The Idea Dude


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Time compression, when it's time to slowdown...

We live in a society today called, Now!. Immediacy seems to be the order of the day. Instant gratification is norm and thinking long-term is out. Fedex, fast food, instant messaging and email all point to our obsession with speed. How often have your heard the following?

  • We need this feature by tomorrow or our customers will leave us.
  • Buy now, sale ends soon.
  • Use our diet program and lose weight in weeks.

Where it really hurts us is how all this short term activity impacts us in the long run. Sacrificing quality, breaking down of personal relationships, physical and emotional stress.

Strategy+business speaks of a report where one of their findings was...

People could tell you when their day began, but not when their day ended

So where is the thinking that says...

  • Take a little longer, quality is important
  • Let's get to know each other a little better, how are you today?
  • Let's explore this a little further
  • What is the long term impact of our actions?
  • Where should we really be investing our time, energy and money?

Perhaps that is why conversation is really a lost art. Speaking and listening is something we now do to get the job done. Our questions are really checkpoints inquiring about status. The answers we expect are "yes" or "no". We stop long enough to ask a question or just long enough to answer one. How sad is that?

True conversation is a journey of discovery of ideas and people.

Do we really take time to meander over a coffee and ask "what if". Or stop and marvel about an instant in time? What happened to the walks in the park, breakfast in bed, fireside chats... they are replaced with getting to meetings on time, rushing for the bus, drinking coffee bought in drive-throughs.

Alas, time compression is the culprit, if we could only expand time, our outlook would be less stressful, our conversations more meaningful, each moment maybe more memorable.

We use interesting phrases like take time, make time, save time.

Yet is the only thing we can't control... or can we.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Vern

I'm with you.

I think the way we use our time makes the biggest difference to the quality of our lives - and those of people round about us. We can make a choice about this. It means doing less of some stuff - but more of the things that matter, that make us feel human.

I wrote a piece on coaching wizardry way back about the fact people are walking faster in cities nowadays (someone studies these things!) and that the pace of life just keeps on getting faster. I linked it to the song "slow down you move too fast..." and every day more I less I get someone coming to my site searching for that term.

I often wonder - what makes them type in that string of words? How are they feeling when they sit there and ask google that question.

Are they yearning for the secret to slow down, to smile, to meander, to converse...

If we could teach them how - would we really be on to something?


7:08 AM  
Blogger The Idea Dude said...

Hi Joanna,

I think most people forget they do have a choice and so many things that seem urgent really are not. Many people, (I'm the main culprit) just need a gentle reminder now and then. I'm sure they get a lot out of reading your post. I've added a link to it here.

You can find Joanna's terrific post Slow down, you move to fast here.


1:25 PM  
Blogger said...


I also believe in Wide Time as well as long time. Wide Time when lots of stuff is all happening together and although each of us can only see part of it, the effect of the changes are far more profound. We live in wide time and shouldn't underestimate its power.


6:04 PM  
Blogger The Idea Dude said...

Hi Rashbre,

That's a really interesting idea... I agree we often can only see a piece of the puzzle when the beauty lies in the complete picture.


8:31 PM  

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