Mahatma Gandhi said that there is more to life than simply increasing its’ speed. Yet now, more than ever, we are challenged by a world that demands us to speed up to keep up.
Technological advancements and economic growth have made our lives fast-paced. We talk faster, walk faster, eat faster, and generally live faster. We might attribute this to the globalised 21st century, but it is disappointing that one of the chief characteristics of modern business is to always be in a hurry in order to stay relevant. Some of the most relevant things, however, require us to slow down. Dreaming and planning and innovation require time: time to think, and time to produce. But more than that, time to just be.
“Time is a luxurious concept for any businessperson,” writes Laura Hinds, award-winning chair and founder of the Women’s Luxury Guild, and since we are afforded a finite amount of it we must use it wisely. So naturally it can be difficult to change your life to a slower pace when time is such a precious commodity.
Carl Honore, author of the book In Praise of Slow, changed his fast-paced life when he found himself looking longingly at a book of bedtime stories for the time-pressed parent which took precisely 60 seconds to tell, according to the BBC. Appalled at his skewed priorities, he decided to get out of the fast lane and introduce some slowness to his life.
“Since the Industrial Revolution shifted the world into high gear, the cult of speed has pushed us to a breaking point,” he writes. This breaking point is evident in so many ways of which the most common must be stress-related disorders. Studies have found that stress seems to worsen or increase the risk of conditions like obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, depression, gastrointestinal problems, and asthma.
Realizing the price, we pay for relentless speed, people of all walks of life are reclaiming their time and slowing down their pace to live healthier, happier, and more productive lives as a result. Around the world, 250 official slow cities are now putting quality of life ahead of speed for example.
The beauty of slowing down is that you don’t even have to move to one of these cities to experience the benefits of a calmer life. Slow down to just be, to stop and smell the roses, to write a little longer email or to read that extra bed-time story for your child. Because at the end of the day, in the words of John Lennon, the time you enjoy wasting, was never wasted.
This post is sponsored by Volkswagen Touareg and produced by BrandStudio24.