Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Supermarkets seem to be obsessed with technology. Sometimes they provide you with gun-like scanner things to make your trip more efficient, or smartphone applications that break the law, but nothing comes close to the joyful convenience of self-checkouts. They eliminate the awkward small talk with the cashier and you can pack your own items, preventing the whole “bread at the bottom of the bag” ordeal. But for many, these technological advances only further encourage society’s ever-increasing impatience.

My mother, my sister, and I were at Stop & Shop recently, occupying one of the self-checkout lanes as usual. To save time, we’ve devised a system—my sister and I unload the cart and scan, while our mother packs everything in bags. Though our methods are much more efficient than those flying solo, we still hear the occasional sigh coming from behind.

One evening, we encountered a pregnant Snooki lookalike. Same hair, same complexion, same attitude. She stood behind us (much closer than acceptable, in fact) and peered around us as we scanned our items. She gazed down the lane and said, “Is she bagging everything before she’s finished?” Instead of giving her the generic “don’t mess with me” glare, I responded by telling her that our system was more practical than she believed. I pointed out that we were saving time by killing two birds with one stone, no matter how slow she thought we were—that even if we waited to bag our items until after we paid, she’d still have to wait her turn.

Disgruntled, and obviously too impatient to deal with my logic, she moved to the next lane even though she had to wait behind someone there, too. A man then took her place behind us in line. As predicted, we finished our transaction and were headed out the door before she even scanned her first item. She was desperate to speed through the checkout, yet only cost herself more time.

Nearly everyone goes through their life trying to cut corners and increase their productivity, but they do so with only themselves in mind. My mother, my sister, and I are a team. We work together. But as our dear Snooki lookalike illustrated, thinking you know it all can be your greatest weakness. People need to slow down and think before they make the wrong move.

Take this blog for instance. It has been five months since I last posted (to the very day), but in the interim, I’ve been slowly building my professional résumé and finding solid work—success three years in the making. That slow road may have required much crawling to get to my destination, but I’m now standing solid on my own two feet. Had I let my impatience and frustration take over, I’d still be running toward a door that keeps getting further and further away. Everyone wants to save time, especially considering how little we have. But, by living in such a fast-paced society, we’re only making things zip by quicker.

You wouldn’t drive 100mph when trying to enjoy the scenic route. Perhaps you should ease up on the accelerator as you breeze through each day, as well.

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