Look back, face forward

‘Learn from the past’ is an oft-quoted piece of wisdom. ‘Don’t look back, focus on the future’ is another one, despite the fact that the latter totally contradicts the former. So, where does that leave us? Well, as is often the case with slogan-type advice, they both oversimplify a complex situation.

Time is something we generally take for granted as a common sense issue. However, philosophers have long debated the nature of time. For example, in a sense, there is no past or future, there is just the present moment. The past has gone and the future isn’t here yet. You could even argue that the future won’t come, because every day we wake up it is the present moment again and the future is still out of reach. However, this does not mean that past and future are not real.

The past lives on in our memory (the subjective element) and in our surroundings – physical and institutional: buildings, organizations and so on (the objective element). Its influence continues to affect us in a number of ways. There are also many ways in which we can learn from what has happened in the past and what continues to happen because of that past.

The future also exists, not as something that we will ever reach (now will always be now, the present), but as a set of hopes, aspirations and fears that will be shaping our present. Every time we do something, we normally do it for a reason, to achieve something, to make something happen or to prevent something happening. In this sense, the present is constantly being shaped by the future.

So, in reality, the present moment is all that we have as time, but that does not mean that there is no past or future, that they are not real – they exist as powerful influences on our lives, powerfully shaping our experience, our thoughts, feelings and actions. To put it in slightly poetic terms, today is tomorrow becoming yesterday. In this regard, there is much we can learn. Yes, we can learn from the past, as is well recognized, but we can also learn form the future, in the sense that, by being clear about where we are trying to get to, what we are doing with our lives, we can better understand what we are doing now and what we need to do – and that will not only put us in a stronger position for creating the future we want, but also enrich our lives now.

For a long time it was believed that, when we experience a major loss, we need to put that behind us and ‘move on’, we need to ‘let go’ so that we can grieve properly. However, it is now recognized that this is not helpful. Trying to artificially disconnect from the past is not likely to feel real, and is therefore not likely to help. The much more helpful idea of ‘continuing bonds’ means that we can continue our relationship with the person we have lost, but recognize that the relationship will now take a different form. The past is still meaningful for us, but we move forward towards the future understanding what has changed, understanding that the present is now different, and so will the future be.

So, the past is something we can learn and benefit from, and in many ways it remains with us. But, we must also look to the future, because that too is constantly guiding our choices, influencing our feelings and shaping our thoughts. The past and the future are not alternatives to the present; they are very much part and parcel of the present, and we will be much worse off if we lose sight of that.

Suffering can be positive

It is understandable, of course, that we will seek to avoid suffering whenever possible. We look dimly on people who seek to impose suffering on others and regard wanting to inflict suffering on ourselves as a form of pathology. Clearly, suffering Is not something that tends to get seen in a positive light, and quite rightly so.

However, this is not to say that suffering cannot also bring positives in some ways. There are, of course, lessons that can be learned from suffering – not least in relation to how to take steps to avoid such suffering in the future. However, it is important that we approach such lessons in a balanced way. For example, if we have suffered because we have been hurt by someone we thought we could trust who has let us down, we may be tempted to draw out the lesson from this that we should not trust people in future. That sort of reaction would be understandable as a response to the pain we have experienced, but – understandable or not – it would not be a helpful lesson in the longer term, as it would simply not be practicable.

It is a heart response, whereas what we need to do by way of drawing out the lessons to be learned is to make it a response that balances head and heart. So, rather than over-reacting by saying: ‘I am not going to trust anyone ever again’, the more realistic conclusion we can come to is: ‘I am going t be very careful about who I trust in future’.

But it isn’t just by learning how to avoid future hurt that suffering can be positive. It can also help us to appreciate other positives, to tune in to what we have going for us, rather than just get bogged down in what we have going against us. To put it more figuratively, a light will shine much more brightly in a context of darkness than it would in broad daylight. Suffering provides the contrast that highlights the positives.

In these consumerist days where the potential for happiness is so often equated with purchasing power, suffering can help us be more fully aware that material goods mean relatively little in the overall scheme of things. The negativity of suffering can highlight the non-materialistic positives we have in our lives – our relationships, for example.

In this way, we can see suffering as a spiritual matter, a contribution to our sense of who we are and how we fit into the world. This is why it can be so hurtful if someone belittles our suffering, it strikes it the very heart of our being and undermines us.

