Balancing Life in the Fast Lane with Slow Country  BackroadsGandhi, the towering political and spiritual leader of India and the Indian independence movement, once observed “There is more to life than increasing its speed.” But we live in an ever accelerating world. Zenger Folkman’s research based on their “speed index” showed that extraordinary leaders are both quick and effective.

Ten years ago I bought a summer toy: a two-seat roadster convertible. At first, my wife, Heather, was just indulging me when she agreed to go along on a few rides. Fairly quickly, though, she got into the joy of cruising along tree-lined country roads in the open air as we chatted, basked in the sunshine, and sang along to our favorite music.

On warm weather “cruising days,” when I am heading out on business, instead of blazing the fast lane of the expressway I have found a variety of quiet back-road alternatives. It does take extra time for these trips. When I do live life in the slow lane, I am struck by how often we choose the much faster superhighway, where the top is up, the wind doesn’t ruffle our hair (or my expanding forehead), and our “scenery” is roaring trucks and tailgaters who are closer than they appear.

Too often we’re so intent on getting to our next destination that we miss the joy of the trip. We’re busy rushing toward our next goal. When we arrive, there’s no time to savor it or look around before setting our sights on a new goal and off we rush again.

One of the great paradoxes of our time is balancing speed toward our destination with savoring all that the journey has to offer. Heather and I work hard and often pack a lot into our busy days. The busier we get the more important we find quiet country cruises become.