top of page
  • Writer's pictureMaruta Ignatoviča

The world won't stop if you take a pause

Before we start, I'm asking you to close your eyes and take a deep, deep inhale. Hold it for three seconds, and then do a long exhale. Feel your chest rising as you inhale and your sholders drop as you exhale.

Got it? Let's go!

Today I want to talk about taking a pause. I fell in love with the concept after reading Robert Poynton's book "Do Pause".

We live in a world where speed is good. It's important we're fast, cool and productive. We say things like "I'll sleep when I'm dead" or "Sleep is for the weak". It's all about efficiency - our LinkedIn feeds are full of productivity tips and TikTok teaches young girls how to become That Girl - the one with the perfect body and perfect routine.

The author shares a story from his life where he was visited by his relatives. They took a walk in the mountains and he noticed they kept stopping. Or more precisely - he realised he has stopped stopping. He was so used to walking to the top of the mountain and focusing on getting there as fast as possible, the walk had become a goal. But what's the point of a mountain walk, if you don't enjoy the view?

We compare ourselves to gadgets now. The faster the device, the better. We equate speed with efficiency. The more we do, the more worthy we are. We speak of ourselves as we do of computers - our batteries are empty, we need to recharge or reset, and so on.

But a human is not a gadget.

The opposite here is the rising Slow Movement. People move away from cities, trying to become more mindful and slower - but it's also risky. If we set a vague goal for ourselves to become "slower", disappointment will follow eventually. Because what's fast? What's slow? What's slow enough? When can you say you reached your goal? How do you measure it?

This gap between our goal and reality can cause us even more stress, which is the opposite of what we're going for.

A small step back and a question for the especially fast ones: what are you running from? Sometimes our need for speed is internal - it's easier to run than to face something inside. And if the problem is internal, no slow movement will help.

But back to the topic at hand. Just like we can't define slow or fast, it's also silly to pit these things against one another. It's not about Life vs. Work or Fast vs. Slow.

There are days we need to be fast. There are days we need to be slow. Once again, if we try to draw a clear line, it will cause tension. And the last thing we need is more tension, right?

That's where the Pause enters the room.

It might seem simple in the beginning, but the more we think about it, the more complicated it becomes, because it's impossible to define it. A pause can be spontaneous or planned. It can be a second, an hour or a month. It can help us prepare for something and unwind and process afterwards. It's not a specific speed either - it's the change in the current speed.

Any change - both for humans and machines - asks for a pause. To turn right during your walk, you need a split second where you stop walking and turn. To hear what someone else is saying, you need to stop talking and listen.

A pause can add weight to a moment and it can make what follows more important.

In general we dont pay much attention or give much importance to the spaces in between all the tasks. I think we should. In life as in art you need to step back to see that. The negative space which lies around or between objects or events gives shape to the whole.

And a pause is a great way to take a breather without making radical change if you're not ready for it. It can be a gift.

And the world will not stop if you take a pause. But you cannot step back and see the big picture without taking that pause.

I used to have a reminder on my phone for literal years - every day a notification would pop up around lunchtime (the busiest time of the day), saying "The world will not stop spinning if you take a pause."

It reminded me that nothing is so important I can't take a moment to myself. And that doing so will only give me more perspective.

And it doesn't matter, if it's 10 seconds or 10 minutes or 10 days. Our life is more than being stuck in a hamster wheel and a pause can give us that breather.

As we near the end, I want to offer you another tech analogy. I know I can close my laptop daily without turning it off and it will work again tomorrow. But I also know that eventually I need to shut it down - if I don't, it will become slow.

It's the same with us. If you feel stuck, sometimes you don't need radical change - you just need a pause.


bottom of page