Thursday, September 13, 2007

Slow Down Culture

I got a forward the other day- but I liked it quite a lot. I could not trace the author of this one , but it's a must read
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Slow Down Culture . . .

by a Concerned citizen of this Universe

It's been 18 years since I joined Volvo, a Swedish company. Working for them has proven to be an interesting experience. Any project here takes 2 years to be finalized, even if the idea is simple and brilliant. It's
a rule.


Globalize processes have caused in us (all over the world) a general sense of searching for immediate results. Therefore, we have come to posses a
need to see immediate results. This contrasts greatly with the slow movements of the Swedish. They, on the other hand, debate, debate, debate,
hold x quantity of meetings and work with a slowdown scheme. At the end, this always yields better results.

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
so? Imagine my face.

Nowadays, there's a movement in Europe named Slow Food. This movement establishes that people should eat and drink slowly, with enough time to taste their
food, spend time with the family, friends, without rushing. Slow Food is against its counterpart: the spirit of Fast Food and what it stands for
as a lifestyle. Slow Food is the basis for a bigger movement called Slow Europe, as mentioned by Business Week. 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 only 35 hours per week, are more productive than Americans or British. Germans have established 29 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,
perfection, with more attention to detail and less stress. It means reducing rejects and wastage. It means re-establishing family values, friends, free
and leisure time. Taking the "now", present and concrete, versus the "global", undefined and anonymous future. 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.

In the movie, Scent of a Woman, there's a scene where Al Pacino asks a girl to dance and she replies, "I can't, my boyfriend will be here
any minute now". To which Al responds, "A life is lived in an instant". Then they dance to a tango.

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".

Congratulations for reading till the end of this message. There are many who will have stopped in the middle so as not to waste time in this globalized world.

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This is particularly interesting, especially to people like us, who have been always taught to move fast in life, and those things about hard work is all it takes.Your comments are welcome.

2 comments:

harshit said...

Came across this blog while googling....This piece of writing is simple yet interesting!!!

I also do like the concept of Slow Food. But in thi sfast pace world if i eat slowly ppl around me objects...though that doesn't increase my speed:)

EMC3 said...

There would also be many who stopped reading this in the middle, but not to not waste time, but to spend quality time with their families..