‘You just make mistakes when you rush.’ A reminder to slow down…

Creative Commons: Ell Brown

Creative Commons: Ell Brown

I’d just finished writing an article and looked forward to settling down to my tasty stir-fry leftovers for a quick lunch before our big supermarket delivery was due to arrive. I hadn’t received a text saying exactly when within the hour they were likely to come. Alas, in usual Murphy’s Law fashion, I had just taken the first bite of the spicy dish, when the doorbell rang. Drat.

‘Oh well’, I thought, ‘I better just unload everything quickly so I can settle down to eat afterwards.’  As I unpacked the vast amount of items (there was practically no food left in the house), I engaged in a little small talk with the delivery guy. I apologised for ordering so much stuff and said I’d try to hurry up, knowing that the drivers have several deliveries to fit into their daily schedule. His laid back response stunned me…

‘No hurry’, he said calmly. ‘Take your time.’

‘But won’t you be late for your next delivery?’

‘There’s no point worrying about that, I just take my time. And you just make mistakes when you rush.’

I relaxed, emptying the boxes a little less manically.

The young employee explained further: ‘All the drivers get really stressed and talk about it in the canteen at work. They all moan about how hard the job is and how they have to rush around to get the deliveries done on time, but I’m just not that bothered. They say to me ‘Aren’t you worried about being late?’ and I say ‘Nah, I take my time’. I end up making the deliveries on schedule most of the time anyway, and there’s nothing you can do about a customer being slow to unload, or a traffic jam en route.  The others tend to make mistakes ‘cos they’re in such a rush.’

I slowed down some more, deciding that after putting away the food for the fridge freezer, everything else could wait until I’d eaten my lunch.

I couldn’t get that line out of my head. ‘You just make mistakes when you rush.’ How true – in so many areas of  life. I thought about the couple of typos in my novel (hurriedly checking the final proof before it went to print); I thought about the times I’ve left something important at home or at work, because I’ve dashed out the door without checking my bag; I thought about missing a crucial email after hurriedly scanning through my inbox.

Rushing makes us feel as though we’re being productive and using our time well. Ironically, the converse is true: rushing often slows us down, as we have to go back and remedy the errors or mistakes we make. Rushing also robs us of a calm, relaxed demeanour.  Instead of simply getting on with a job or task at hand, we’re constantly looking at the clock or feeling on edge. The young man delivering my shopping was able to work efficiently at a moderate pace, without letting his job get him down or stressed.

Slowing down as we work certainly has its benefits: A relaxed attitude, a cheerful manner and a more pleasant individual for others to work with. The many health benefits of living stress-free have also been well documented by researchers. Slowing down doesn’t mean being lazy or inefficient; it simply means pacing yourself and working consistently, often allowing you to achieve more than if you had hurried.

So I’m going to purposefully implement this laid back philosophy into my work ethic and family values. Rushing, quite simply, isn’t worth it.

Caught on camera – Cameron’s great train gaffe/ FaithWalk comment

red box

It could possibly go down in history as one of his most embarrassing moments in office. That, along with the time he and his wife, Samantha, drove off home without realising that their daughter was not with them, but rather left behind at the pub. Poor Cameron, it’s not fun being made a laughing stock. Though I’m quite sure that someone would have warned him that it was part of the prime ministerial job description.

Leaving his distinctive red, ministerial box, full of official documents and potential state secrets, in full view on a train table, with the key still inside the lock, will be remembered for quite some time. Never mind the fact that Cameron was just a few steps away at the buffet car or that his official security people were watching over his stuff. We can all picture Bourne Identity style scenes as rogue spies swoop in to whisk away said briefcase, while bumbling officials sip coffee or check their Twitter pages. Even the guy who snapped the photograph and ran to the tabloids could have been a dodgy opportunist.

Oh the perils of parenting flaws or major gaffes in the public eye! We mere, ordinary mortals do not run the risk of having the times we left our Mastercard in a store card machine or let our toddler run amok in a shopping centre (ahem!) plastered across the Daily Mirror. I, for one, am immeasurably glad to be rather incognito in such circumstances.

So why are we so unwilling to cut him some slack or to downplay such incidents? He’s only human, surely we all make errors? Do these blunders really matter all that much? Or do they demonstrate the height of irresponsibility?

The general consensus appears to be that it matters because of his position. He’s the Prime Minister, the highest role in government. The overriding issue raised is that if Cameron is not so conscientious in areas pertaining to his family or state documents, how seriously does he take the job of running the country? Perhaps that’s an unfair assertion, but at the very least, Cameron should have pocketed the key before wandering off to buy coffee. Those on the Opposition benches will definitely be having a field day in Parliament over this story for the next few days. [Although Downing Street has denied any wrongdoing on the Prime Minister’s part, surely there should be more secure protocols in place regarding the transportation of official documents?]

The incident highlights how we often love to gloat over others’ mistakes or make jibes about their misjudgements. In an age of savvy smartphone snaps, which can be instantly uploaded to Instagram or any interested news outlets, every faux pas can be recorded and shared. It must make those in public office particularly uncomfortable. Their every move or slip up may become viral hits across social media sites or front page news within hours. And yet we forget that our every move is also being viewed and recorded. Not by the latest technological gizmo, but rather by our heavenly Father, who sees all that do and even knows all that we think. The tabloids may not show the slightest interest in our escapades, unless we hold an important position, but God is aware of, and is interested in, all that goes on in our lives – from the greatest to the least. In terms of high or low positions in society, it makes no difference to Him; we’re all on his radar, all the time. Both the good and the bad (and the plain stupid) things that we engage in matter to Him; they don’t go unnoticed. Before we’re swift to mock, I’m reminded that I,too, have made innumerable blunders or indiscretions. And I’m thankful that, despite my imperfections, I’m still valuable in God’s eyes. (See Psalm 139 for more on this.)