An entrepreneur makes a case for a slow, considered life
“Time is not money.”
Our day starts with the eerie sound of our alarm clocks and ends with a peep at the clock just before we are about to crash on our beds. In between, we time the entire day—our meal time, exercise time, work time, leisure time and even sex time. We feel obligated to pack a day with things we deem productive. Ever since our childhood, we have been conditioned that “more the merrier”. And how do we get more in the same span of time? By revering everything that is fast.
The concept of time was devised to measure changes and utilize that information to better human lives. The modern concept of time divided into seconds, minutes, and hours, is a progeny of industrial revolution in the west. When machines were introduced, it was believed that they would take off a huge chunk of work from our daily schedules and provide us with more free time. So that, humans could own their time. Unfortunately, with our obsession with “more the merrier”, we succumbed to cramming more and more activities in a day. Thus, enforcing a mindset that if we have free time, it should be filled up with something. The final blow came, when the ideology of efficiency was introduced and was tied to time. Now every human effort had an efficiency factor associated with it which could directly be linked to time. Idle time meant lower efficiency, and when efficiency was linked to wages, we got the most popular phrase in the history of modern humankind—Time is money (stated by Benjamin Franklin in his essay “Advice to a Young Tradesman”). That day, we became slaves to time. Time, that we were supposed to own, now owned us.
Our obsession with time and money has turned our lives towards misery. We are in thrall of everything that’s fast-paced—food, technology, entertainment, dating and love, education, work, and whatnot. Anything which is slow is derided. But does it really deserve to be so?
Study of human physiology suggests that we are biologically more capable when things move at a slower pace. Ancient yogic science defines a human body at 3 levels: physical body, mind and emotions, and life energies. In order to lead a blissful life, all of these should be balanced. And the act of balancing can never be rushed. Human life thrives when it moves at a leisurely pace. Nature also suggests the same. Growth of a plant cannot be rushed, ripening of a fruit cannot be hurried and the birth of a child takes its complete course. Our mind is at its creative best when it is not torpedoed with deadlines. Best ideas sprout in a mind that is dislodged from the madness of the world. We need to breathe and slow down.
Slow philosophy is all about balance. It doesn’t mean to be slow always. But it empowers us to own our time. Listen to your body and mind and be fast when you can, and be slow when it is called for. It’s about controlling the rhythm of our lives.
In order to make room for Slow philosophy in our lives, we will need to unlearn many things. We will have to change the perception that slow is incompetent or inefficient. We have enough evidence now that being fast doesn’t always work. Take for instance, all the uproar regarding the dopamine effect that social media is triggering among users stems from the philosophy of fast, rather instant gratification. Couples getting into speed dating often end up in a disgruntled relationship; we are creating an army of frustrated employees who are made to run a manic rat-race in high-pressured work environment for a salary.
We also have to delink money and bliss. Money is a utility, a convenient system designed in the modern times to procure basic needs. Anything and everything that does not fall into the domain of need is a ‘want’. And wants tend to grow. More we invest in a want, farther we get from a blissful life. The consciousness of seeking or knowing things that make your life blissful, is a core of Slow philosophy.
So, it’s okay to take a pause, to reflect and wander. It’s okay to push a deadline if hurrying doesn’t get the best out of your work. It’s okay to earn less but do the job that you love. It’s okay to wait for the right partner in your life while your friends are getting married. It’s okay to take time in making decisions that matter. It’s okay to be idle at times. And it’s okay to be slow in your life. Because, slow is beautiful.
Ankesh Dev is a fashion entrepreneur and co-founder of brands Moda Hombre and ACHIMI. A marketer by profession and a thinker by disposition, he is an avid proponent of sustainable fashion. He loves to challenge the status quo and explore new possibilities that promise a better future for us in conjunction with our co-existence with this planet.
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