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Addicted to Urgency

Going Slower To Succeed

It's a testament to great public speaking skills when a speech sticks in your mind for a number of years.

A couple of years ago I attended the CISI’s Accredited Financial Planning Firms Conference in London. There were a number of great speakers, and one of them was my old friend David Scarlett, author of 'Soul Millionaire'.

In his inspiring talk David referred to the disease of ‘busyness’, and asked whether we were ‘chronically addicted to urgency’. He advocated slowing down, taking time to reflect, and going deeper.

We increasingly live in a world of the superficial. Our young (and not so young) people have grown up with countless ‘friends’, for whom they can measure the quality of their relationship by the number of ‘likes’ they receive on Facebook, or whatever social media platform is in vogue.

I'm going to let you in on an open secret... the majority of Facebook and Instagram isn't real.

Sure, they provide companies with a platform to advertise their very real products. Yes, they allow you to catch up with old friends from the convenience of your home. But are these people and products the same as how they appear online?

It’s like a TV programme (remember those?) where the script is contrived by the participants, all of whom want to show their best qualities and hide the ‘bad stuff’. That’s probably no different than it’s ever been, but what’s new is the instant, global nature of these conversations that lay everything out for the world to judge.

And there’s no doubt that this new digital world has had a profound effect on our business activities and behaviours. We can rapidly get sucked in to monitoring every tweet, every blog post, every email, trying to judge what the world thinks of our work, our views, our success.

Instant communication and immediate judgement can lead to a chronic need to keep building the ‘To Do’ list, to keep everyone satisfied. You want to talk about this issue? Of course. You want that report? No problem. You need help with something? Anytime.

Does this lead to success? Bill Cosby said “I don’t know what the secret of success is. But I know that the secret of failure is trying to please everybody.”

So I agree with David wholeheartedly. Drop your chronic addiction to urgency and practice going slower. Go deeper and look for the meaningful and significant instead of the frothy and unimportant. Work out who your friends are by having great conversations with them. Go round to meet them and talk.

Be bold. Make a request. Look them in the eye and ask them to turn off their devices.

This is a risky strategy, but you never know. You might just discover that they ‘like’ you.

If you enjoyed reading this article, you may also like How Values-Based Financial Planning Works in Practice


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