Speed Up!

On my first attempt at college, I tried going at normal student speed. I found my classes boring and uninspiring. The goal of graduating in four years seemed distant and too much out of my control. The whole experience was pretty depressing, despite the fact that I was attending the number one school in the nation for my major at the time.

I did my best to enjoy the process by having more fun outside of class — getting drunk twice a week and playing a lot of poker. That helped — I certainly enjoyed the process more, but it didn’t help me on my path towards graduation. After three semesters I was expelled, and rightly so.

I took a year off and tried again. This time I tweaked the goal to make it more fun and inspiring — to start over as a freshman and earn my 4-year computer science degree in 1.5 years. That brought many other inspiring elements to the table — the full engagement of my mind, motivation, focus, and curiosity, different ways of thinking about education, a sense of control over the process, higher self-esteem, access to deeper resourcefulness, a powerful vision of myself as being more productive than ever, and so on. This was the inspired path. The energy I felt upon considering a serious speed increase was a clear sign that I was onto something.

It also worked. Speed made the goal fun and meaningful. It brought interesting challenges. I reveled in the time management aspect. Finally I had a goal that felt worthy of me, not the mind-numbing snail’s pace of my first attempt at a college education. After all, if 15 semester units equates to 15 hours per week of classroom work (the average for a full-time student), then where is all the extra time going? A serious full-time student can invest a lot more than 15 hours a week in classes. Homework alone isn’t enough to fill in all the other hours of a week.

Instead of making the goal terrifying and stressful, the faster pacing made the goal so much more fun. I loved the experience!

Don’t use the “enjoy the process” mantra to justify slogging along slowly and watching your goals wither and die. It’s a huge limiting belief to assume that going faster means you’re doing something wrong and creating too much stress.

Making goals happen faster is often a LOT more fun. Implementing a fast tempo is HOW you enjoy the process. In fact, some goals cannot be achieved slowly at all, so in many cases faster means success while a slower pace guarantees failure.

If going faster makes the process of achieving your goals less enjoyable for you, you’ve probably chosen the wrong goals to begin with. If you don’t want them sooner, you probably don’t want them at all.

What I love about speed is that it pushes me not just to achieve the goal but also to become a better person along the way. In order to achieve a goal faster, I have to change myself. I have to release more limiting beliefs. I have to become more organized. I have to focus better. I have let go of the fluff. I have to cultivate new relationships with like-minded achievers. I have to get better at avoiding distractions. Since I love personal growth, goals that challenge me in this way are so much more fun than goals that don’t. The speed aspect is what helps me enjoy the process. Without sufficient speed the enjoyment just isn’t there.

Please don’t rule out speed as being a negative or stressful. Not all stress is bad. A fast tempo can create a lot of eustress — positive, beneficial stress. It can also mean the difference between achieving a goal and failing to achieve it. Going so slowly that you fail to achieve your desired outcome usually isn’t much fun. You can always justify such failure in retrospect with a “well, at least I learned something” or “I still enjoyed the process” mindset, and that can help, but wouldn’t it have been even better to gain the lessons AND to achieve the goal as well?

How much faster is better?

I’m not talking incremental speed increases in most cases. I’m suggesting that you consider a 2x increase in speed at least. Even think about a 10x increase. Look at one of your goals and ask yourself, “How could I achieve this goal 2x, 5x, or even 10x faster?” I love the 10x question because it really gets me thinking in new directions.

Going fast is one of the things I love about writing. It’s why I’ve written so much. Going too slowly is a creativity killer for me. I have to write fast to enjoy the process.

These days I can write a 2500-word article in about 2 hours flat. That includes the time from when I get the initial idea to when it’s fully written, edited, and published on my website. Many writers I’ve talked to consider that very fast. I consider it fun.

This morning I got up at 5am, had a new article at 5:20am, and completed this 1100+ word article a little after 6am — less than 45 minutes from idea to publication. That pacing is fun. I enjoyed those 40-odd minutes. I could have taken all morning to write this piece, but why go so slow? Fast is fun – and much more profitable!

At a higher speed, I’ll make more mistakes. I may not be as elegant or polished, but so what? I can be blunt instead. I’ll get the ideas shared and more people will benefit from them. That’s what matters. Keep the energy moving and flowing at a pacing that feels exciting. Go too slow, and the ideas shrivel and die.

So remember, going faster doesn’t mean more stress or a negative outcome. It simply means thinking differently about your work, focusing yourself, and quite possibly, having MORE FUN.

Would you enjoy the process of achieving your goals even more if you doubled, tripled, or 10x’d your pacing? Pick a goal and ask yourself, how can I 10x the speed? See what fresh ideas bubble up from your subconscious. See if you feel any added energy or excitement from the speed. Then go!

What aspect in your life or business can be sped up?

[Ed Note: Steve Pavlina is one of the most widely read personal development bloggers in the world, with his website StevePavlina.com attracting 2.5 million monthly readers. He’s written more than 1200 free articles on personal growth, productivity, relationships, online business, and more.]