Suffering can also be a great motivator. Consider, for example, how many people have committed themselves to good causes because of their own suffering. Hospices generally have lots of volunteers who give up their time to help others who are suffering, because they have been there, they have trodden that painful path.

This is not to say that we should seek out suffering or use its positive value as an excuse to inflict it on others – life is such that suffering is never far away, so there is no need for us to create it artificially.


Don’t run away from conflict

Over the years I have run very many training courses on conflict management and a common theme that has emerged right at the start has been a strong tendency for participants to bring with them the idea that conflict can be equated with hostility or even fighting (physically or otherwise). Of course, there is a significant potential link between conflict and these other issues, but it would be a big mistake to see them as one and the same. It is better to understand that hostility is not the same thing as conflict; rather, hostility is what emerges when our efforts to manage conflict have not worked out as we would have hoped. It is perfectly possible to have conflict without even the slightest hint of hostility, aggression or violence – in fact, it is quite normal for this to be the case.

Conflict is where, in a sense, people get in each other’s way. What I am trying to do is being blocked by what someone else is trying to do, or vice versa. It is an everyday occurrence for people to disagree or have conflicting aims or intentions. But – and this is a key point – in the vast majority of situations, we will handle such conflicts very skilfully and effectively. It is only on relatively rare occasions that we will actually fall out about such matters. This is testimony to the fact that we tend to be very effective conflict managers in our everyday lives – just look around you as people interact and it won’t be very long before you see people demonstrating exactly what I mean.

Unfortunately, though, because conflict can cause tension and there is always the potential for it to escalate into hostility and beyond, many people have developed unhelpful defence mechanisms that involve avoiding conflict – running away from it in effect – that can cause significant problems. These problems include the following three:

  • Smouldering If we try to turn our back on conflicts instead of facing them and dealing with them constructively, there is a very real danger that they will smoulder over time, creating considerable ill-feeling, lowering morale and generally being very counterproductive. And, as so often happens, when things smoulder, there is always the risk that they will burst into flames at any moment and do even more damage – often at a very inconvenient moment.
  • Festering Again, it is a matter of failing to face up to conflicts causing significant problems over time. But what differentiates festering from smouldering is that, in this case, there is no bursting into flames, no clearing of the air that allows you to move on and put the conflict behind you. Conflicts that fester rather than smoulder can carry on for weeks, months and even years – causing untold harm throughout that time.
  • Destroying credibility Imagine a manager, say, who is aware of harmful conflict between two members of their staff; everyone knows they are aware of the conflict, but everyone also knows that the manager is doing nothing about it. Just consider for a moment how that manager’s credibility is going to be significantly undermined by their unwillingness to grasp the nettle. And, of course, it is not just managers that this applies to.

Consequently, anyone who runs away from conflict, rather than deal with it, runs the risk of doing great harm through smouldering or festering and is sabotaging their own credibility (and thus their ability to influence people) into the bargain. They are also losing out on all the benefits that come from developing your conflict management skills to the full.

Learn from success as well as failure

It is widely recognised that there is much learning to be gained from reviewing our mistakes, looking at what went wrong and how and why it did. However, what is often given far less attention than it deserves is the immense learning to be gained from what goes right. If we are being successful in most of what we are doing, then we can learn a great deal from asking ourselves what it is that we are doing that is so effective. This can then give us the opportunity to look at how we do it even better, to build on our strong points, rather than just build up our not so strong points.

Mistakes are quite rightly seen as a good source of learning, but focusing too narrowly on the negatives of a situation or our response to it can put what went well out of focus, hidden in the shadows. For example, in a fraught situation involving conflict, the anxiety I feel in such tense circumstances may lead me to say something unwise and ill-considered that unwittingly inflames the conflict, thereby creating the possibility that the person I spoke to may become aggressive or even violent. Making sure that I do not make such unwise comments in future would be a good example of the important learning to be drawn out from getting things wrong. But it can also mask the fact that the person concerned did not become aggressive or violent because I was very skilful in handling the situation, very effective in defusing the additional tension that I unintentionally caused through my unwise comment. Feeling bad about getting something wrong can easily dominate our thoughts and thereby filter out what went well and how our own contributions to that figured so significantly.

