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I Think I Have the Post Jazz Fest Blues

8 May 2019

As we all know, Jazz Fest 2019 ended this past weekend. Monday, after four straight days of music and festivity, I discovered I had a case of the Post Jazz Fest Blues.

I don’t think you’ll find PJFB listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association, as it is an Eric Rigby-invented malady. But I’ll wager I’m not the only sufferer.

So, I endeavored to refresh myself, and get ready for a productive work week by focusing on new ideas. At lunchtime, I started listening to a podcast by Shane Parrish – The Knowledge Project. Mr. Parrish also has a weekly newsletter, The Farnum Street Blog, to which I subscribe. The blog contains summaries of the week’s news items and readings he thinks may be of interest, and comes out on Sundays. Farnum Street is the street in Omaha, Nebraska, on which Berkshire-Hathaway, founded by Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, is located.

In this particular podcast episode of The Knowledge Project, Mr. Parrish was interviewing Jason Fried, founder of Basecamp, a developer of project management software.

You can adjust the playback speed on the podcast – from 1x (normal) to 2x (twice as fast). So, I started to speed it up to 2x, figuring that getting the ideas into my head faster had to be better. That makes sense, doesn’t it?

Then, I stopped myself. What was my hurry? Why was I rushing to get through this? What was the real purpose of “faster?”

Why do some of us have so many impulses to rush? What are we hoping to achieve by hurrying?

I’m an avid reader for pleasure, though as tax season comes to a boil I always have to put books aside for a while. Getting back into it after April 15, I am currently reading The Girls of Paris, by Pam Jenoff, who received her juris doctor from the University of Pennsylvania and her masters degree in history from Cambridge University. The novel focuses on English women, working as spies and radio operators during World War II in German-occupied France.

I thought of this book as I asked those questions of myself. I could not imagine attempting to rush through the book – for me, rushing is the enemy of reading for enjoyment. I like to absorb the plot, the characters, the book’s atmosphere, as thoroughly as possible. And, if rushing is antithetical to thoroughness, why was I rushing to gobble up new ideas as fast as I could? I don’t think I should have done that, and am glad I stopped myself.

Not that there aren’t materials we can skim and speed-read through, appropriately. But if thoroughness, either of enjoyment or understanding of new knowledge, is the goal, skimming and speeding won’t get us there.

If you find yourself “hurrying to get nowhere,” what do you do to slow yourself down?

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