What Does (and Doesn’t) Happen When You Hurry

You may think that what follows is mere wordplay, but it is more than that. Don’t hurry; pay attention.

It is too easy to hurry — to be in a rush, to live in haste. I feel I spent decades of my life doing nothing but hurrying. Modern life encourages and rewards it. Some would say that life requires you to hurry: he who hesitates is lost, or at least doesn’t get promoted.

So what’s the problem with “hurry”? It’s that when you hurry, you aren’t here. You aren’t present in what you’re doing because you’re hurrying — your mind is on the multiple things that also need doing.

Strangely, the word “harried” is connected to “hassled”, not “hurried”. And yet the “harried”, defined as “beset by problems”, is still linked to “hurried”. We hurry because we’re hassled by the prospect of not getting everything done in one day. Every pending task is a problem that besets us. Together, all these problems make us feel anxious.

You can learn something by looking at hurry’s opposite, “attend”. I attend to my partner’s mood. You attend a meeting. A rock star’s entourage attends to her every need. All of these are forms of attention, and attention takes time. When you are hurried, you are not paying attention to what’s happening now. You’re not really present in the present.

Be in the present. Because if you’re not here, your life is lost. Because right now is the only place that life can be lived.

Be where you are.

When you rush, you don’t see, you don’t notice, you don’t be



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Gregg Williams, MFT

Gregg Williams, MFT


Retired therapist. Married 26 years. Loves board games, deep movies. Boundless curiosity about everything. Over 13,600 people are following my articles.