Minute #477: In Control

Minute #477:Inner Calm

The guests were scheduled to arrive at six. At 5:15, it seemed there was still so much to do and so little time left in which to do it all.

Mazal and Devorah rushed about, setting the table and decorating the room with flowers and candles. Last-minute preparation of food and desserts still needed to be done, and the two women picked up the pace of their tasks.

CRASH! The ominous sound came from the kitchen, followed by a cry of “Oh, no!” Mazal rushed to see what had happened. She found her sister crying, with her hands covering her face.

“That’s one of Ima’s favorite serving dishes. She’s going to be so upset with me! I was rushing to beat the clock, and dropped the platter,” Devorah sobbed.

“I’m also feeling the need to finish before our guests arrive,” Mazal said. “But the trick is to make haste slowly.”

“What does that mean?” Devorah asked.

“It means one should move quickly on the outside but maintain calm on the inside,” her sister explained. “Anxiety reduces efficiency.”

Life today is a series of deadlines. A plane or train to catch, a report that is due, meeting an important client or getting to minyan on time all put pressure on one’s psyche and make one rush towards the goal. However, that does not mean that one should throw caution to the wind or lose one’s sense of mental balance.

Masters of any skill must focus on their expertise as they perform their jobs. The key to success is to think at lightning speed and move quickly, while still maintaining clarity and a calm sense of purpose. This is not inborn — so practice until perfect. Start training today.

One More Second: Another Thought for the Day

I never ask whether a particular project can be done — only whether it should be done. If it should be done I go ahead and I am confident that the means to succeed will be found.

(Harav Yosef Yoizel Horvitz  of Novardok)