Slow is Smooth. Smooth is Fast.

What follows is an excerpt from my upcoming book, tentatively titled Badges and Budgets: Why Every First Responder Should Budget.

Every shooter that has ever had a moment’s training has heard the following axiom:

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SmoothThis isn’t something that only officers are familiar with.  I know a number of medics and firefighters that are gun nuts aficionados that are familiar with this tenet as well.

For those unfamiliar with the process involved in combat shooting or the way we LEOs train, let me give you the reader’s digest version.

There is what is referred to as the 5-point pistol presentation. In each step, the shooter does something to bring the shooter closer to efficiently coming on target and pressing the trigger. The steps are as follows:

  1. Your support hand hits your chest and the gun hand goes to the pistol grip releasing any/all retentions on the holster.
  2. You pull the gun out of the holster and bring it to retention, keeping your upper arm parallel to the ground and the muzzle pointed down range.
  3. Bring your support hand and the gun hand together and begin punching out to fully extend your arms.
  4. Get a sight picture with the front sight in focus and the target hazy in the background.
  5. Smoothly press the trigger. We don’t pull…it will cause us to miss at that which we are aiming.

We will practice each of these steps painfully slowly. Then, we will do them at quarter speed. Then, half speed. Then, three-quarter speed. Then full speed.

Each time we repeat the drill, we get smoother because we have practiced it slowly at the start. There have been a number of times when circumstances have required me to have my gun in my hand. I have yet to not be amazed at the alacrity with which that occurs.

It’s as if I merely will it to be there and *snap*, there it is.

It isn’t magic. It isn’t happenstance.

It’s slow repetition practiced incessantly over time in order to increase the speed with which I can draw my pistol when required. That practice and repetition has served me extraordinarily well.

That axiom is not only applicable to shooting. It can be applied to your financial life as well.

How, you ask?

I want you to think of the greatest financial-related book ever written.

What’d you come up with?

Here are some choices:

  • Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover
  • The Bible (Money is a subject more often than love…true story)
  • Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich
  • Tony Robbins’ MONEY: Master the Game
  • Aesop’s fable The Tortoise and the Hare

Wait. What?

I’ll grant you the first four mentioned above are fantastic and Dave’s book is the reason the Wife and I started our journey to paying off nearly $78,000 in 28 months. But, for our purposes in this context, the winner is:

Much like many other finance-related perspectives, I learned about this book from Dave Ramsey while leading Financial Peace University. In one of the lessons, Dave talks about an opportunity he had to sit down with a billionaire to pick his brain about how to build wealth.

The billionaire tells Dave about a book he read that made all the difference. You may have guessed by now the book is The Tortoise and the Hare.

Much like you may be feeling, Dave was initially put off a bit by the man’s statement. But the gentleman went on to explain.

He said every time he read the book, the tortoise wins. It is through his tenacity, intentionality, dogged determination, and his slow, but persistent, approach that the tortoise is the victor.

There are “gurus” in the financial world that bounce around like a pinball on crank from one thing to another moving at eye-blurring speed. They are in and out of the market. They are leveraging this to option that. They want you to borrow. They want you to invest on their word. They want you to trade in single stocks. They want you all in all the time.

They are the rabbit.


When you approach your financial life at a slow and steady pace, you are smooth. When you consistently practice the foundational approach laid out in this book, you are smooth. When you are committed to intentionally allocating your money in a wise manner with focus, you are smooth.

And when you are smooth, you are fast.

When you are fast, you will win the race.

You will win the race by being slow.


Slow is Smooth and Smooth is Fast.