The Speed Limit of Your Life

by Lance Ekum on · 22 comments

Speed limit
Creative Commons License photo credit: Vlastula

“It is not by muscle, speed, or physical dexterity that great things are achieved, but by reflection, force of character, and judgement.” ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

You get into your SUV and head down the highway.  With all the time constraints you have in your life today, you step on the accelerator and drive a few miles over the speed limit.  Everyone else is doing it.  And some are going faster.  You won’t get stopped by the local police since there are so many others that are doing the same thing.

I do that.  I’m sure many of you also do.  We live in a world where we have so much going on, that oftentimes we’re rushed to get from one spot to the next.  We look at the speed limit as kind of a “guideline”.  Hey, we’re busy people and we’ve got stuff to get done.

How about your life?  Is it that way too?  Work.  Family.  Extracurricular activies.  Volunteer projects.  Daily activies.  It’s enough to put you on overload sometimes.

What is the speed limit of your life?  Are you always driving on the freeway, pushing the 65 MPH speed limit?  Mentally, do you ever slow down and go through some backroads in your life?

Sometimes speed is important.  We have deadlines to meet at work or school.  They have to get done, and we just plow through them.  But we also need to take time to slow down in our lives.  To have the life we really want and deserve, we have to understand who we are.  What are our dreams?  What are we really passionate about?

Driving 70 MPH through life is not going to give us these answers.  In fact, if that’s all we do, then we’re likely just driving our lives really fast down the wrong life highway.  And where does that get us?  It gets us somewhere we don’t really want to be.

So, slow down every once in a while.  Take some of the backroads through your life.  Visit some of the small towns in your brain.  Get to know them.  Listen to what you are hearing.  Then, when you get back out on the highway of your life, and you’re cruising along, the time you’ve spent slowing down will aid you in going in the right direction.

Make it a regular occurence to slow down and evaluate where you are in life.  Your life is worth it!

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
Lance Ekum
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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Marelisa July 16, 2008 at 2:21 pm

I think the driving metaphor is excellent. Emotions like anger, fear, and anxiety tend to be fast, while emotions like love, patience, understanding, and forgiveness are slow. So just as we need to slow down while driving to avoid accidents, we should also strive to slow down our thoughts.

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Mark Salinas July 16, 2008 at 3:54 pm

Great way to put into perspective! A big challenge in my life has been to slow down….it is amazing how quickly things pass by. Great post!

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Davina July 16, 2008 at 8:58 pm

AMEN!

I always have to give my head a shake when I see a driver speed through a yellow light, only to end up sitting at the next red light anyway. Ha, Ha!

I have observed myself also in a hurry, walking over the pedestrian speed limit. I always seem to be on a mission; don’t get in my way. Thanks for the reminder to slow down.

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Evelyn Lim | Attraction Mind Map July 16, 2008 at 10:01 pm

There is so much that I want to do everyday that very often, I forget that I need to slow down. More recently, I told myself that I need to take the time “to smell the roses”. I realise that far from being unproductive, the breaks that I have been taking are very essential for balance and sanity.

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Rachel July 16, 2008 at 10:06 pm

I try my best to make sure I slow down. The time I am able to relax the most is first thing in the morning. I have both of my kids in bed with me and I just enjoy the moment. Life is great to why not make every moment count without rushing through. 🙂

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Linda Abbit July 16, 2008 at 11:00 pm

Dear Lance,

I love this quote: “Take some of the backroads through your life. Visit some of the small towns in your brain.”

What an excellent metaphor!

I think slowing down also allows us to feel more compassion, sympathy and/or empathy with others. Maybe because we take the time to “put ourselves in their shoes” when we’re not speeding down the road of life.

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Bamboo Forest July 17, 2008 at 2:57 am

I agree, self evaluation is very important. Best not to get lost in the stream of life without any sense of where you’re headed. I enjoyed your metaphors.

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Lanceman July 17, 2008 at 5:40 am

@Marelisa – What a great way to define some of the emotions we have. I really like that angle with this!

@Mark – It is a challenge for all of us at times. Just like driving a car, it’s easy to go just a little faster.

@Davina – Yep, we get on these “missions” of ours, and they can be all-consuming sometimes. And we forget about everything else going on around us.

