Slow Down… Enjoy Life…

Globalization  has brought about drastic changes in our lives.  We have learned to live in quantity rather than quality.  This fast phase of living has deprived us of the true meaning of life, deprived us of enjoying what has this world to offer.  Our lives has deviated from the basic tenets of existentialism.  Here is a short story of how globalization changed our lives and the need for us to slow down and take a deep breath.  I don’t know the original author of this message, but the message is worthy to reflect on.

An interesting reflection: Slow Down Culture

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.

Said in another words:
1. Sweden is about the size of San Pablo , a state in
Brazil .
2. Sweden has 9.1 million inhabitants.
3. Stockholm , has 776,000 people.
4. Volvo, Escania, Ericsson, and Electrolux are some
of its renowned companies. Volvo supplies the NASA.

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? Imagine my face.

Nowadays, there’s a movement in Europe name 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 35 hours per week, are more productive than
Americans or British. Germans have established 28.8
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, productivity,
perfection, with attention to detail and less stress.
It means reestablishing family values, friends, free
and leisure time. Taking the “now”, present and
concrete, versus the “global”, undefined and
anonymous. 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.