbers and her yearly evaluation is based on them. She says she has no opportunity to network with her clients to determine what their needs might be because it all comes down to an immediate bottom line. It’s really not productive for her or the business.

I can certainly understand the philosophy of “be quick but don’t hurry” working well in sport.

The players are familiar with what is required and have the skill set to provide the momentum and respond to the immediate urgency of the game. They have practised. (I remember appreciating the game of hockey much more when I watched Wayne Gretzky play, he always seemed to be in the right place at the right time — he was reading the play I was told.)

He certainly made it look much easier than it actually was. But I haven’t yet been able to totally internalize the maxim into daily life.

Dr Phil says “sometimes you make the right decision; sometimes you make the decision right.”

That I can relate to. Do the best with what you know works for me.

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