So here goes …. (a summary is posted at my mini-blog)
Note: The principles, as appear in the heading of each paragraph below in the format "(x) over (y)", are to be read as "Value and prioritize (x) over (y)" and "Let (x) govern (y)". It does not mean that per se (y) is bad and undesirable, but that there is a higher good over (y) and that is (x), and that (y) should not be pursued at the cost of (x). Business schools today are mostly focused on encouraging (y) and seldom, if at all, even mention (x) as a priority. And never as a governing principle over (y).
Assimilation over Growth - We are always looking for growth, and that's a good thing. We want to grow, and fast. Very soon, we find ourselves chasing 'Big Hairy Audacious Growth', and at that point, we have already started to go downhill, from a long term perspective, though we may not realize it immediately. We need to pause a bit, and assimilate the growth that we have already undergone, just as while eating our favourite food, we learn to eat moderately sized morsels, chew on them, and pause every once in a while. Gorging recklessly on food can only cause indigestion. A wise friend of my father-in-law (and a famous film personality) once told him (in Hindi, which I am translating here): "Eat less, eat more. Eat more, eat less". When asked, he explained this as follows - if you eat less, you can live longer and thus eat more. But if you eat more, you will fall sick and die a premature death and therefore you would have eaten less. Let us spend adequate time to assimilate the fruits of growth, as we grow towards a better world.
Pace over Expediency - Speed is good, and I love it. But speed can kill, as we realize soon. We tend to glamourize speed and impatience. There's a commercial on TV these days for a telecom carrier, that glorifies the 'impatient generation', which is constantly hankering for more speed and better response time. While better response time is a good thing in telecom and technology, the general glorification of speed and impatience sends the wrong message to an already misguided mind-set. There is a certain pace which works best for moving things along. Go any faster and you're already sowing the seeds of failure and destruction. We must learn to find the 'right' pace at which to do things. Einstein, when he was repeatedly called upon to explain his complex theories in plain English, said he could only try to "make things as simple as possible, but not simpler". If he simplified it beyond a point, then it wouldn't be the same thing. Oversimplification runs the risk of distorting the meaning of a truth till it becomes a falsehood. Let's apply the same principle to speed, albeit with some paraphrasing - do things at the 'right' pace, not faster. As to the question of what is the 'right' pace, there is no single answer, and life is too complex for us to create a heuristic that is universally applicable for all activities and all initiatives. Here's where we need to embrace the principle in spirit rather than letter. I can only suggest a broad guideline and that is - the right pace is the slowest speed at which something can get done. Any slower than that will not meet your goals. So, do things as slowly as possible but not slower. This is the polar opposite of what we tend to do - we look for the fastest speed at which we can get things done as per the dictum 'don't put off for tomorrow what you can do today and don't put off for later what you can do now'. I disagree. Do not clutter up your 'now' with things that can wait for later. There is already too much happening in the 'now'. Let 'right pacing' govern speed, for a better world. The 'slow' movement is a good initiative in this regard and I support it wholeheartedly.