Are You Really Slow or Are You a Fastoholic?

Have you ever known anyone that has stopped smoking, for example, and suddenly become the most rabid and outspoken antismoker?

When we stop doing something we often slingshot in the opposite direction, we go from one extreme from the other. This is rarely anything to do with the possible addictive nature of the behaviour that has changed (smoking and drinking are the most common examples), but to do with how the person identifies with that behaviour. Often the people who become rabidly anti-something (that they used to do) are the ones that still identify themselves with the behaviour they are now no longer allowing themselves (often for very good reasons) to do. A rabid ex-smoker, for example, will often still consider themselves a smoker, just one who doesn’t smoke. No wonder they are frustrated! They become judgemental and outspoken because, well, why should you enjoy it when they can’t any more?

Fastoholics are people have changed their lifestyle, sold the car (or got a Prius), embraced whole-food, the whole nine yards, but BOY do they want you to know about it! They become po-faced, pious and judgemental. Why? Because they still crave the old fast life, they are only slowing down because they think they should and going about it completely the wrong way. They are still “hare-brained”, they still identity with the old fast life and secretly miss it. They may have changed their external world, but haven’t made the effort to change the way they think about themselves or identify with their behaviour.

Slowing down really does come from the inside out, before you even think about changing your lifestyle, you need to change your relationship with that lifestyle; how you think and feel about. In essence, you need to change your identity. You must consider yourself “tortoise-minded”, not just a “hare-brained” person who has happened to slow down.

Take minimalism for example (a very hot topic right now). Extreme minimalism often seems to be a knee jerk reaction to clutter, like a junkie going cold turkey. It almost becomes a competition about who can own the least. It is much more useful (and healthy) to change your relationship with stuff before you just chuck it all in the bin. The cold turkey approach rarely works and you will just end up regretting your decisions (and very quickly start to horde things again).

Unfortunately most people I meet who claim to be slow are really just Fastoholics. People who are trying to give the impression (for whatever reason) that they have slowed down, but their mind is still racing. Fastoholics are reactive, they just change their external world in response to their unhappiness with their relationship to it.

Tortoise minded people are proactive and take the time to explore, understand and change their relationship with their external world. When you do this, you will find your behaviour and lifestyle will just start to change naturally, without needing to force it.

Matt