In praise of Slow and the Beautiful Game: tempo not speed…


My heart and mind warmed to one of the latest posts by the always excellent Farnam Street. t is called In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed.

What else can be added? Lots, for such a good reasoning is fertile and worth taking in different directions and perspectives.

In essence Mr. Shane Parrish quotes a number of sources and says: if you go too fast you have little time to think and that means poor decisions.

Let’s take football: today it has become a fast game, even the gifted ones with superior ball control run like elks, take CR7. He is a videogame turned reality and a delight of psychomotor skills, see, run, breeze through the opponent.

Do you think you need to be just as fast to counter him? Wrong.

Fabio Cannavaro even in his late days was a nemesis for CR7. Why? CR7 is very predictable if you just watch what he does and you have the body of an athlete to respond to it. Fabio grew up in the streets of Naples, he watched and knew what to do. He just did it with the right “tempo”.

And that is the point, you do not need to go fast all the time to be fast when it is needed.

An the irony is that human thinking is a very fast process per se, a split second of thinking can analyse a situation and figure out many courses of action, anticipate their consequences and make better decisions.

Even when everyone else around is running around like headless chicken or playing the ball tiki taka style (R. Kipling still very, very relevant), if you are brave enough to claim that thinking, breathing space, that is when you can figure out the piece of magic that will make history.

But then your name is Diego Maradona or Mariolino Corso, “God’s left foot”, somebody who never needed to run too much to be in the right place at the right time.

How many goals by CR7 will the whole world remember in 30 years? How many people still remember Maradona’s goal from the halfway line against England in 1986?

In a beautiful documentary called “The Beautiful Game” Garrincha, possibly the most beautiful player to watch in history (ironically he had a limp) said the football player in Brazil used to be a dançarino, dancing to the music of the game. And a beautiful dance, or a beautiful game for that matter, is not one that is fast all the time. It happens when pace changes from slow to flowing to fast to slow again, adagio, andante, allegro, crescendo

What if we did that next time we tackle our working day or the next project or even when we walk to the Tube from the office? Surely there would be less attrition, quite probably we would feel as if we got home quicker and in fact we would, ask Mr. Einstein and Mons. Bergson for confirmation…


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