You don’t have to work faster
…or be “further” along
Hey there —
Today is a momentous occasion. (Prepares party poppers.)
It’s the 100th edition of Snail Mail!
As we celebrate this milestone, we are incredibly grateful for each and every one of you (aka our Slow Pokes).
Like Simona, who recently reached out to tell us that Snail Mail is the “first and only newsletter that I read from start to finish. I even make some notes from it to encourage myself to live more happily and fulfilled.”
And Brooke, who told us that Snail Mail “reminds me why it’s so important to keep moving forward despite life’s challenges.”
These are the exact reasons we created Snail Mail — to bring you bite-sized insights and encouragement to help you reach your goals and create a life you truly love.
Thanks for your trust and for sharing this journey with us (we literally would not be here without you)!
We’re honored and excited to continue to be part of your weekly rhythm. Here’s to many more “aha!” moments, gif-fueled laughs, and slow-and-steady progress. 🦥
The Slow Growth Team
Now, onto today’s newsletter!
Have you ever looked at the vision you set for your life and thought to yourself, “I really thought I’d be further along by now?”
Unfortunately, not all goals or dreams work out on our preferred timelines. And the longer it takes, the easier it is to get discouraged and feel like we’re racing against the clock. ⏳
As a result, we often pressure ourselves to work faster to put out more videos, write a new manuscript, or come up with our next great business idea.
We set strict deadlines we hope will spur us toward success in the next 30 days, six months, or a year. Or we panic as our 20’s turn into our 30’s and we feel like we’re falling behind our more successful peers.
It’s true that deadlines can be a great source of motivation to do the work and let go of our perfectionistic tendencies.
It’s also true that great creativity can happen under immense time pressure. (Like NASA Mission Control designing a life-saving air filter for the crew of Apollo 13, using only materials available onboard the damaged shuttle. 🚀)
But the vast majority of us aren’t creating under actual emergency circumstances (even if we’re good at convincing ourselves otherwise 🚨).
And whether it’s the external pressure of an actual due date or the internal pressure to accomplish something by a certain age, pushing ourselves to work faster could actually be damaging our creativity.
A 2002 study that examined employees’ abilities to be creative against the clock found that, in most circumstances, the higher the time-pressure, the lower the ability to think creatively — not just in the moment, but for an extended period of time.
“More time pressure on a certain day [also] meant less creative thinking that day, the next day, and the day after that. In other words, whether because of exhaustion or enduring postpressure cognitive paralysis, our study participants seemed to experience a ‘pressure hangover’ that lasted a couple of days at least.”
Deadlines have their place, but feeling guilty for not doing “more” and bullying yourself to work faster isn’t the answer to attaining your goals.
Not only are you piling on the creativity-stifling pressure, but you’re forgetting an important truth: there is no “right” speed at which to accomplish your goals.
How quickly you reach your goals is influenced by so many unique-to-you factors — some of which will be in your control…and a whole lot that aren’t.
While it’s tempting to look at creators who regularly pump out quality content and assume faster is better, there are plenty of success stories on both sides of the speed spectrum. (R.L. Stine may be able to whip out a Goosebumps novel in two weeks, but Donna Tartt took eleven years to write her Pulitzer prize-winning novel, The Goldfinch.)
Lastly, if you’re worried that your dreams or talents have an expiration date, consider that Samuel L. Jackson got his first major film role at the age of 42 and women’s BMX trailblazer Kittie Weston-Knauer is still racing bikes at 75.
So instead of obsessing over the clock and setting harsh deadlines for yourself, focus on the small actions you can take every day to move toward your goals.
Trust that with time (even if it’s longer than you’d like) all your hard work will add up — and pay off.
And know that your work will ultimately be better because you chose to embrace the journey and set a sustainable pace. 🤗
Why we create
by Peter McKinnon
This moving three-minute video from Peter McKinnon beautifully encapsulates why we keep creating, even when it’s hard.
You never know who’s watching and just how great of an impact you may be making on someone’s life.
To all the creators out there: thanks for sharing yourselves and your art with us. And to our audience: thanks for reading and watching. ❤️
Here’s why you should make a habit of having more fun
by April Fulton
Which do you think is more important — pursuing happiness or pursuing fun?
Psychologist Mike Rucker believes that fun — as something we can do — may actually be more valuable than seeking happiness (a goal which is sometimes more abstract than actionable).
In this article, Rucker and science journalist Catherine Price highlight the importance of cutting loose, how it can counteract stress, and some ways you can build more fun into your life. 🥳
The Nostalgia Machine
By The Nostalgia Machine
You know that feeling you get when a song comes on the radio (or your Spotify playlist) and you’re immediately transported back into a specific memory? There’s a website for that.
Just enter a year, and with the click of a button, The Nostalgia Machine will serve up a selection of tunes to take you back in time.
Go ahead. Party like it’s 1999. 🎸
📰 From the Snail Mail Archives
Continue the 100th Snail Mail celebration by revisiting some of our most popular issues!
Written by Ashley Martin
Edited by Matt D'Avella