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  • Nathan Riley, MD

If You Want to Speed Up, Slow Down

Updated: Jul 20, 2019


In a cesarean section, a procedure that I have performed hundreds of times, there’s always a lot of blood. Most patients lose at least a half liter. When we begin to become concerned with the volume of blood loss, our instinct is to panic. Our heart rate increases, our breathing becomes shallow, we rush our movements, and we make mistakes. In the meantime, the patient is still bleeding. The alternative is to take a deep breath, locate the bleeding vessel, and secure it with a suture. The same principle applies to natural disasters, interpersonal arguments, and even in certain situations in competitive sport. When we panic, our vision narrows and we make mistakes. Alternatively, when we slow down, we allow space and time for a solution to emerge. Counterintuitively, it also permits us to perform faster.

(Inspired by the experience of Kimi Werner, who would advise the same if you run into a great white shark)

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