Obstacles Come With Going Fast

As I was zipping through the crowds mingling in Munich’s city center, hoping to meet my friend on time, the usual went through my head: “Why is this guy walking so slowly? Does this lady not know where she’s going? This feels like wading through mud!”

One of the lessons I learned during my 10,000-steps-a-day experiment was that walking is one of the activities we most commonly approach with the wrong mindset on both ends of the spectrum: We dawdle when we’re just trying to get from A to B, yet we rush when we’re out with the family for a Sunday afternoon stroll. If only we made the distinction ahead of time — is this walk to be efficient or enjoyed? — we’d make some great strides when it comes to traversing the world on foot.

That day, however, more than six years later, I learned a follow-up lesson: Regardless of whether everyone else walks slowly for the right or wrong reasons, if you’re walking faster than the average, by definition, most people will end up in your way. Therefore, it is on you to navigate around them. It’s a natural responsibility we incur when we choose to go fast, and we should simply handle it rather than complain about it.

This applies to far more than walking, of course. If you finish The Great Gatsby while the rest of your class is still on chapter three, you’ll have to find a way to pass the time meaningfully without upsetting other people’s pace. If you build a million-dollar company within a few years while your college friends stay at the same jobs, you’ll need to pick different conversation topics or find new friends. And when you’re the fastest cyclist on the tour, unless you can find a way to pass everyone safely in each stage, that speed won’t amount to a victory.

Whether it’s your brain, your bank account, or your legs that run off while everyone else is trailing behind, remember: Obstacles rarely block your path on purpose. They simply come with going fast. Your speed is your responsibility — and so is not bumping into anyone on your way to the finish line.