by Jeannie Diep, Advance Humanity Partner
What do you see? Sometimes this is what I see…
In reality this is the real image.
Growing up in a fast paced environment can affect your own pace. You learn to look ahead and not turn back as time will not slow down and others may run you over if you are in the way.
Have we allowed time to control us?
Let's take Thanksgiving 2013 as an example.
Thanksgiving is a holiday to be thankful for those around us and enjoy the company of friends and family. However, as each Thanksgiving day pass by, this holiday has been taken over for capitalist gain. In 2013, the famous Black Friday craze crept into Thanksgiving Day. Therefore, instead of spending time with family and friends during this holiday, some were camping in line to save a few bucks and getting their hands on the latest technology.
Slowing down is not my own forte. I am accustomed to moving at a fast pace and I loved it. However, I noticed that I was not able to enjoy everything around me. When we get caught up in a comfortable routine, the routine is hard to break.
The two images illustrates why slowing down, at least once in a while, is important. If you continue at a one (fast) speed, you will not be able to enjoy the smell of the forest, take in the view, have a conversation without interruption, and possibly learn something new.
So, do we really need to move at the pace of everyone else?
Now, that answer is up to you.
Fun Exercise: People Watching
Try this out. I love to people watch. It is like watching a silent movie. You can make your own subtitles.
By just observing, you can learn how much technology is taking over our lives, how fast people are moving to get to their next destination, and slowly diminishing the relationships they have existing right in front of them.
1. Observe. Just take a few minutes to observe those around you. Not the stalker type of watching.The goal is to open your senses and watch for the verbal and nonverbal cues.
2. Analyze. What did you see while you were observing? Did you see people surfing on their phones while sitting at a table with others? Did you see a person almost running over a pedestrian just to get a close parking spot? I have been guilty of at least one of these. What is taken as priority in these situations and was it material or immaterial? I took this time to self-reflect and I realized that I wanted to slow down and enjoy what I believe is more important (family, friends, life) than material items.
Here are 3 ways to slow down:
1. Learning to say no. I would love to be Wonder Woman, Superman, or any cool superhero. Who wouldn’t want to be a superhero? Superheroes can do it all. However, in reality, it is difficult to do anything by yourself and everything anyone ask of you. Learning to say no is probably the hardest and yet the shortest word to express. This simple word packs a powerful punch when used. Use this sparingly. I have seen people who enjoys helping others and are unable to say no when asked to do something. It is great to know what your limits are here. When you say no, the other person will understand and no guilt will be placed on you.
2. Create your own speed bumps. Take some time to enjoy the beauty around you. Create your own speed bumps in order to slow yourself down. Keep reminding yourself what is important. If you need to, write it down and hang it on your wall to be a constant reminder of what you believe in. Realign your beliefs to your actions. If you are constantly checking your emails for work on your days off, try setting a small time frame in the morning, afternoon or night to check your email once, then go enjoy the rest of your day doing something fun.
3. Self-reflect. Living simply will mean different things to everyone. For me, living simply means living and doing what you believe. Self reflection involves being honest with yourself. Are you spending too much time doing what others want you to do? Are you following the rest of the crowd? What could you live without in life?
By combining these 3 steps, you will be able to start realigning your own goals and begin to slow down to be thankful and enjoy everything you have in your life.