Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hurry Up Slowly

It was a classmate of mine who used to say ‘hurry up slowly’ when conducting experiments related to heat in the Physics lab during graduation. We had to measure temperature every 15 seconds or so and when it reached a particular point, every 5 seconds. It was not at all easy. The problem was compounded further by the antiquated stop-clock we had to use. We wanted the temperature to fall fast and yet slow enough for us to easily measure it. This line was so very apt in that context. More importantly I used to think it was an original quip from my classmate. I was wrong.

Google’s interesting result for ‘Hurry up slowly’ is copied below.

Aldus Manutius was an Italian renaissance writer and printer. He is credited with inventing italics and setting the pattern for publishing as we know it today. His personal motto, Festina Lente - "Hurry up slowly" - remains sage counsel. He captured the motto with an anchor intertwined by dolphins. The rushing dolphins and rugged anchor send a paradoxical truth. True and good progress flows from the gap between impetuousness and procrastination. We are at our best when we make haste and yet don't hurry.

This is summed by brilliantly by John Wesley as "Though I am always in haste, I am never in a hurry."

I see Festina Lente in action all around me. So here’s a list of Festina Lente moments I could think of.

Traffic and You

In heavy traffic you want to move fast but not so fast that you test the crumple-zone of your car

Boom-boom Economy and The Poor

India wants the economy to continue running on steroids no matter what and yet desperately hoping it slows down enough for the poor to catch up

Client and Agency

Client wants to push a strategy quickly (even though it is BS) and yet be slow enough for the agency to realise that they have to work on it, on time

Agency and Client

Agency wants to sell an idea quickly (even though it is BS) and yet be slow enough for the client to approve a shoot in French Riviera

Social Media and Companies

Companies rush into the Social Media bandwagon while hoping it slows enough for them to understand what the heck they have gotten into in the first place

Management and Employee

Management wants to quickly pass a resolution increasing shareholder return while slowing it enough for employees to realise that they have to work more for a lot less

Celebrities and Scandals

Celebrities are in a hurry to cover up a scandal and yet take time to milk the publicity from it

Politician and Businessman

The politician pushes the file quickly through red tape and yet slows it just that much forcing the businessman to cough up the kickbacks


I leave that to your imagination!

Now, why don’t you share your list of Festina Lente moments?

(Picture courtesy)

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