Slow Down.. Slow Down... Slow Down ....
“There is more to life than increasing its speed.” - Gandhi.
The alarm gave its first ring and I was already getting ready for its third snooze.
Before I woke up, I was thinking of the hot bed coffee.
Holding a refreshing cup of coffee, I was roaming for my day’s newspaper.
My mind rushed to the sports column before finishing the day’s headlines and when the sports column arrived, it was wondering if the geyser was on or not.
I rushed my shower to try to grab a bite of the day’s breakfast, but by the time I was fully dressed I found those few minutes of breakfast too long compared to the hours of standing still at the traffic jam.
Anyway I maneuvered my way to office thinking of the day’s meeting and attended the meeting thinking about the boss’s response.
I started thinking about my promotion and increment while getting the boss’s feedback.
While wrapping up the meeting, I was thinking of going for an early lunch and during the lunch, I started thinking of planning the next quarter.
While planning I wanted to finish the day early and by the time I finished the day, I wanted to rush home.
On reaching home, I wanted to catch up some time with the family and by the time I catch up with them I decided to catch up with a late night movie.
By the time I played the movie, it was my office which was running on the screen with the same events and schedules but with a different date.
I went to bed thinking of waking up early and while the alarm rang I was getting ready for pressing the third snooze.
If ((You want to know the next day story = goto Scene: 1) or (Continue reading below))
Why is it that I am rushing my life when almost every day is literally the same? Why is that my brain is washed by the corporate painting, maybe I don’t have any colour of my own. Starting from childhood , all I was made to believe was to grow big , grow fast and make lots of money and now half way through the journey I think there is one big disconnect which me and my generation has created. This disconnect will be a costly affair for our future generation.
Traditionally, in times past, our lives were connected. People were connected to their culture, to people, to place and to their lives. It is not so long ago that the extended family was a real live entity with the extended family often living under the same roof; children grew up knowing their cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and other relatives. These children felt connected. But today?
Technological advances have resulted in less labour and more time. Who would complain about vacuum cleaners, electric stoves, smart phones, washing machine or the electric oven, but have these technologies really given us more time to enjoy life as was their claim? Or have we used this time to become even busier. We are engaged in constant fast-forward motion whereby we are often overscheduled, stressed and rushing towards the next task. This rushing is not restricted to our work environment. We rush our food, our family time and even our recreation
So why rush?
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” ~ Lao Tzu
Well, to put it simple, you either rush personally or professionally. So why should your company make you rush? The easy answer is to make better profit than the previous quarter or simply better growth rate. So how long will they keep expecting the growth rate to increase faster? It should be till the end of the company or end of life.
Common sense says high growth rates are good and slower, more modest ones are not so good. But is that always the case?
Economic activity and its growth are the principal drivers of massive environmental decline.Our measure of growth -- gross domestic product or GDP -- is fundamentally flawed.The focus on growing GDP deflects us away from growing the many things that do need to grow.Growth doesn't work. It doesn't deliver the claimed social and economic benefits to all.The growth gives power mainly to companies, and hardly impacts the national well-being. Tough to digest but again there is no denying the facts.
Now let’s move on to the interesting part – Rushing personally.
The one and the only thing/evil/demon/sin/Dracula/bad boy which is making you rush your life is called “The PIG.”
Caught You :).
It’s the Problem of Instant Gratification.
The Problem of Immediate Gratification (the PIG) refers to the universal principle that immediacy is much more important than magnitude of a payoff.
When was the last time you waited for all the commercials to get over to continue watching your favorite serial? When was the last time you waited for more than 2 hours for the arrival of your ordered pizza? When was the last time you decided to shed your extra kilos in a time span of 2 years? When was the last time you waited for more than 15 minutes for your video to finish buffering?Well, in most cases the last time must have never come?
All of modern day convenience creates a culture of instant gratification. In the not so distant past we had to work hard for the things we wanted and now we can have almost anything we want immediately. The need for instant gratification has spilled over into our personal lives as well causing us to want a quick fix to our problems and relationships. People who want a quick fix are quick to avoid anything that takes a lot effort.
The desire to stay connected to smart phone reflects the world’s growing need for instant gratification, especially through online connections. That’s how social media sites have hooked millions of people; they provide instant gratification whenever their members need it. On Facebook, for example, likes, shares and comments make users feel good, and those users come to expect such immediate response and satisfaction whenever they post a comment or picture. The need for round-the-clock mobile connection not only makes people more impatient, it also robs them of time for quiet reflection or deeper, more critical thinking. They tend to want constant stimulation, have less impulse control and get distracted more easily. Diagnoses of attention deficit disorder for children and teenagers have soared; even older adults are increasingly getting prescriptions for ADD medications. Some teachers report that they rarely assign complete books any longer, but choose short stories or excerpts instead because of shorter attention spans.
