Are you living too fast?

This is part 1 of a series of 3 blog posts on The Slow Movement, aimed to raise your awareness that doing things slower increases your effectiveness and enjoyment.

I came across a mind-blowing talk by Carl Honore, author of “In Praise of Slowness” recently. The kind of idea that simply “fits the puzzle”. We live in a fast world. So fast, that we’re missing out on our own lives.

How do you realize if you’re living too fast?

If your money goes to getting ready made food rather than cooking your own, if you buy services that you could do yourself, just because “you don’t have the time” (like cleaning your house), if you tell your parents you “gotta go” from the phone because you have 10 clients to call, if you tell your loved one “not now darling, I’m running late for a meeting“…

…do any of these sound familiar?

Where are you running to?

Let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time there was a boy who was waiting for his girlfriend to show up on a date. He missed her very much and was waiting anxiously.
“Oh, if only time would go faster”, he thought.
And suddenly, there was a dwarf near him, who gave him a ring and said “You want time to go faster? Twist this ring on your finger, and say when you want to be in the future. And you will find yourself there. But, be careful what you wish for!”
The boy could not believe his eyes. He took the ring and immediately wished for his girlfriend to arrive. And – pouf! – there he was, a few minutes away in the future, and they were having their dream date. “Oh, I wonder if we’ll get married?” he asked himself, and twisted the ring. And there they were, on their wedding day, happy and beautiful together. “How many kids will we have? And a house? And where will we live?” and again and again he twisted the ring, and saw himself an aging father, with kids growing up, getting married themselves and building their own families.
Suddenly the boy was now an old man, lying on his deathbed. “Where did my life go?” he asked himself. He tried to twist the ring to the other side, but it would not move. With his final breath he wished time would not pass so quickly.

There are a few endings to the story.

In one, the dwarf comes back and asks for something in return for time passing the other way around. In another, the boy wakes up and is still young, waiting for his girlfriend. In the one that’s called real life, there is no ring, and the old man dies.

Which story are you in?

You may find, like me, that being fast may turn, some day, into a curse rather than a blessing.
We’re impatient. We lose focus. We forget what is important.

Productivity has increased exponentially in the past century. However, working time has also increased. Paradoxically, isn’t it? You’d expect that if you manage to achieve more with less, you wouldn’t need to work so hard.
But it’s a vicious cycle.
We achieve more, want more, create more, then we need to work more. It’s neverending.

The SLOW Movement

Some people in the world have started to break the cycle. It’s called the SLOW movement. Or Downshifting. Or Anti-consumerism. And there’s even a World Institute of Slowness.

We’ve realized that actually, by slowing down, we’re focusing better. We’re creating value. We’re living better.

In the next two posts I’ll talk more about the benefits of slowing down, and also, about how to apply “the slowness principle” in your life, without seeming sleazy or unproductive.

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