To help emphasize a leadership approach, “slow is fast,” a good friend of mine shared a story. His context was firearms certification, which was required for his job. He told me of the struggle that he and others were learning their way through, that involved drawing firearm from holster, aiming, and in this case, firing. What my friend shared with me is this simple sequence. Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast. Thus slow is fast. It was an invocation for precision as a path to crispness and accuracy.
That story has always stuck with me. I like the way it creates path and challenges a presumption about speed, which most people fumble with.
Recently I was in conversation with my colleague Quanita Roberson. We were talking about a group that we are working with that is quite heroically committed to doing a lot of things. However, in this circumstance, many of the efforts to do more have been resulting in more done badly. We wanted to help, knowing that our framing might give permission to find a different path to “more” and a different relationship with “more.”
Thinking of my friend and his firearms certification, slow…, smooth…, fast, I offered this. Less is clear. Clear is more. Less is more.
It landed with both of us. It also landed with some in our group. This isn’t the first time that “less is more” has been spoken. But somehow adding the invitation to clarity offered a bit of liberation, freedom, and encouragement.
Now, I know that the dynamic of more will always be in play. It’s such a deeply woven orientation of the times we live in. “More” is made noble. I’m OK with more, but not if what is required is abandoning a certain baseline of inner grounding and clarity. Without the inner practice, I believe what we humans so often do, is unwittingly drag others into our own anxieties, or as Quanita named, pain. Without the inner awareness, we recreate with impressive repetition the very dynamic that we want to interrupt. Being unclear in the race that is “more” is getting us further stuck rather than further freed.
Here’s to the experiment, the freedom, and I believe a kindness together. Less…, clear…., more.