An acquaintance of mine made a comment during a polo scrimmage the other night that has been rolling around in the back of my thoughts ever since. A much more experienced player than me, this fellow knew his way around the field, but he was kind enough and passionate enough about sharing the sport he loved to take the time to share his experience with an inexperienced player.
He said that one of the goals of a polo player is to get to the point where you can “go fast, but think slow.” While an attractive thought, it seemed counterintuitive at first. It seemed to me that like computers, he who thinks fast, who processes information faster, can act faster and arrive at a solution sooner.
But on further thought I could see that he was in part referring to the fact that as you learn something, say the sport of polo. you begin to be able to discern what is important information and what is not. As this happens you actually have less information to process, as you automatically filter out the irrelevant data. And when the data is filtered, even if you maintained the same processing speed, that is, thought at the same rate, you would like arrive at a solution more quickly.
Experience in the game of polo, if rightly considered, allows you to ride fast and think slowly. If you don’t reflect on your experience, order it in your mind and apply that knowledge the next time you’re out there, you are doomed to repeat past mistakes, to get caught up “majoring in the minors”, and run out of time to think through the best course of action. If, however, you reflect on what you’ve learned – no matter what you are doing – you will, over time, find yourself making more and more efficient use of your time and efforts.