Tortoise

Working with a client today and the need to go slow to go fast in his business was slapping him upside the face.

I know just how he’s feeling because it’s been slapping me, too – specifically with my flugelhorn.  For one year, my teacher has emphasized that in practicing the flugel, which takes great physical strength and endurance (in the lips, just like a trumpet), progress is best achieved by resting as much time as you practice.  In other words, practice an exercise for 30 seconds; rest 30 seconds.  Repeat.

And for one year, I’ve been resisting.  Why?  I tell him I don’t have time for that.  It’s all well for him; he’s a professional musician and practices five hours a day.  I have a day job, not to mention family and other responsibilities; I only have one hour a day to practice.  So I’ve been telling him – for one year – that it’s just not efficient for me to practice/ rest / practice / rest.

This week in my lesson, he countered my argument, suggesting that I am not making more progress but less by practicing without equal rest.  The resting, he insists, is part of the strength building.

Okay, says I.  I’ll give it a try and see how it goes. 

The very next day, I try it.  Practice 30 seconds of exercise.  Rest 30 seconds.  Repeat.

Wow!  A very strange outcome.  Up to now, it has taken me a full hour to complete my full exercise routine.  But this time – taking equal rests – it took me LESS time.  I completed the full routine in only 45 minutes.  Next day, same result: with equal rests, 45 minutes.  And the next.  And the next.

I think we all have stories like these, where going slow allowed us to accelerate our progress.  What are yours?  Where else can you apply this in your life?

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