Modern day professions like advertising and marketing make a living by preying upon our weakness for instant gratification. Same day delivery, 24 hour service, faster net connections, online services or any other psychological hint, these schemes only work because of our quintessential weakness. If we were in total control of ourselves the advertisers would be out of a job.
Patience was long considered a virtue, but it seems more like an anachronism today. Many young professionals today want their careers to be on steroids, they crave the gratification of a pay raise or promotion every few months, and when they don’t get the expected rewards, they feel frustrated and sometimes even quit their jobs. The need for instant gratification is likely to become even more pronounced in the future generation with the advent of smart phones and idiot operators.
Of course, waiting has long been considered an annoying waste of time, and technology has only intensified the feeling. What people don’t realize is that waiting does have its merits. “The promise of technology was that it would make us masters of time,” says Professor of English Harold Schweizer. “It has, ironically, made us into time’s slaves. Waiting gives people time for thinking. It also adds value to objects and experiences. But without the investment of time, he says, “objects and experiences tend to remain without value.”
Don’t buy into instant gratification. You can face your problems head on and acquire the skills to resolve them. As a wise man once said, “anything worth achieving is worth working and waiting for.”
So what now? A group of people who were too tired of rushing life said,
“Stop the world I want to get off” and started a movement called “Slow Movement”
“Slow Movement is a cultural revolution against the notion that faster is always better. The Slow philosophy is not about doing everything at snail’s pace. It’s about seeking to do everything at the right speed. Savoring the hours and minutes rather than just counting them. It’s about quality over quantity in everything from work to food to parenting."
Is a book better if you speed read it, or if you take your time and get lost in it?
Is a song better if you skim through it, or if you take the time to really listen?
Is food better if you cram it down your throat or if you savor every bite and really appreciate the flavor?
Is your work better if you’re trying to do 10 things at once, or if you really pour yourself into one important task?
Is it better if you travel as a tourist who takes the opportunity to become part of local life and to connect to a place and its people rather than rushing to your next destination by grabbing the memories into the electronic chip?
Is it better if you as a parent help your kid in creating the love and the art for learning rather than rushing to his next tuition class?
Is it better if you take time to spend playing and living your child’s world for some time rather than rushing him into your lifeless world?
Is your time spent with a friend or loved one better if you have a rushed meeting interrupted by your emails and text messages, or if you can relax and really focus on the person?
Why Slow Down
Slow Down – Sleep More, It’s good for you.
Studies show that getting eight hours of sleep can actually lead to weight loss, not to mention the obvious fact that a well-rested mind leads to clearer thinking and better work.
Slow Down - It makes you more likable. If you’re always tired (because you are doing too much), chances are you are often cranky. Who wants to be around someone who’s always complaining or in a bad mood? Your friends, family, and colleagues will thank you if you take a nap or say “no” once in awhile.
Slow Down - It helps you focus on what really matters. It’s possible to strive so hard that you end up missing the most important things in life. When all you have are obligations, you forget to savor the special moments.
How to slow down
Put your feet up, and stare idly out of the window. Warning: Do not attempt this while driving.
Do one thing at a time. Remember multitasking is a moral weakness (except for women, who have superior brain function).
Ponder, take your time. Do not be pushed into answering questions. A response is not the same as an answer.
Start watching Doordarshan, they get you back to your childhood days.
Yawn often. Medical studies have shown lots of things, and possibly that yawning may be good for you.
Spend more time in bed. You have a better chance of cultivating your dreams (not your aspirations.)
Read the slow stories.
Spend more time in the bathtub. (now don’t sleep there)
Practice doing nothing. (Yes, this is the difficult one- you never know when you are finished)
Avoid too much seriousness. Laugh, because you’re only alive on Planet Earth for a limited time.
Just before slowing down do make a few important declarations to the world (and to yourselves):
I can’t do everything, but I can do the essential things
My loved ones deserve my best, not my leftovers.
When I do less, I do better.
Don’t you want to be able to say those things more? I do.
I can’t give commitments as before Don’t expect my cell phone to be switched on always
Don’t expect perfection from me all the time. I realized it’s ok to be not perfect all the time.
You are invited for a long stroll with me.
For me, slowing down is about being present.
It’s about making the person in front of me feel like important (because they are).
It’s about concentrating on the tasks I’m doing in the moment, because when I’m distracted everything I do suffers.
Life as a whole is better if you go slowly, and take the time to savor it, appreciate every moment. That’s the simplest reason to slow down.
Today in this time thirsty fast paced life, the rich are not the ones who can afford a million dollar trip to the moon but rich are the ones who can afford to lie down in broad day light looking upon the open sky and say “What a wonderful World”