“The illusion of speed is the belief that it saves time. It looks simple at first sight: finish something in two hours instead of three, gain an hour. It’s an abstract calculation, though, done as if each hour of the day were like an hour on the clock, absolutely equal.

But haste and speed accelerate time, which passes more quickly, and two hours of hurry shorten a day. Every minute is torn apart by being segmented, stuffed to bursting. You can pile a mountain of things into an hour.”

Frédéric Gros, A Philosophy of Walking

A Philosophy of walking is written by a French philosopher who recounts many historical figures where walking has played a large role in their lives. He talks of how walking is the slowest place we can get anywhere and how connecting it is because it is the oldest way to get around. Humans have always had two feet.

A common theme in his text is how walking is such an act of mindfulness and meditation. Doing a repetitive task can sometimes feel meditative, it comes to a point where there is a flow and your muscles start to move from memory. You may even finish the task and realize it seemed faster because of your thinking. Though walking may not get us there the fastest it doesn’t immediately mean that it is not the best way to get some place. We gain something by letting go of our hurried nature.

Especially in western culture, the grinding or business is never ending. There is 9 to 5 most days and in between that, the rush to work, to get coffee, to get home, to make dinner, and to do it quickly so we have rest time. We are often fast paced. The pressure to be perfect. The pressure to be efficient. The pressure to do things thoroughly. The pressure to do well. The pressure, the worry, the nervousness, the tenseness. We rob ourselves of other feeling when we fill our day with haste.

Frederic says that the idea that being speedy saves time is simply an illusion. When you finish something in less time than you intended, you have succeeded in achieving more time for oneself. It operates on the assumption that all hours in the day are created equal and they are not. Hastiness and speed, Frederic states, actually accelerate time. It seems to pass more quickly. The hurry makes the time shorter. You stuff so many things into such a small amount of time that it’s “stuffed to bursting”. He implies that if we spent more time in each task, not worrying about efficiency or time so much, we would feel as though we had more time. When we rush to get so many things done it distorts this sense of time.

Mindfulness is at the core of Frederic’s philosophy. So much revolves around the present moment, being in your body, and not rushing it. Like the mindfulness meditation of watching your thoughts pass by like clouds without clinging onto them too long or hurrying them along.

I invite you to notice your hurry. Reflect curiously on moments or tasks in which one is hurrying to think about how it impacts their day, their time, their peace. It is engrained in us not to waste time; therefore, we see rushing as a way to save time. We must be hasty to save all the time we have to make sure we can do everything we need to do. But taking a slow pace can give us time to breathe, time to notice more of the world around us, and allow us to find more enrichment and enjoyment in our day-to-day surroundings.

If you would like to learn more about mindfulness or want to talk to someone, please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment with one of our licensed mental health counselors.


Arielle Teets