SLOW DOWN or LOCK DOWN



"There is more to life than increasing its speed." - Gandhi.

Scene: 1


The alarm gave its first ring, and I was already making up my mind for the third snooze.

Before I woke up, I was thinking of bed coffee.


Before taking the first sip, I was searching for the Newspaper.


Holding the Newspaper, I rushed to the sports column even 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 grab a bite of the day's breakfast, but by the time I got dressed, I found those few minutes of breakfast too long compared to the hours of standing still at the traffic jam.


Anyway, I manoeuvred my way to office thinking of the day's meeting and attended the meeting thinking about my boss's response.


While wrapping up the meeting, I was thinking of going for an early lunch and during lunch, I was planning to finish the day early. 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.


I went to bed thinking of waking up early, and while the alarm rang, I was making up my mind for 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 every day is almost the same? Why is the corporate painting my brain, maybe I don't have any colour of my own?


Starting from childhood, I got hypnotised to grow big, grow fast and make lots of money, and now halfway through the journey, I think there is one big disconnect which I and my generation have created. This disconnect will be a costly affair for our future generation.


Traditionally, our lives were connected. People were related to their culture, their people, their place and their lives. It was not so long ago that the joint family was real; 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, smartphones, washing machine or the electric oven, but have these technologies 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 just with our work environment alone. It applies to our food habits, family time and even our recreation as well.



So why rush?

"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished." ~ Lao Tzu

Well, to put it simply, you either rush personally or professionally. So why should your company rush you? The easy answer is to create a better profit than the previous quarter. So how long will they keep expecting the growth rate to increase and that too rapidly? It should be until the end of the company or the end of life.


Common sense says high growth rates are good and 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 developing the many things that do need to build.


Growth doesn't deliver the claimed social and economic benefits to all. It gives the power to select individuals, 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 exciting 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."

It's a Problem of Instant Gratification.


The Problem of Instant Gratification ( PIG) refers to the universal principle that immediacy is much more important than the magnitude of a payoff.



When was the last time you waited for all the commercials to get over to continue watching your favourite 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 2 years? When was the last time you waited for more than 2 minutes for your video to finish buffering? Well, in most cases, the last time must never come.


All of the 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.


The need for instant gratification has spilt our personal lives as well. It has made us quick-fix our problems and relationships. People who want a quick fix are quick to avoid anything that takes a lot of effort.


The desire to stay connected to smartphone reflects the world's growing need for instant gratification, primarily 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, but it also robs them of time for quiet reflection or more profound 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 a virtue, but it seems more like an anachronism today. Young professionals want their careers to be on steroids. They crave the gratification of a pay raise or promotion every few months. 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 smartphones.



Of course, waiting has long been considered an annoying waste of time, and technology has only intensified the feeling. What people don't realise is that waiting does have its merits. "Technology promised 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 to think. 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."



Slow Movement


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.


Savouring 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 listen?


Is food better if you cram it down your throat or if you savour every bite and appreciate the flavour?


Is your work better if you're trying to do ten things at once, or if you pour yourself into one important task?


Is it better if you travel as a tourist connecting 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 focus on the person?



Why Slow Down?


Slow Down – Sleep More, It's right for you. Studies show that getting eight hours of sleep can lead to weight loss, not to mention the undeniable fact that a well-rested mind leads to clearer thinking and better work.


Slow Down - It makes you more likeable. 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 a while.



Slow Down - It helps you focus on what matters. It's possible to strive so hard that you end up missing the essential things in life. When all you have are obligations, you forget to savour the special moments.

How to slow down?



Put your feet up, and stare idly out of the window.


Do one thing at a time. Remember, multitasking is a moral weakness.


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 right for you.


Spend more time in bed. You have a better chance of cultivating your dreams.


Read the stories slowly.


Spend more time in the bathtub.


Practice doing nothing.


Avoid too much seriousness. Laugh, because you're only alive on Planet Earth for a limited time.



Before you begin


Just before slowing down do make a few essential announcements 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 on always.


Don't expect perfection from me all the time. I realised it's ok to be not perfect all the time.


Join me for a long stroll.


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 at 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 savour it, appreciate every moment. That's the most straightforward 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 daylight looking upon the open sky and say "What a Wonderful World."



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