To go fast, row slowly


Norman Vincent Peale once said, “To go fast, row slowly.” It sounds counterintuitive, but it really works.


When I try rowing quickly through activities, it churns things up and slows my movement. For me, rowing slowly is an act of intention that creates a consistent, steady, and slower pace. And it actually results in completing whatever I’m doing more quickly because I don’t have to fix mistakes I made in haste. I’ve learned using steadfast movement in whatever I’m doing helps me avoid delays.


Trying to meet the demands around us often causes us to row too quickly. Right now, we’re on the brink of the holiday rush. Halloween is less than a week behind us. Holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and the New Year are on the horizon for many of us. Some pressures come with these celebrations, which can take both a physical and spiritual toll. The fact is rushes can crush us, as the following story illustrates:


A century ago, European missionaries in Africa hired local villagers as porters to help carry supplies to a distant station. The porters went slower than the missionaries desired, so after the first two days, they pushed them to go faster. On day three of the trek, the group went twice as far as day two. Around the campfire that evening, the missionaries congratulated themselves for their leadership abilities. But on day four, the workers would not budge.


“What’s wrong?” asked the missionary.


“We cannot go any further today,” replied the villagers’ spokesman.


“Why not? Everyone appears well.”


“Yes,” said the African, “but we went so quickly yesterday that we must wait here for our souls to catch up with us.


As you move through the waters of life, use the oars of patience to create a steadfast pace that doesn’t leave your soul behind. You just may discover that will get you to where you’re going more peacefully and joyfully. As Norman Vincent Peale said, “To go fast, row slowly.”


I wish you an unhurried stroll into the holiday season that will bring you the peace and joy you deserve. 


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