Steven D’Souza and Diana Renner, in their book Not Doing, discuss the idea that not doing is not necessarily a lack of activity. They bring in Carl Honore’s work on slow movement. Honore presents the premise that slow movement is all about pace; a pace that requires us to know the conditions in which we live and how we are personally wired. Based on this information, we can live at a pace that is natural for the environment we are in. By taking the pressures and urgency out of life, it allows us to connect with life at a deeper level which improves our effectiveness, equating to “stillness in action.”
Much of what we do in life is oriented around choice. At times, decisions are thrust upon us by circumstances or people. Much of what happens in life is beyond our control. But with each situation, whether self-caused or forces upon by society we have to make a choice. It would be nice if every choice we made came with a warranty guaranteeing a positive outcome. I would love to believe that every good decision we make, due to the dilemmas we face, will end in dessert, and that every bad decision would end in disaster. Life would be much easier. Sadly, some good decisions can end in disaster and some bad decisions can end in dessert. Good things sometimes happen to bad people and bad things sometimes happen to good people. Life isn’t fair, even at its rawest level. The struggle for justice in each one of us is real and necessary. Does our pace of life have anything to do with our ability to choose? Does our pace of life really make a difference? Can it help us maneuver life in a more harmonious fashion?
Response time is often not considered when looking at pace or speed in a person’s life. It is easy to see that the faster the pace, the less response time a person has. Part of reaching a pace that allows for “stillness in action” is knowing what we really want out of life. As a coach I am often amazed at how many in leadership don’t have a clue of what they really want or a plan to assist them in getting there. When the question is asked the responses can vary; “I want to be happy”, “I want to be successful”, “I want to matter”, or “I want to make a difference.” Few truly have an idea or understand exactly what that looks like. I usually bring everyone back to a starting point. I ask them what their needs are, what their desires are, and what their talents are. Where these three answers intersect is where the work begins. It is here, in my opinion, that we learn to live at a pace that is natural for the environment we are in. It is here where the hard choices are made that will affect how we relate to those around us. It is here we can begin to take the hard looks at the conditions in which we live. This place of choice is where we learn to “carry that stillness within as we go about our activities, a stillness within action rather than rushing around going through a vicious cycle of exhaustion and rest.” It is in knowing ourselves that brings a sense of security to walk a pace that allows us to not do, not know, and broadens our ability to respond.
 Steven D’Souza and Diana Renner, Not Doing: The Art of Effortless Action (London: LID Publishing, 2018), 237
 Steven D’Souza and Diana Renner, Not Doing, 232