In a world geared for hurry, the capacity to resist the urge to hurry – to allow things to take the time they take – is a way to gain purchase on the world, to do the work that counts, and to derive satisfaction from the doing itself, instead of deferring all your fulfilment to the future.*
Instead of calling everything a game, we should think of everything as playable: capable of being manipulated in an interesting and appealing way within the confines of its constraints.**
When we slow down, we are able to reconnect playfulness with seriousness.
Oliver Burkeman counsels how we must ‘slow down to the speed that art demands’.*
John O’Dohonue anticipates this when he writes,
This is what all art strives for: the creation of a living permanence.^
Whatever the most artful and lasting things are that we produce through our living, they are not going to happen in a hurry.
I’ll be taking to heart the three “rules of thumb” provided by Burkeman for exploring the power of patience:
The first is to develop a taste for having problems. … The second principle is to embrace radical incrementalism. … The final principle is that, more often than not, originality lies on the far side of unoriginality.*
I connect the first with the first elemental truth of “Life is hard,” that life is working on one problem after another, but a life without problems would be a boring life.
The second is about turning up, doing a little often. I connect this with the response of faithfulness: finding small ways to do what I value and what I do, every day.^^
The third encourages me to trust the path with a heart, that may not be original at the outset but will bear fruit as my slow journey in the same direction.
*From Oliver Burkeman’s Four Thousand Weeks;
**From Ian Bogost’s Play Anything;
^From John O’Donohue’s Benedictus:
^^Something I will take to heart for beginning that second book.