Hasten Slowly

Roman coins inscribed with the motif of a dolphin entwined about an anchor.

“Make haste slowly” was the motto of Emperor Augustus who found rash behavior abhorrent especially in military command. Emperor Titus expressed the same, having Roman coins inscribed with the motif of a dolphin entwined about an anchor. The tireless speed of a dolphin and the grounding stability of an anchor were symbols Romans could readily relate to. Augustus and Titus, both superior leaders, knew that abandoning diligence in fevered pursuit of one’s objective was asking for trouble. A balance must be struck.

The month of May in Indy is all about speed. Our exuberance for life’s rebound each spring is well expressed in our being ‘off to the races’! Those very events illustrate that even when speed is the primary consideration it is not the only one. Full speed from “Go!” is a fine strategy for a sprint but fails in a marathon. Limiting factors that reality imposes on us, trying as they may be, can make challenges more gratifying when met and us better for the attempt, regardless of outcome. Negotiating the twists and turns, figuring capacities and conditions, persevering—that takes a master! We can lean into our endeavors without running off course or falling headlong into what lies ahead.

 “Hasten slowly”, pedantic by today’s standards, has been an oft adopted motto because its wisdom continues to prove itself. We think it has ‘gravitas’.