Stop holding down the ‘B’ button

1 minute read

One of the crucial things in learning how to relax, find flow, and enter a more introspective life is to realize that not everything must be done.

It’s one of the hardest lessons to tackle.

The to-do lists will still be there, email will continue to pile up, the input of books onto your shelves will outpace your ability to read them. In short, the world around you will not change.

Yet it will nonetheless be up to you in order to change it. How does one change themselves so drastically?

As any student of the NES Super Mario Brothers knows, simply pressing the right button directional arrow compels Mario to walk to the right — the only real option in a side-scroller. But by holding down the ‘run’ button (b), Mario would break into a more efficient hustle.

It was ludicrous after about 2 seconds of seeing him run, compared to watching him walk, that you’d ever want to walk again. Now that action seemed painfully and deliberately slow.

You go on to play nearly the entire game with your thumb jammed onto that red button — so much so that your skin might show the tell-tell imprint of a game well-played when you finish.

How important it is for our generation of Mario runners to take stock and to lay off the button in our own lives — to realize that we needn’t run in every direction, that not all actions are to be taken to their maximum. But that some can be done quietly.

Slowly. Deliberately. With purpose.

I don’t always need to have the TV on while washing dishes, or to have my podcasts injected into my ears when I run across the street to grab a coffee.

It was the first of many lessons for myself as I forced myself to slow down, to prioritize experiences over tasks.

And hopefully, by taking my finger off of the proverbial ‘b’ key, then both experiences and tasks will be enriched.