This can often be linked to self-esteem too. Someone with low self-esteem is likely to be prone to focus on the negatives, on what they did not do as well as they could, while paying little or no attention to the positives of the situation and what was done well. Equally, some people with high self-esteem may be reluctant to focus on their mistakes, as that creates a conflict with the positive image they have of themselves. It need not be like this, of course – it is perfectly possible to have high self-esteem and still recognise that you are not perfect and will get things wrong from time to time. It is about balance, and at times our own self-esteem issues can knock that balance out of kilter.

This process of learning from what we do well is part of reflective practice, the ‘reflective conversation with the situation’ that Schön wrote about: asking ourselves what is happening, why it is happening and how we can steer things in a positive direction. Through reflective practice we can look at what works and learn about what other situations we might be able to apply that success to. For example, we may realise that what works well with adults won’t work with children or vice versa. But we may also learn that by adapting what works with one group, we can extend it to other groups. Success can then breed further success over time,

It is also important to recognise that sometimes things go well, despite our part in the situation, and so we might be wasting time and energy by focusing our efforts on things that will work out well anyway. Increased awareness of not only what works, but also why it works can therefore be very helpful, so that we can be clear about what our own contribution has been and how we can build on that in future.

Find a balance of challenges

A life without challenges may seem appealing when we are under pressure, but in reality it would be bland, boring, unstimulating and a recipe for a miserable life. However, going to the opposite extreme of having challenges that are too difficult or too numerous can be very problematic. It can be a recipe for stress and worse.

So, what we need to find is a balance of challenges, a level of challenge that does not leave us bored, but nor does it overwhelm us. This is not always easy, but it is certainly worth the effort to achieve that balance whenever we can.

It won’t be a one-off job whereby we achieve that balance and everything is fine thereafter. Life isn’t that simple, of course, as things will continue to change. That balance should therefore be seen as a dynamic one that needs to be managed over time, rather than a fixed point that we have reached.

So, what counts as a suitable balance of challenges will be different at different times. This will depend on a number of factors. For example, our health can make a big difference. What we can easily take in our stride when we are well can prove to be too much when we are under the weather. There will also be emotional factors to consider – for example, someone who is grieving may find even straightforward day-to-day challenges too demanding for a while at least. And, of course, there will be social factors to consider. Someone struggling with poverty may have far less room for manoeuvre for other challenges (although that is not to say that people living in poverty cannot cope with huge challenges, as that is often precisely what poverty brings).

We also have to take into account that what counts for a significant challenge for one person may be nothing of the sort for someone else. An example of this would be public speaking. People who are used to this may find it not the slightest bit challenging and may actually relish it, while people not so accustomed to it may find it one of the most challenging things they will ever do in their lives. Others will find it so demanding that they will never do it, refusing to even consider it as a possibility. Consequently, we have to think carefully about what each of us finds challenging (and how challenging exactly), as what applies to one person won’t necessarily apply to others.

We should also consider the positive side of challenges – they have payoffs as well as pains, benefits as well as costs. Rising to a challenge can boost confidence, earn respect and credibility and open doors for us. It can also give us a sense of satisfaction and real achievement – provided, of course that we are able to keep that balance: not too little, not too much.

A lot will depend on how much support we have access to. Do we face our challenges alone or together? This is also a factor that make a huge difference. Sadly, some people see accepting help or support as a sign of weakness and therefore struggle on alone unnecessarily, missing out on the major benefits of working together and supporting one another.

At the heart of balancing our challenges is self-awareness, being able to tune in to the circumstances we find ourselves in at any given time and weigh up what it is safe to take on and what will risk overloading us. To do that we need to be aware of what our capabilities are and very aware of what is involved in the challenges. We need to have clarity about where those boundaries lie: (i) between too little and just right; and (ii) between too much and just right. In effect, self-awareness should bring us a Goldilocks approach to balancing the challenges we face.

Beware of vicious circles

The term ‘vicious circle’ is one that is often used, but its significance is not always appreciated or fully understood. This is a pity, as it is an important and useful concept, and vicious circles are far more common than people generally realise.

