We have all read or heard the story of “The Hare and Tortoise” at some point in life in one or other language. Hence, we all must know the moral that this story offers. “Slow and Steady wins the race”. Irony is this story is taught or read to us in childhood. By the time the practical significance of it appears in our lives, we have forgotten it already. The moral tells us that slowness does not always mean losing and steadiness keeps the spark alive despite it being slow.
However, as we all know stories are for fun, for quote or may be for reading, they random become a part of our real self. We may have agreed that slow hare did win the race and it is not good to be always in hurry, in real life the program should execute in macro seconds, pizza should reach in 30 mins and the new phone brand launched should be delivered within 24 hours. Fast processors, fast machines and fast delivery, anything that lags the fastness is as good as dead. This may sound hypocritical, sadist type; but this is not a false implication. We have become “speed mongers”. There is only one timeline for everything in life today: “ASAP”. If it is not done asap, it is not acceptable.
Speediness is supposed to improve our lives for better. Well, if it is something related to immediate health attention or life saving act, it is understood. Okay, a Pizza being delivered sooner, so we need not reheat it, is also acceptable. Nonetheless a mobile handset can remain packed for few more hours and we need not create round the clock shifts, mandating the delivery man to deliver it within time howsoever. The mobile set will not get choked if it remains in box for one or two more days.
Targets are our blame bearers in this game of haste. We all are running, as we have targets to meet; in professional as well as personal life. Irony here is most of these targets usually miss the rationality of feasibility and planning. Everything is depicted to be highly urgent and critical. The superficiality behind the idea of urgency can be very well understood from the reaction to current pandemic. All urgencies suddenly decided to wait, schedules were shifted. We can argue that we had economical impact due to this, but the actual impact bearers of this slowdown are not the ones who are part of the game of speed.
Slowness is being bad as we relate it to excuses and sleaziness. However, everything that is slow is not lagging, it is a progression that we cannot notice. Haste and rush in daily life adds to stress at individual level as well as in the overall ecosystem. I would like if you can fill in the blank for me; Fast and …………
Yeah, you read it correct. So, if we are 24*7 fast that means we are 24*7 furious. This breakneck level of lifestyle adds havoc to our psychology. Server rooms are equipped with the AC units to check the heat these units emanate while delivering speed to us. Well, where are our AC unit?
I can tell you from my personal experience that haste adds to stress on us. I am a hurry up person naturally. I speak at a pace, which is not convenient to understand, leave aside the idea of soothing. I usually finish all my work well before schedule, and then spend hours in correcting it. I love to paint, but then it is so slow, my hands struggle to hold to the requirement of pace.
While dinning with my husband, while he enjoys the meal, I am half of the time staring at his leisurely stride of eating and my empty plates. For sure I never have the same taste experience of the meals as he can have.
Frankly I super detest the fact that I cannot slow down. It is a nervous bane; it adds to stress and anxiety.
Current economic and social pattern takes the fact “The more the merrier” too seriously. Hence everything is to be produced fast so that it is much more in quantity. Once produced it should be consumed faster. Consumption does not always mean enjoying the product. Social media is full of ideas to do everything faster. 10 min recipes, 10 min games, 10 min makeup tips; but we do have another 23 hours 50 minutes in a day.
Its time we stop being the fans of speed and take a reality check. Steadiness is very much needed to keep ourselves intact psychologically and physically, and speed can never give us the steadiness.
It is tough to shift gears, in fact super tough, telling from my experience. However, it is also super rewarding and worth trying.
P.S: Listen to the TED talk by Carl Honoré: In praise of slowness.
This talk was recorded in 2005, 15 years ahead today, it is much more relevant. Every word of it matters in the way we live.
Link for the talk :