Sources: Nerves And Common Sense
HOW can any one do anything well while in a constant state of rush?
How can any one see anything clearly while in a constant state of
rush? How can any one expect to keep healthy and strong while in a
constant state of rush?
But most of my readers may say, "I am not in a constant state of
rush--I only hurry now and then when I need to hurry."
The answer to that is "Prove it, prove it." Study yourself a little,
and see whether you find yourself chronically in a hurry or not.
If you will observe yourself carefully with a desire to find the
hurry tendency, and to find it thoroughly, in order to eliminate it,
you will be surprised to see how much of it there is in you.
The trouble is that all our standards are low, and to raise our
standards we must drop that which interferes with the most wholesome
way of living.
As we get rid of all the grosser forms of hurry we find in ourselves
other hurry habits that are finer and more subtle, and gradually our
standards of quiet, deliberate ways get higher; we become more
sensitive to hurry, and a hurried way of doing things grows more and
more disagreeable to us.
Watch the women coming out of a factory in the dinner hour or at six
o'clock. They are almost tumbling over each other in their hurry to
get away. They are putting on their jackets, pushing in their
hatpins, and running along as if their dinner were running away from
Something akin to that same attitude of rush we can see in any large
city when the clerks come out of the shops, for their luncheon hour,
or when the work of the day is over.
If we were to calculate in round numbers the amount of time saved by
this rush to get away from the shop, we should find three minutes,
probably the maximum--and if we balance that against the loss to
body and mind which is incurred, we should find the three minutes'
gain quite overweighted by the loss of many hours, perhaps days,
because of the illness which must be the result of such habitual
It is safe to predict when we see a woman rushing away from factory
or shop that she is not going to "let up" on that rate of speed
until she is back again at work. Indeed, having once started brain
and body with such an exaggerated impetus, it is not possible to
quiet down without a direct and decided use of the will, and how is
that decided action to be taken if the brain is so befogged with the
habit of hurry that it knows no better standard?
One of the girls from a large factory came rushing up to the kind,
motherly head of the boarding house the other day saying:--
"It is abominable that I should be kept waiting so long for my
dinner. I have had my first course and here I have been waiting
twenty minutes for my dessert."
The woman addressed looked up quietly to the clock and saw that it
was ten minutes past twelve.
" What time did you come in?" she said. "At twelve o'clock."
"And you have had your first course?"
"And waited twenty minutes for your dessert?"
"How can that be when you came in at twelve o'clock, and it is now
only ten minutes past?"
Of course there was nothing to say in answer, but whether the girl
took it to heart and so raised her standard of quiet one little bit,
I do not know.
One can deposit a fearful amount of strain in the brain with only a
few moments' impatience.
I use the word "fearful" advisedly, for when the strain is once
deposited it is not easily removed, especially when every day and
every moment of every day is adding to the strain.
The strain of hurry makes contractions in brain and body with which
it is impossible to work freely and easily or to accomplish as much
as might be done without such contractions.
The strain of hurry befogs the brain so that it is impossible for it
to expand to an unprejudiced point of view.
The strain of hurry so contracts the whole nervous and muscular
systems that the body can take neither the nourishment of food nor
of fresh air as it should.
There are many women who work for a living, and women who do not
work for a living, who feel hurried from morning until they go to
bed at night, and they must, perforce, hurry to sleep and hurry
Often the day seems so full, and one is so pressed for time that it
is impossible to get in all there is to do, and yet a little quiet
thinking will show that the important things can be easily put into
two thirds of the day, and the remaining third is free for rest, or
play, or both.
Then again, there is real delight in quietly fitting one thing in
after another when the day must be full, and the result at the end
of the day is only healthy fatigue from which a good night's rest
will refresh us entirely.
There is one thing that is very evident--a feeling of hurry retards
our work, it does not hasten it, and the more quietly we can do what
is before us, the more quickly and vigorously we do it.
The first necessity is to find ourselves out--to find out for a fact
when we do hurry, and how we hurry, and how we have the sense of
hurry with us all the time. Having willingly, and gladly, found
ourselves out, the remedy is straight before us.
Nature is on the side of leisure and will come to our aid with
higher standards of quiet, the possibilities of which are always in
every one's brain, if we only look to find them.
To sit five minutes quietly taking long breaths to get a sense of
leisure every day will be of very great help--and then when we find
ourselves hurrying, let us stop and recall the best quiet we
know--that need only take a few seconds, and the gain is sure to
_Festina lente_ (hasten slowly) should be in the back of our brains
all day and every day.
"'T is haste makes waste, the sage avers,
And instances are far too plenty;
Whene'er the hasty impulse stirs,
Put on the brake, Festina Lente."