So, what exactly is a vicious circle? Basically, it is when one thing (let’s call it A) has a negative effect on another (B), and then B has a similar negative effect on A, leading to an exacerbation of A and its negative effect on B. And so it goes on, from bad to worse, the negatives of A and B reinforcing each other. The technical way of putting this is that a ‘feedback loop’ has been set up. Some feedback loops are fairly minor and trivial and do relatively little harm. However, some can be very serious and highly destructive. For example, personal or professional relationships can break down, leading to a range of significant ‘knock-on’ problems. Imagine Sam gets annoyed with Chris, so becomes uncommunicative, rather than dealing with whatever the problem was. Chris is annoyed that Sam has become uncommunicative, and so becomes equally uncommunicative in return. This makes Sam even more annoyed, creates a tense and difficult atmosphere and makes life difficult all round. The result is the classic outcome of a vicious circle: the situation not only goes from bad to worse, but also becomes entrenched – with each round of response it becomes more difficult for either Sam or Chris to break out of the cycle. It can therefore continue for weeks, months or even years, doing more and more harm. Long after the original source of annoyance has been forgotten, the vicious circle is continuing to do a great deal of harm.

One of the harmful effects of a vicious circle is that it can affect not only the people directly involved, but also those around them. For example, if Sam and Chris were family members, their vicious circle could have a detrimental impact on all the other family members, and may even lead to family breakdown. If they were co-owners of a company or senior managers in any organization, the net result could be highly problematic for staff and indeed for the organization as a whole and all its stakeholders.

Being able to ‘tune in’ to vicious circles (preferably sooner, rather than later) is therefore a highly desirable attribute to have. So, there is much to be gained from thinking carefully about vicious circles and doing whatever we reasonably can to address them. For example, in situations where there is a conflict, working out whether one or more vicious circles are involved (and it is highly likely that there will be) can be a very useful way forward. This is a skill that can be developed over time, but it begins with making sure we are – and remain – aware of how vicious circles arise and operate.

What can be even better than resolving vicious circles is to find ways of turning them into ‘virtuous circles’. This is where A has a positive effect on B that in turn results in a B having a positive effect on A. instead of going from bad to worse, things go from strength to strength. Of course, creating a virtuous circle is not always possible and rarely easy. However, we should be careful not to rule out the possibility. It involves the same skills as addressing vicious circles, but taking them to a more advanced level – again something that can be achieved over time. The key, of course, is ‘tuning in’, being sensitive enough to work out what is happening, rather than just letting things pass you by.

Connect with music

There are very many people who love music and count it as an important part of their lives. It brings them considerable joy. However, there are far more people who never seem to ‘connect’ with music – it plays little or no part in their lives. This may be because they have yet to come across the type of music that really suits them. For example, somebody who would love smooth jazz who has only ever come across bland pop music and a few bits and pieces of classical music may never fully appreciate what music can offer if they have never encountered what suits them. Similarly, someone who is brought up in a household where smooth jazz is widely played may never come across Mahler’s fifth symphony, even though that may be far more to their liking than what jazz has to offer.

Horses for courses is one way of looking at it, but it is actually far more complex than that. Different types of music work in different ways, but their effect can be different at different times too. For example, there may be times when you could really enjoy something energetic and strongly rhythmical, while at other times, that would just give you a headache. At other times, you may welcome something infused with powerful emotions and be uplifted by it, while, on another occasion, that type of music may be just not what you are ready for at that time.

Part of the problem is that, in our commercialized, materialistic world, music tends to be presented as an entertainment, and often a superficial one at that. But, what if we were to see music as more as a spiritual matter, something that brings meaning to our lives, something that gives us a sense of awe and wonder? What if we were to see music as something that is part of what it means to be human? ‘Soul’ music is on particular genre of music, but perhaps all music is about soul or spirit, albeit not necessarily in a religious sense. Think, for example, about how music can ‘raise our spirits’.

Much will also depend on our cultural background. What is considered beautiful in one culture will not necessarily be so highly valued in another culture. This applies as much to music as to other forms of aesthetics. Similarly, there will be musical subcultures related to different genres. What a regular folk club attendee loves for its simplicity and direct musical appeal may be precisely what someone who loves complex multi-layered music finds decidedly unappealing. In addition, cultures and subcultures change over time. Early rock music that at the time was seen by many as ‘just a noise’ and rejected as ‘not proper music’ is now described as ‘classic rock’ and highly revered by a wide range of people, including many who rejected it first time round.

Cultures bring people together, but they also create barriers and boundaries. What musical cultures can do is isolate us from other types of music. A blues aficionado may not even consider listening to progressive rock, while a lover of the classics may be closed off from what the blues can offer. There is therefore much to be gained by being open to new musical experiences and not just sticking to what we know best and feel most comfortable with.

