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Slowing Down – Nerdful Mind #22

June 14, 2020 by Simon Mannes

My dancing teacher says that if we can’t do something slowly, we can’t do it fast. When we only dance a pattern fast, we probably hide errors. If we learn to dance it slowly, we can always speed up later.

This is one part of why we should take more time and slow down.

The other is that, although technology gives us more free time than ever, we cram this time full with other activities. This adds to our anxiety and stress, even if those activities are things that we enjoy.

Slowing down means to do fewer things overall, but more things that matter. To be less distracted and more conscious. Maintaining awareness and really enjoying what you are doing.

Rushing to work shouldn’t be the first thing we do each day. Take the time to do things slowly. Drink a cup of tea or go for a walk first. This sets the mood for your day.

Do you sometimes lie in bed at night, with thoughts popping up in your head? Slowing down before you go to bed is the perfect countermeasure for this. Don’t jump from the TV or PC directly into bed.

When you lie in bed, your mind has no distractions and comes to rest. Thoughts now have time to rise into your consciousness and prevent you from going to sleep. But if you slow down and become more mindful before going to bed, you’ll notice these thoughts earlier and can deal with them before trying to sleep.

Reading Recommendations

Slow Down To Do More: “Why We Should Value Mental Health And Happiness Above All” With Ashley Graber and Liz O’Carroll

This interview contains many interesting exercises and ideas around mindfulness, slowing down, and loving yourself.

When I added a few activities centered around mindfulness to my morning routine, I started to see incredible benefits right away. Most people don’t feel they have the time to set the tone for the day this way, yet they find time to watch TV, go out for cocktails or shop online for hours. I think it’s important to identify your priorities and what you value, and then spend your time in a way that reflects those things. When I started to value mental health and happiness above all, I made changes to reflect that.

A Pattern Recognition Theory of Mind - Forte Labs

A summary of Ray Kurzweil’s book “How to Create a Mind”, and the lessons learned for our understanding of Personal Knowledge Management today.

This Pattern Recognition Theory of Mind for how the neocortex works offers a radical possibility: that the basic unit of cognition is not the neuron, but the cortical mini-column (i.e. pattern recognizer). [...] In other words, learning is not a matter of individual neurons wiring together in endlessly complex, unique configurations. Instead, the basic architecture of cortical columns makes up an orderly, grid-like lattice, like city streets.

Slow Software

Why modern software feels slow, even though computers are faster than ever.

As a final data point, consider that typical human reaction time from seeing a visual stimulus to taking a physical action is about 220ms. This value must be significantly more than noticeable latencies, because reactions involve observing something and then doing something.

Weekly Mindfulness Practice

Do a “slow evening”, or a “slow morning”.

For a slow evening, start half an hour before you go to bed. Breathe more consciously and slow down with anything you do. You’ll have time to let go of thoughts before you lie in bed.

For a slow morning, don’t use your phone for the first 10-30 minutes of your day. Do what you usually do to get ready for the day and add a mindfulness practice. Meditate, go for a brief walk, or drink your tea or coffee mindfully.

End note

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Have a great week


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