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Stephen Mayo | Your Optimal Speed

Your Optimal Speed

Nov. 15, 2020

"It’s easier to do them fast than it is slow."

          - Bob Ross in The Joy of Painting, describing a particular technique for painting trees ("Island in the Wilderness")



For most things, there’s an optimal speed at which to do it.

For some tasks, slow and methodical is essential to avoiding mistakes and building the right foundation.  For example, when doing a complicated calculation with interest rates, or working out the fingering on the violin for a difficult set of measures.

For other things, like riding a bicycle, if you pedal too slowly, the task actually becomes more difficult.

Of course, we each have our own preferred speed.   Some people like to operate at a break-neck pace; crash fast, learn fast.  Other people prefer to be more deliberate.  A friend of mine once joked: “I have two speeds: stop and reverse.”

One of the keys to working effectively, then, is to find your optimal speed for the task at hand, and to work at that speed, even if it's out of your comfort zone.

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