To Live Well, It’s Important to Slow Down

What I’m about to tell you is something that tends to get lost to many in our sphere. It’s something that I have struggled with, but it’s a mindset that the top gentlemen in our ranks have mastered through dedication.

Yesterday was quite the day, though it could have been to my NTJ mind boring beyond all belief in other contexts.

Donald Trump had released his new book, Crippled America, and was holding a press conference and book signing at Trump Tower. I probably headed there too late and should have gone earlier, because the turnout was huge (or is it YUGE?) and I had to go to the back of the line that stretched around the far end of the block. Maybe I shouldn’t have been, but I was surprised at the amount of support in the heart of liberal media country, Midtown Manhattan.

Fortunately I was with a friend, so I had someone to talk to, but all the same, it was a situation that I hate – standing around doing comparatively nothing and waiting. Of course, it wasn’t nothing since I had a friend to talk to (there’s that “E” before the NTJ), but forget about that for now.

Nevertheless, I was telling myself to just appreciate the moment. It was a beautiful day and unseasonably warm at 70 degrees. I looked great in my velvet blazer, suede shoes, gentlemanly jeans, and lavender shirt. Not to brag, but I was probably the best-dressed man in our vicinity at least, which is something I always attempt to be, especially if I was going to meet The Donald. I also wanted to contrast to the social justice warriors that I thought might show up with their unkempt beards, thick-rimmed glasses, and blue hair. Unfortunately, that did not occur.

I looked around, using my natural inclinations for observation. I saw that there were a lot of attractive women around that often came into the cafe in Trump Tower and made a mental note to come back there later for more mundane occasions. I smirked at the occasional naysayers.

I probably waited in line for two and a half hours, and my legs started to get a bit tired after around the first two, but I didn’t let anything bother me. I could have gone mad in other contexts, and probably would have if I wasn’t meeting Donald Trump, but I just focused on the little things in the meantime – the crowd, the elegance of the Midtown buildings, the women coming and going, and making jokes with my friend (the most memorable one was about how Jeb’s wife might have turned him on when they first met: “there’s just something about the way your troll doll body looks when you’re scrubbing the toilet…”).

Enjoying some of these small things and not thinking too much about the future can slow you down and make you not worry.

One of the biggest problems I think that face people, in particular us NT types (and NTJ types in even more particular) is that our biggest strength – thinking about the future – and strategizing – can also work as our biggest weakness. Thinking about the future too much, especially at a decisive moment, can simply create more anxiety (which is why it’s very important to have an opener ready when you want to talk to a girl – so that’s what you’re thinking about instead of possible futures).

Constantly thinking about the future can spur you to get results and make the right decisions, but doing it too much can set you back based on unfounded fears or senses of urgency and make you quit.

Analysis Paralysis | The Masculine Epic

I can give another example.

A week ago, I approached a girl for the first time in a few weeks. My opportunities have been slight (for some reason, this past October was not as good as October 2014), and I began to worry that I was losing “my touch.” What if I would lose the skill?

The approach went well, and I almost didn’t make it, based on my beliefs that she might not be open or my own “skill loss.”

It shows that when you master the basics of any skill, most of what comes after is largely instinctive.

Point being, my fears were once again out of touch with reality.

What is the usefulness with regards to thoughts of the future? What is the proper balance? I think the good is in thinking about what you’re going to do and how, and the bad is thinking about what might happen.

Of course the latter is very relevant and merits attention if your fear is based on legitimate evidence, but most of the time the fear is an invention of the mind.

Here’s how you can tell the former from the latter – at Trump Tower yesterday, security was not letting in anyone that didn’t have an orange wristband, which I for some reason did not get when I bought the book. That was a legitimate, concrete concern. Fortunately, I thought and anticipated fast, and a gentleman who emerged from the building gave me his. That is the way to go about thinking about the future.

Thinking that a girl “won’t be open” is often a case of  unfounded fear based on nothing but mental invention. Of course, if a girl is walking brusquely and tapping on her phone intensely, it usually means she’s not open (which is a good piece of evidence). That’s relatively rare, however.

The key is to find the distinction.

But this is all a difficult process to master, particularly for us NT types who love to analyze and gather as much information as we can. You must therefore, if you fall into that particular category of person who is always analyzing, always trying to find an angle, addicted to taking in information and deciding on the best course of action, learn to slow down.

What do I mean by this?

I don’t know about you, but it often feels like my brain is on overdrive, taking in information and sorting it out in microseconds. This prompts that voice in my head to ask me to make a decision. Again, this can be greatly advantageous in some situations, but detrimental in others. If I’m worrying about the future in this way, I can sacrifice the present.

A woman can walk away.

I might miss out on a deal because I’m worried about what might be.

I might wind up not taking any action at all because I’m in a confused state.

Since my mind is on overdrive, the very opportunity I’ve been working to get slips me by.

So what have I done to “slow down” during these times?

The important thing to realize is that you cannot stop these feelings of urgency that arise from the need to make decisions and create structure. You may even feel bad that you have them when you know you shouldn’t. Don’t worry about it, that’s simply your personality. You can’t control what feelings you get but you can control what you do with them.

If you’re starting to feel unwelcome feelings of fear or urgency, just acknowledge that they are there and do what you’re doing anyway. Notice the color of the leafs on the nearest tree. Look at what people are wearing, look for something to take a picture of, look at the words on your page and go back to your book. Or just get up and start moving.

Slow Down Central Park Autumn | The Masculine Epic

The bottom line is to not dwell on these artificial feelings of urgency. Slow down. Accept them and create another moment.

When I was in line waiting to meet The Donald, I was for some reason worried that I would be there until dark, even though I knew that this would not be the case and that even if it was, so what? I put a clamp on the unfounded urgency by looking at the women nearby and the architecture of the tower, as well as talking to my friend and some of the other people on that long line, who amused us (though not always in the best way).

Trump Tower | The Masculine Epic

So if you’re feeling fears, feeling urgency, feeling stressed based on something unfounded, something that you know is entirely in your mind, remember to first accept those thoughts and feelings, and then redirect them by either moving or focusing on the details of the moment. What you fear is almost always out of touch with reality.

I am of course a long way away from mastering this, and it will take me a very long time. Perhaps I won’t ever manage to do it. But I can make it better, and I have to a limited extent. I’m just trying to follow Tokyo Joe’s advice linked at the top to the best of my ability, and remembering that these small actions every day make a man what he is.

Instead of thinking about the future when not appropriate, I’m trying to slow down and live in the now.

If you want further insight on this, one of The Masculine Epic’s sponsors, Betterhelp, specializes in this area, and paid me a fee to bring it to your attention (though all opinions are of course my own). If you’ve found yourself stressed by thinking too far ahead, Betterhelp’s massive stress reduction resource might be able to help you.

I’ll close with an amusing video from an old favorite that nevertheless gets the point across, if you watch all of it:

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