By Dr. April Minatrea - Clinical PsychologistJul 17, 2017

The idea to “ruthlessly eliminate hurry” comes from philosopher Dallas Willard. On the surface, it seems like sound, simple, straightforward advice. Yet, over the years, I’ve discovered layers of meaning to understanding and applying this wisdom.

1. Eliminate hurry from your day.

The downside of being an optimist is overestimating how much can be accomplished and underestimating the time it will take. First steps to eliminating hurry are often (a) scaling back your to-do list by focusing only on what is essential, and (b) building in buffer by giving yourself extra time. Both steps quickly reduce stress.

2. Eliminate hurry from your heart.

Despite our best efforts to create margin, sometimes life throws us curves—an accident on the highway or an unexpected phone call. When crisis hits or interruptions eat away the extra time we had built in, being in a hurry won’t help—and could actually cost you more time if you make mistakes or get pulled over. Stressing about being late won’t get you there any faster. Sometimes you will be late either way. The choice is either to be late and at peace or late and not at peace. Choose peace!

3. Eliminate hurry from your life.

One of the most common complaints I hear is, “I thought I would be further by now,” meaning I thought I would be married, have kids, be more advanced in my career, and have more money in the bank. Often, people use these milestones as measures of success and feel dissatisfied until they are reached. This reflects one of the hallmarks of a poverty mindset—a sense of lack and the belief, “I can’t be happy until….” In contrast, those with a wealth mindset focus on what they have, not what they don’t have. Being grateful for what we have keeps us in a state of joy while we are on the journey and allows us to see opportunities for investing what we have today to produce what we hope to have tomorrow.

While working on my PhD, I came to a crossroads where I had to decide if I could teach a new class, propose my dissertation, and apply for internship all in one semester. I realized I would drive myself crazy if I tried to tackle all that at once. So I decided not to hurry and to take an extra year. Once I made peace with the decision, I enjoyed life. Once I got my degree, I no longer cared how long the process had taken. More than a decade later, I’m still happy with the decision. Now I see that is because I chose love over fear.

Hurry is essentially fear-based. Fear of not having enough time. Fear of what others think. Fear of not being happy unless something changes. Fear of not being enough until something is accomplished. Eliminating hurry is about eliminating fear and living from a heart of love. Love is patient.