By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Festina Lente

Augustus of Prima Porta, statue of the emperor...
Augustus of Prima Porta, statue of the emperor Augustus in Museo Chiaramonti, Vatican, Rome. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
That was, supposedly, the motto of the Emperor Augustus: "Make haste slowly." This motto reminds me of what the federal courts used to say during the era of litigating school integration: "with all deliberate speed."

These mottos repeat a basic truth considered in this 2012 book, The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking by math professors Edward Burger and Michael Starbird (of Great Courses fame):

Consider some complex issue in your studies or life. Instead of tackling it in its entirety, find one small element of it and solve that part completely. . . . Choose a subproblem small enough that you can give it this level of attention. Only later should you consider how your efforts could help solve the larger issue.

Burger & Starbird, Kindle Location 1608.

The book is full of worthwhile insight, most of which you already apply in some form or another in your life and in your work.

This one basic point of concentrating on one small element of a larger web of problems is especially vital because all too often, in an often amazing way, the relatively small things are what keep people paralyzed in their jobs. Someone may not be able to get a better job for no better reason than the lack of equipment to produce or revise a resumé. Some cannot get a business off the ground because of the lack of investment capital or credit. Another cannot go to school because of the failure to find financial aid. Still another may not be able to repay a student loan because of unfamiliarity with special programs specifically designed to aid him in paying off the loans. 

Often, the big changes and improvements in our lives depend on one, relatively small step. Concentrate on that step and many good things will then follow and make still other good things feasible and doable.

Oh, and by the way, Rome wasn't built in a day!


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