And, of course, what is really important is that we actually listen to the music, giving it our full attention. In these days of bland muzak in the background, for far too many people, hearing music is a superficial exercise – it is indeed a matter of hearing, rather than listening.  Some forms of musical expression are acquired tastes and need to be listened to carefully before they can be appreciated. Sadly, in our hurried, pressurised world, many people will never know the beauty and value of music, because they will never fully connect with it. The great irony here is that what music offers can, to a large extent, be an antidote to the dissatisfactions of that pressurised world.

Avoid the money trap

Capitalist economies work on the basis of constant consumption. To keep the wheels of the economy turning people need to keep spending money. So, companies need to keep coming up with new things for us to buy, new fads and fashions, new technological gizmos and so on. Alongside this is the tendency for success in life to be measured in material terms – not just the size of one’s bank balance, but also signs of what has come to be known as ‘conspicuous consumption’. This involves displaying symbols of wealth and standing: expensive cars, designer clothes, being seen out in the most expensive restaurants, and so on. Of course, these two phenomena are not separate. This is because all this conspicuous consumption keeps the economy going, and, in turn, much of the media message put across is that wealth can bring happiness: spending money is good for you, so the more money you have, the happier you can be.

The reality, of course, is very different from the rhetoric. While having lots of money can no doubt bring many advantages, there are at least two flaws in the consumerist logic. First, as human beings, we are highly adaptive creatures. So, the more money you have, the more you get used to it, the more you adapt. For example, if you occasionally have a treat of the finest foods, you can really appreciate what they offer. But, once the finest foods become your staple diet, you soon find that they lose much of their appeal. We have adjusted to the new situation; it has become normal. This is part of the reason why wealth can bring greed. Once you adapt to the new situation, you want more, you want something new and exciting – something more expensive perhaps.

Second, there are many important things in life that money can’t buy, of course. Focusing all our attention on material rewards can not only give us a distorted picture of what is likely to bring happiness, but also stand in the way of that happiness. What I am thinking of in particular is the way in which materialist ambitions can create problems. Consider, for example, the marriage that breaks up because one or both partners is focusing so much on promotion and career success or on building their business that they are neglecting their family life. Consider also the children who grow up not feeling loved because one or both parents struggle to express their love except in materials terms – gifts, holidays, expensive meals out. Nice though these things might be, they are, of course, no substitute for a genuine, heartfelt expression of love.

Sadly, there are also many people – far too many, in fact – who are well paid, but who gain little or no satisfaction from their work. I have always respected a friend of mine who was promoted and was therefore paid more than before. However, she got far less job satisfaction in her new job and therefore returned to her old, less well-paid job at the earliest opportunity. I wonder how many people would be much happier in a less well-paid job that brings them more job satisfaction. Very, very many, I suspect.

There is much talk these days of spirituality, although much of it is superficial and simplistic, not doing justice to the complex issues involved. ‘Spirit’ is linked to the idea of breath, what keeps us alive and, by extension, what gives our lives meaning. If all that gives our lives meaning are money and materialism, then, however financially rich we may be, we are in fact very spiritually impoverished. Some people are so fixated in financial gain that they cannot see the benefits of so many other things that can offer far more than money in the bank or a flash car on the drive.


Give (and allow others to give)

When people are described as ‘selfish’ there is usually an element of having a preference for receiving over giving. That is, they are seen as much more interested in taking than giving. In a very real sense, selfishness is the opposite of generosity. From a moral point of view, being regarded as generous would normally be perceived as better than being seen as selfish, giving as morally superior to taking.

Indeed, much of the appeal of certain jobs will be down to the opportunity to give – jobs in health care, social services, education and so on. Making a contribution to others can give us a sense of satisfaction, can boost our self-esteem and even provide a sense of spiritual fulfilment. It could be argued that many people’s lives are spiritually unfulfilled because their work does not give the opportunity to give, to contribute and to help – or perhaps the opportunities are there, but the culture, circumstances or leadership style stand in the way of capitalising on them.

