Why I Don't Believe in "Hurry Up."


I distinctly remember a time, many years ago, that I watched myself crash and burn in an interview.  I remember really wanting the job, so seeing my prospects go up in flames was like an out-of-body experience.  I became acutely aware of the faces in the room - they’d gone from smiling and nodding, to flat and glancing among one another.  I remember looking at myself and thinking Oh, sh**********t, that girl is screwed.

I’m sure you’re wondering how I blew it, if for no other reason than to avoid doing it yourself…  My fatal mistake was uttering the phrase: “I don’t believe in ‘Hurry Up.’” What I meant then, and still believe now, is that our brains are terrible at making decisions and executing tasks when sodden with adrenaline.  This is a well-documented scientific occurrence where the release of stress hormones prompts the use of the most primitive parts of our brains. So it should surprise no one that on days I’m running late, I rush out the door in the morning, and I’m more apt to forget my keys, my laptop, my kid, what have you (Disclaimer: I have not [yet] actually forgotten my kid).  

But it’s not just about being forgetful.  I’m also more likely to snap at my sweetheart, or be frustrated with our son’s otherwise adorable dawdling.  When we deny ourselves the ability to use the more robust decision-making capabilities of our brains, we can’t be shocked when we make bad choices, and sometimes even damage relationships.

There are a million different articles out there on how we can “hack our lizard brains,” or otherwise avoid these issues.  But they typically call for stopping, breathing, self talk, meditation, or something else I’m not capable of when I’m 20 minutes late.  And, to them, I say:

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What I wasn’t able to articulate in time to save that interview, is that I advocate for an alternative to rushing all together.  I am perfectly capable of moving quickly - though my husband might dispute this - and acting with a sense of urgency is often a must. So I pair that ability with the knowledge that a) we’re all going to get there eventually, and b) I will not remember this particular situation in a month, year, decade, whatever, so it’s probably not worth whatever heinous thing I’m about to say to my family in an effort to motivate them into the car.  By taking the anxiety out of an already stressful situation, I no longer expend valuable energy worrying about how late I am - or how short the deadline is, how big the problem is, how dire the consequences are.  Now, hurry up, and try it yourself!



Kate Negrón