Festina lente or speûde bradéōs (σπεῦδε βραδέως) is a classical adage and oxymoron meaning “make haste slowly” (sometimes rendered in English as “more haste, less speed”). It has been adopted as a motto numerous times, particularly by the emperors Augustus and Titus, the Medicis and the Onslows.
There are lots of maxims and bromides circulating about going fast and breaking things. These are meant to get us over the inertia of inaction. Inaction is lame. Whether its fear, or analysis paralysis, procrastination, or just plain laziness that keeps us in check, inaction is lame.
There are lots of great homilies that exhort us to action like Just Do It. Here are some I like:
If everything seems in control you’re not going fast enough.
Take a more playful attitude: Do then think instead of think then do.
These are all words to live by and jump-start our initiative. But it’s also important to festina lente: make haste slowly. Going fast and breaking things is only reasonable advice if you don’t have to go back immediately and fix what got broken.
Doing things twice or more sucks and is really inefficient. Never underestimate the power of getting it right the first time. Acting with intention and focus beats frantic effort. Pace and cadence count.
Never underestimate the power of getting it right the first time.
In laboratory settings where scientists work with dangerous toxins and contagions, lab operators are rated on their “slow hands”: the ability to move slow enough that accidents like spilling and dropping don’t occur. This is important in the kitchen but critical in a lab where a dropped and broken test tube can be lethal.
Special forces like Delta, Seals and Parajumpers are trained to slow down in serious situations so that each movement and task is done once and done right. A mistake can waste precious time and jeopardize the mission.
So stop procrastinating and just do it and course correct based on feedback. And also remember Festina Lente so you don’t have to needlessly back track.
Persist in your efforts
Long-term consistency beats short-term intensity.
- Bruce Lee
Long-term goals and life in general require the cadence and pace of a marathon not a sprint. Rome wasn’t built in a day.