@Evelyn – It’s easy to get into the mindset of “I’m so busy, I don’t have time to slow down” isn’t it. And we’re going so fast sometimes, we miss some of the really cool stuff going on around us.

@Rachel – Great perspective! And it sounds like get some of this time regularly (with your kids) – that’s awesome!

@Linda – I think that’s very true, and a great way to look at this about being more compassionate when we slow down. We probably don’t have a lot of time to “put ourselves in their shoes” when we’re speeding along. And probably, because we never see their shoes in the first place.

@Bamboo Forest – Driving too fast, and we can get lost quickly can’t we? Highway or life.

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Robin July 17, 2008 at 7:04 am

I totally agree with you, Lance, and I like your back roads analogy! I think many people who are rushing around are trying to avoid their feelings – the back roads are too scary, which is a shame, because they miss the gifts they might find there. I take things quite slowly, myself (usually).

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Sunil Pathak July 17, 2008 at 10:29 am

Hi Lanceman nice article buddy

i which there were stop signals and direction signs in our life to guide us on Highway of life but unfortunately there are none, the only navigator we have is out mind and our knowledge that we get during our journey of life.

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Mama C July 17, 2008 at 1:12 pm

Thanks for stopping by my blog the other day and adding to the “laughable moments!” I appreciate what you had to say, about slowing down. We aren’t meant to keep up the breakneck speed constantly. We have to sometimes, but sooo important to slow down, for our own health and the health of our relationships. Thanks for the reminder!

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Ricardo Bueno July 17, 2008 at 1:36 pm

I’ll admit it. I’m guilty of speeding through life at times. But lately I’ve also become conscious of the need to slow down and enjoy the present a little bit more. I mean life is after all, all about the journey. If you’re not going to enjoy the journey, what’s the point? Right?

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Urban Panther July 17, 2008 at 3:39 pm

The Urbane Lion and I have so much we want to accomplish…such as creating an outdoor kitchen, blogging, daily chores, etc..and we are both hard workers. Unfortunately, we were getting caught up in all of that, and speeding down the highway, as you put it. Now our rule is, on the weekends, we put in an good day’s work, but we quit by 3 p.m. and head out on the boat for the night. No cell phones, no laptops, no dirty dishes mocking us. We head home for breakfast and more work, then back to the boat. It makes us feel like we’ve had a weekend, instead of just a continuation of the work week, and we totally recharge our batteries.

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Amanda Linehan July 17, 2008 at 4:10 pm

Lance – I love the quote you have at the beginning of your post. Reflection, force of character and judgement…

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Lanceman July 17, 2008 at 4:39 pm

@Robin – The backroads can be a fun place to visit, can’t they. It’s good to hear you visit these regularly – you’ve a very wise woman.

@Sunil – Thanks! Yes, if we had stop lights in our life, it might be a little easier to slow down!

@Mama C – Your welcome. Writing this was a good reminder for me as well.

@Ricardo – I think we all do this sometimes. But yes it can be hard to enjoy the journey at that pace. And that is what it’s all about.

@Urban Panther – Sounds like a great weekend ritual – enjoy them!

@Amanda – That is a great quote isn’t it!

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Mom On The Run July 17, 2008 at 9:51 pm

Great post! I’ve shared it on facebook. Visit me @ http://www.momontherun.net

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MizFit July 18, 2008 at 5:19 am

obviously you know this but it has amazed me EVERY TIME:

by slowing down I make the greatest most life changing strides forward.

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Lanceman July 18, 2008 at 5:54 am

@Mom On The Run – Thanks for stopping by!

@MizFit – That sure is true!

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John July 18, 2008 at 6:59 am

I loved the post, but maybe that is because Cicero is probably my favorite historical figure.

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Lanceman July 18, 2008 at 9:41 pm

@John – Well, hey I’ll take that anyway! Thanks for stopping by.

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scheng1 May 6, 2010 at 11:39 pm

I think it is best to live life at a pace we are comfortable with. Some people just cannot slow down. The minute they slow down, they get depressed
.-= scheng1´s Last Fabulous Post ..Healthy eating and Raw Food Diet =-.

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