May 18, 2010

Slow down - enjoy life!

There is a famous quote on the Internet (copied from zenhabits.net):

The first time I was in Sweden, one of my colleagues picked me up at the hotel every morning. It was September, bit cold and snowy. We would arrive early at the company and he would park far away from the entrance (2000 employees drive their car to work). The first day, I didn’t say anything, either the second or third. One morning I asked, “Do you have a fixed parking space? I’ve noticed we park far from the entrance even when there are no other cars in the lot.” To which he replied, “Since we’re here early we’ll have time to walk, and whoever gets in late will be late and need a place closer to the door. Don’t you think? Imagine my face.

Basically, the movement questions the sense of “hurry” and “craziness” generated by globalization, fueled by the desire of “having in quantity” (life status) versus “having with quality”, “life quality” or the “quality of being”. French people, even though they work 35 hours per week, are more productive than Americans or British. Germans have established 28.8 hour workweeks and have seen their productivity been driven up by 20%. This slow attitude has brought forth the US’s attention, pupils of the fast and the “do it now!”.

This no-rush attitude doesn’t represent doing less or having a lower productivity. It means working and doing things with greater quality, productivity, perfection, with attention to detail and less stress. It means reestablishing family values, friends, free and leisure time. Taking the “now”, present and concrete, versus the “global”, undefined and anonymous. It means taking humans’ essential values, the simplicity of living.

It stands for a less coercive work environment, more happy, lighter and more productive where humans enjoy doing what they know best how to do. It’s time to stop and think on how companies need to develop serious quality with no-rush that will increase productivity and the quality of products and services, without losing the essence of spirit.

Many of us live our lives running behind time, but we only reach it when we die of a heart attack or in a car accident rushing to be on time. Others are so anxious of living the future that they forget to live the present, which is the only time that truly exists. We all have equal time throughout the world. No one has more or less. The difference lies in how each one of us does with our time. We need to live each moment. As John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”.

In this fast moving world full of stress we should slow down and just enjoy life, enjoy every moment. For example we should enjoy cooking our food and hanging out with our loved ones while eating it together without watching the tv. There is an organization which tries to teach people to do this - slowfood.com - their sign is a snail :)

There is a cool site called Slow Down Now that offers a few tips for slowing down:

1. Drink a cup of tea, put your feet up and stare idly out of the window. Warning: Do not attempt this while driving.
2. Do one thing at a time. Remember multitasking is a moral weakness (except for women who have superior brain function.)
3. Do not be pushed into answering questions. A response is not the same as an answer. Ponder, take your time.
4. Yawn often. Medical studies have shown lots of things, and possibly that yawning may be good for you.
5. Spend more time in bed. You have a better chance of cultivating your dreams (not your aspirations.)
6. Spend more time in the bathtub.
7. Practice doing nothing. (Yes this is the difficult one.)
8. Avoid too much seriousness. Laugh, because you're live on earth for a limited time only.

I would like to add that my favorite thing to do to slow down is to ride my bike in the forest and when I find a good spot just sit down and relax, just watching the nature :)

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