walk faster and ignore the roses

people walk too slow. And drive too slow. Lots of people meander to and from different places. They enjoy travel, long drives, and routes that aren’t always the most efficient.

I’m not that way. I like getting places quickly. Of all the things in science fiction, the thing I most want is a teleporter. I’d love to be zapped to work every morning to avoid my 10 minute commute. I’m planning a trip to India now … a 24 hour travel experience … and while I will benefit from reading a bunch of books and spending some time in deep thought, there is nothing I’d like more than to be zapped to my destination. but alas, we might not be able to expect this essential tool from science fiction in our lifetime.

People always say: “stop and smell the roses.” That’s often seen as good advice. They often say “don’t work so hard” to people. the common thing I hear is the story of a man on his deathbed who never regrets that he didn’t work hard enough but does regret that he did not spend enough time going to little juniors baseball practice.

But that’s just the issue with regrets … the accomplished often regret that they did not spend enough time with their family. The unaccomplished often regret that they did not spend enough time to be accomplished (and they often ALSO regret they did not spend enough time with their family).

People often look down on workaholics. They claim this isn’t good for health, for the person, or for society. To that, I say … baloney!

What does Martin Luther King Jr, Mahatma Gandhi, Alexander Hamilton, Bill Gates, Nathan Rothschild, and almost everyone else that changed the world have in common? It isn’t that they spent tons of time stopping and smelling the roses. These people lived, eat, and breathed their work. Great people work really hard. Yes, they occasionally watch a movie, get lost in a mindless book, play with their kids, create art, kiss their spouse, cook a meal, and exercise … and that’s all good. but great people, almost all of them, work really really hard.

My advice is ignore the roses … focus on changing the world. The roses will still be there when you’re done.

3 thoughts on “walk faster and ignore the roses

  1. Andrew

    What you just said – in my opinion – is terrible advice. My interpretation of the idea “stop and smell the roses” (the same with most successful people I know) is not to stop being efficient, but to find the right balance between our jobs, family, friends, leisure, etc. Sure, a shorter communte to and from work would be great, but only if it allowed us to utilize that time for some other form of enjoyment; not to just work more. By attaching the suffix -aholic (if it even is considered a suffix?), the semantics of the word changes from positive to negative. A workaholic is no different than an alcoholic, sexaholic, God-aholic, golf-aholic, etc. It defines a lifestyle where the individual has chosen to allow one aspect of their life to consume their existence, at the expense of others and their own well-being. The phrase “stop and smell the roses” is a reminder that there are other things out there that we love and appreciate, and to never forget them. How you define a successful person is subjective. Those men that you mentioned are obviously successful in specific areas of life, but if they are not fulfilled in other aspects of thier own lives, than I would not hold them in such high esteem. The people I do look up to are those who excel in all areas of their life, and I believe that they remind themselves occassionally to “stop and smell the roses”.

  2. Steve E

    What’s the point of dissecting a fortune cookie philosophy?
    Re-frame the question: What’s preferable as a personal outlook, patience with the status-quo or intolerance of it? The evidence you adduce (plebes are complacent, innovators are impatient) does indeed support the conclusion that restlessness leads to success in terms of the greater social good, but it does not support the conclusion that restlessness leads to success in terms of personal satisfaction. That clearly depends on an individual’s sense of direction and his ability to meet goals; sometimes people are better off stuck in traffic.

  3. sally Dorfman

    I have thought about this post for quite awhile, got busy and forgot about it but then remembered it. It is absolutely true – smart people really do have to work really hard and long hours. It is in their nature – they are happiest when working a lot, and the other things in life such as family, sports, etc.. are icing on the cake. They never really miss what is important. Having been really, really sick this past summer, I know that workaholics can also be truly attentive to both their work and loved ones. I was in the hospital often and know that workaholics can sit in a hospital room with their laptops and listen to the Doctor, nurse, and the family they love more than anything in the world and still get a ton of work done. My husband launched a new business, and took care of two adolescent boys, as well as nursed his wife back to health from a very serious illness. and as his wife, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. We all felt like we came out ahead.


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