Not much debate then: giving is good. But, is it that simple? Is that all there is to it? A firm ‘no’ is the short answer. The reason I say this is that there is a very real danger that focusing on our own giving can actually stand in the way of allowing others to give and to feel useful. For example, older people are often denied the opportunity to be helpful, and this can reinforce a sense of being useless, of having nothing to contribute. It is well captured in the phrase ‘killing with kindness’. Consider this (real) example from my experience that is sadly reminiscent of many such situations:

A community nurse visits an older woman in her own home. The older woman wants her guest to feel welcome, and so she says to the nurse: ‘Would you like a cup of tea?’ The nurse gets up and heads towards the kitchen, saying as she goes: ‘It’s all right love, I’ll do it. Where do you keep your teabags?’ The older woman sits fuming at the way her effort to be a welcoming hostess and to feel useful has been snatched from her. No doubt, the nurse had no intention of causing a problem. She thought that what she was doing was being helpful. It was not.

The technical term for this is ‘reciprocity’, the importance of giving as well as receiving, helping as well as being helped. Denying someone reciprocity is not helpful, even when people are doing it with good intentions. Many older people face this all the time; finding ways to feel useful becomes harder the older we get.

But it isn’t just older people that this applies to. I have come across managers who micro-manage their staff, telling them what to do at each step, rather than allowing them to work things out for themselves, grow and develop, become more confident and feel proud of the contribution they are making. There is not much pride, confidence or job satisfaction to be gained from simply doing what your boss tells you. Unfortunately, this style of management, what I call ‘backseat driving’, is common in cultures that have become risk averse. Instead of having a balanced attitude towards risk, many workplaces now have an unhealthy level of anxiety about risk. This is one of the main driving forces for ‘backseat driving’ behaviour. The irony is that ‘playing it safe’ about risk is a dangerous approach, as it means that having a balanced view becomes impossible, and that then introduces new risks because of the distortions involved.

And, of course, one of those risks is that reciprocity is denied, with all the problems that entails. So, while giving is certainly good, allowing others to give is also good, and we have to be careful that we are not unwittingly blocking this in our attempts to be kind or in our overly cautious approach to risk.

Slow down

Life can happen in a blur if we let it. Doing things quickly can easily become the norm, adding extra – generally unnecessary – pressure to our already fairly pressurised lives. As is so often the case with life’s challenges, what can easily arise is a vicious circle that we can get trapped in. We feel under pressure so we do things quickly. Our lives then become less satisfying, so we try to squeeze more in (rather than relish what we already have); to fit more in we have to do things more quickly, and that makes us feel more pressurised. The more pressurised we feel, the greater the temptation to do things quickly. And there we are, locked in, and we will then find it a struggle to get out.

A clear and important example of this is eating. Most people do not savour their food, they do not get maximum pleasure and satisfaction from it. People grab something quickly for breakfast, perhaps, in a rush to get to work or school or to get to the day’s tasks. Similarly, for many people, lunch is a quick sandwich, often while they are doing something else at the same time. And evening meals are often not as leisurely and enjoyable as they could be.

But things are beginning to change. More and more people are appreciating the benefits of eating slowly. More people are recognizing that there is little point having tasty food if it disappears from your mouth without your having had the opportunity to appreciate the flavour. Food can be swallowed without being chewed properly, which is not only a recipe for indigestion problems, but also a waste of culinary pleasure.

But food is just one example of this tendency to do things faster than necessary, just so that we can rush on to the next thing we are going to do quickly. I have earlier pointed out that rushing is not generally a wise strategy, but this does not mean that we should go to the opposite extreme of wasting time dawdling. It is, of course, a matter of achieving a helpful balance.

If you are one of the people who tends to move swiftly from one thing to another, thereby denying yourself the opportunity to savour the moment, whether that is savouring the food or any other aspects of our lives, slowing down can make a big positive difference. How often do people put music on, but not actually listen to it, because their minds are already racing on to the next thing? How often are people involved in conversations that they are not actually listening to?

Many people will claim that they have to do things quickly, because they do not have time to do them slowly: ‘I don’t have time’ is the common refrain, but, of course, in reality, time is the only thing we do have. And so the wisdom of not savouring that time is therefore very questionable. Indeed, if we ask ourselves what it is that we are so keen to get to that we can’t savour our lives in the process, the answer must be – stark though it may seem – death.

So, should you spend your life hanging around ‘savouring the moment’? No, of course not, that is certainly not what I am advocating. That would involve going from one unhelpful extreme to another. It is more a case of asking ourselves: Do we have to be doing things quite so quickly? Should we perhaps be better tuned in to the idea of ‘more haste, less speed’? Enjoy your food more; enjoy your life more. Ge the balance right.