Episode 607
September 19, 2020

Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.
It is important to approach any situation cautiously and with patience.


Navy seals training dictates a slow, cautious and aware ingress.
A cautious approach allows troops to take in the lay of the land.
The more that is observed the better the formulation of a plan.
The better the plan, the less resistance is likely to be met.

The phrase, “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast” may have originated with Wyatt Earp when he said,
“Take your time in a hurry” while describing a gun fight. Precision and accuracy come from careful aiming. If you miss your target from haste you get nothing.

“For every action (force) in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
— Sir Isaac Newton’s third law of motion
The faster you go, the more push back that there is.

Napoleon Bonaparte is quoted saying to his valet while being dressed in his battle uniform, “Dress me slowly, I’m in a hurry.”
He wanted to make careful preparations so that he would be ready to lead and win the battle.
i wonder if “Dressed to kill” was derived from this quote.
Dressing well to impress or attract attention is sometimes said, “Dressed to the nines.” Nine being the largest single digit number, the phrase means to dress the best (greatest) you can be.

“After learning anything, being exposed to new information, encountering art or any other type of cultural artifact, take a moment to yourself and quietly process what you’ve just intellectually imbibed.”
— Colin Wright, “Thoughtful Pause,” “Exile Lifestyle” 2018.

A moment of quiet allows you to compare what is observed with what you know. This can better prepare you to execute this wisdom when the situation returns. This type of critical thinking is called “learning.”

Patience is “quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence.”
When i exercise with my wife she counts the repetitions. This frees me to focus and sink into the zen of the workout. This does not mean that i hold back, but persevere by embracing the endurance of the act. Patience allows me to go with the flow.

“All things come to those who wait.
—Lady Mary Montgomerie Currie (Violet Fane)

Waiting gives time for preparation, contemplation and determination. From these characteristics come productivity and success without undue mistakes. 
“Haste makes waste.”

Electrons drift through a charged wire very slowly; only a few meters per hour. Yet, signal velocity is close to the speed of light. Signal velocity is the effect of one electron bumping into another and pushing the electrical flow through the wire.

Imagine a line of people waiting at a restaurant. The line is moving very slowly. The person at the back of the line becomes fidgety and bumps the person in front of them. That person is pushed into the next and so on up the line. The motion of the push travels up the line very fast while the person in the back of the line is still waiting for his table.
Electrons are slow and cautious, but create a lightning fast current with minimal movement.

There is a perfect example of patience in skydiving.
As i approach a free fall formation, i am falling at 120 miles per hour with a horizontal speed of as much as 50 miles per hour. If i hit the formation at any speed, my inertia is imparted on the structure. The result is a wave which travels through the formation at a speed equal to my impact. This can result in a funnel of tumbling bodies, causing the formation to fall apart.

We are taught to approach the free fall formation cautiously, slow down to a horizontal stop, take a breath, then take up grips.
If this is done properly by everyone on the team, the formation will build and complete without the need or time to rebuild it from a funnel.
Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.

“Slow down, you move too fast
You got to make the morning last
Just kicking down the cobblestones
Looking for fun and feeling groovy
Ba da-da da-da da-da, feeling groovy”
— Paul Simon, “The 59th Street Bridge Song.”


Have the patience to adopt the perfect timing for a situation, not the timing that you desire.


  1. David Willner September 18, 2020
  2. Patrick J. Jones September 18, 2020

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