I've been doing CrossFit for a while now, and before a recent Workout of the Day (WOD) our instructor (Jeff Tincher) drew 3 Christmas trees on the white board:
If you go Too Fast, you lose precision or range of motion in your exercises, and if you go Too Slow (being fastidious about technique), you'll sacrifice intensity, fitness, and not be competitive. The idea isn't new, but I thought it was interesting to discuss both in the area of fitness and personal productivity.
As an ambitious person and athlete, I want to do it with perfect form AND quickly (and in my mind, as an overachiever, I believe I can excel on both fronts). However, in discussing the concept of "Too Fast, Too Slow" with a fellow rugby coach, my thinking changed.
He drew the parallel to players running through drills - if players are doing the drill “perfectly” then they’re not being sufficiently challenged - either they’re not working hard enough or not learning enough. If players are dropping balls and executing sloppily, it means the drill might be too hard. Somewhere in the middle is the sweet spot where players/students/people are sufficiently challenged that they won't get everything right. I had never thought of it like that.
So, looking back at my I-can-do-it-fast-AND-perfectly attitude, I realize that maybe I should be pushing myself to a higher threshold until I'm not doing it perfectly (whether it's in fitness, professional development, intellectual pursuits, hobbies, etc.). While it might be a little clumsy at first, the body and mind are quick to adapt, so we can begin to feel comfortable at this even-higher level.
It's through challenges that we learn most effectively. Are we too comfortable? What are we doing "too perfectly"?