Rushing and racing and running in circles
Moving so fast I’m forgetting my purpose
Blur of the traffic is sending me spinning
I’m getting nowhere
My head and my heart are colliding – chaotic
Pace of the world – I just wish I could stop it
Try to appear like I’ve got it together…
Sometimes I fear that I might disappear
In the blur of fast-forward I falter again…
From Slow Me Down, by Emmy Rossum, from her album Inside Out.
Alicia Keys talks about “going crazy” trying to do too much for too many people, and an article describes research on how multitasking is “dumbing us down” and boosting levels of stress-related hormones.
In her article What’s the rush?, Jenna Avery describes how constantly striving and being urgent about our lives and careers can have very negative impacts on emotional health, especially for highly sensitive people, who “don’t like to work under stress and pressure.”
She writes, “It makes us nervous and lessens the quality of our performance. As people with particularly high standards and conscientiousness, the conflict between wanting to do well and feeling unable to do so builds into an intense and painful internal struggle. It’s no wonder we sometimes explode, and more often burn out.”
She challenges sensitive people “to step outside this rushaholism and become leaders in honoring the deeper intuitive messages that guide our lives.”
The Week magazine [Oct 26 2007] reports on an article by Harriette Cole about Alicia Keys in Ebony magazine [Nov 2007]: “A Type A personality, the 26-year-old singer responded to the popularity of her first two albums by plunging herself deeper into songwriting and performing; at the same time, she felt obliged to be available to family, friends and anyone who asked.
‘My life got so crazy very quickly. For the past five years years, I don’t know when I ever said no, to the point where I became so dependable for people that they took advantage of it.
‘I finally realized I just became so depressed and I didn’t understand what I was feeling. Looking in the mirror, I didn’t recognize myself. It got to the point where I couldn’t hide it.’
“Desperate to get away from everyone, she booked a trip, alone, to Egypt. There, the implacable majesty of the pyramids and the Sphinx shocked her into some perspective.
‘You go into these tombs and see the wonders of the human hand, carving and painting and shaving away to create these beautiful art pieces. I almost started crying. I saw the power of the human spirit in a way that we can create anything, anything at all. I had a new understanding. I felt renewed.'”
Image of Alicia Keys from her album As I Am.
“To do two things at once is to do neither.” Publilius Syrus, Roman slave, first century B.C.
That quote is from the article The Autumn of the Multitaskers, by Walter Kirn [Nov 2007 Atlantic Monthly; subscription required], which concludes, “Neuroscience is confirming what we all suspect: Multitasking is dumbing us down and driving us crazy…
“Certain studies find that multitasking boosts the level of stress-related hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline and wears down our systems through biochemical friction, prematurely aging us.
“In short term, the confusion, fatigue and chaos merely hamper our ability to focus and analyze, but in the long term, they may cause it to atrophy.
“Multitasking slows our thinking. It forces us to chop competing tasks into pieces, set them in different piles, then hunt for the pile we’re interested in, pick up its pieces, review the rules for putting the pieces back together, and then attempt to do so, often quite awkwardly.
Photo: A student talks on a hands-free cell phone while operating a high-tech driving simulator. The simulator was used during a University of Utah study that found motorists who talk on cell phones while driving are as impaired as drunken drivers. From news story Drivers on Cell Phones Are as Bad as Drunks.
Maybe Simon & Garfunkel were right in their 1966 album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme:
Slow down, you move too fast
You got to make the morning last
Just kicking down the cobblestones
Looking for fun and feeling groovy
~ ~ ~