Last week, I had an embarrassing incident that I’m sure has never happened to any of you (heavy sarcasm implied.) I was in the middle of my ordinary and busy workday when I received an email from one of my colleagues. I was between meetings, was trying to get multiple things done, and quickly glanced at the email, thinking that I understood the contents. Unfortunately, I read the word “did” as “didn’t” because I did not think that the particular action had been completed. That set my colleague and I on an email journey of misunderstanding with me as the guide. My response further confused the situation because he could not have anticipated that I read his email as exactly the opposite of what he conveyed. I then misunderstood his response and we continued on our meandering journey that finally ended after about 6 emails with me noting to my colleague that 1) he probably thought I was an idiot and 2) I was exhausted.
It’s pretty obvious to all of us that sometimes when you rush through an activity and combine that with hurried assumptions, you may actually end up taking much more time than if you simply paid full attention from the start. Still, there is a difference between knowing something rationally and actually changing your own behavior 100% of the time. A bigger danger in not thoroughly understanding a situation is that you could draw conclusions and take actions based on incorrect assumptions. In my example, we just wasted time but there could be situations where the result could be more costly.
In a world that seems to emphasize efficiency and productivity as measures for success for everything, I think we have to be careful that, in rushing to provide an answer, we don’t lessen the quality of what we produce, whether it’s for work or in our personal lives. Slowing down in a fast-paced world takes more effort than one might imagine, but the result is worth it.
This week’s selection is:
The Spy (Netflix)
This drama tells the astonishing true story of Israel's most prominent spy, Eli Cohen, who infiltrated the Syrian government in the 1960s.