Make haste slowly.

Image result for marcus aurelius
Bust of Marcus Aurelius

Masters of Scale recently interviewed Ariana Huffington. It was a fantastic episode.

Ariana made a statement about bad hiring:

I can trace back all my hiring mistakes to being tired, which has the impact not just of impairing your cognitive abilities to make the right decisions but also subconsciously of making you want to say, “Yes.” When you are running on empty, you’re overwhelmed by your to-do list. What we are doing now at Thrive, having learned from my mistakes, we have this rule that nobody should interview while tired.

This is not just a tried and true recipe for disastrous hiring outcomes, but anything and everything.

Last year my friend, Mike, gave me a brief history lesson on the Latin phrase Festina Lente which was used frequently by Caesars. It was particularly beloved by Marcus Aurelius. Festina Lente translates to “make haste slowly.”

What this should mean in our lives is that in order to go fast, you must first go slow. You can’t build an awe-inducing skyscraper without a solid foundation. Those foundations seem to take forever, but they ensure the skyscraper that we’re amazed by still stands.

There are no shortcuts to life. You need sleep, rest, rejuvenation. You can’t keep slapping together a foundation and expect it to work. You’re building up technical debt to get it done, you burn up social capital to get that thing approved, or you use your authority power with your direct reports one too many times.

You’ve likely read every blog post and article on hacks, tips, and tricks and already know all this. The difference is acting on it. I was that person. I kept speeding down the road faster and faster until the wheels started coming off. Slow down.

Our weekend is not to get ahead, allow yourself to “fall behind” so that you can be fast the next week. Make haste, slowly. Or, as Marcus Aurelius would have said it, festina lente.

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