Make Haste Slowly

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We all know of someone who is quietly efficient. There is not much fuzz around this person. Yet somehow things are done. Sometimes big things are accomplished. We will also know of people who achieve against the odds. Meeting deadlines by pulling all the stops. Doing things in a big way. There is a quote I used to recite with relish. ‘Some people make things happen, some watch things happen, some wonder what happened.’ I wanted to be one of those people who made things happen. Not watch and certainly not wonder what happened. I thought it was about being responsible and being accountable. Therefore, I needed to take charge, to move things, move mountains if need be.

Growing up poor, my parents used to say, “If you don’t work hard, you will be on the streets.” This would become an underlying push. The way out was to create. Make something. Even from nothing. And to count on myself. That if it was to be, it was up to me. If it was going to happen, I would have to make it happen. This idea became hard-wired in me. I needed to be resourceful, to show results. I would not be one of those people who talked and did not deliver. I was man in a hurry. I did not suffer fools easily. I was impatient. I could hardly wait. ‘Whoever is in a hurry shows that the thing he is about is too big for him.’ This saying would not have resonated.

Looking at how my life has evolved, and at a movie I have been developing for a few years, I am starting to see that everything needs its own time and space. We need to allow somethings to take on a life of their own. And if we have faith, to help breathe life into the things we do. Then let them grow. I guess this is what is meant by being nurturing. ‘Make Haste Slowly.’ This phrase could not have made sense when I was younger. I am only starting to grasp this approach at a later stage in life. Maybe we can only fully internalize it when we have gone through enough experiences to the contrary.

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I set up my own marketing company before I turned 30. I set up the SBC Radio sales team, the TCS TV marketing communications division, founded the first full-fledged movie company. I took on the ultimate job, a film producer. The person responsible for making a movie happen. I started producing movies in an environment when there was hardly a semblance of a film industry. I strived and thrived on isolated successes and accolades. I had a legendary temper. My reputation preceded me. I thought it was the price to pay for getting things done.

Then I hit the wall. Try as I would, things just did not happen. My projects could not take off. Or I would have to allow them more and more time. The delays were expensive and debilitating. I was helpless. Was I losing my touch? Or having a streak of bad luck? Were the stars not aligned? Did I need a new feng shui master? I never asked if I was trying too hard, holding too tight or pushing too far. I only knew there was a deadline for everything I undertook. No one wanted to be the bad guy. I had to be the hatchet man.

Someone once told me, “If you really need to hurry, then hurry slowly.” Everything has its own journey. Everything will run its own course. We really cannot hurry anything at all. While we can make things happen, sometimes we need to just let things be. Let things happen. Let things happen to us for a change! For someone like me, this was of course a new concept. But it was enlightening. And if I allow it, it could be game changer. I may understand it late. Better late than never. There is a time for everything. It is time for me to embrace it.

‘Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.’ – Lao Tzu

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