How often do we see individuals travelling 500 kilometres away from their home to experience a world where no one is hurrying and people take time out of their daily routines to stop and appreciate the beauty around them? Isn’t it rather often? Coming back to the same life is a hardship that the same travelers are obliged to face after a little period of leisure. What is astonishing is how quickly our society has become painted in black and white; you are either overworking and living an unhappy life, or you are resting in Greece with no work and living an uncertain existence.
In the blink of an eye, the world changes. One day you’re in the office from 9 AM to 5 PM, and the next you’re restricted within the four walls of your home. We’ve all become caught in an hourglass. There is a growing belief that in order to win the game of life, individuals must rush. Speed is rewarded by professional advancements, peer recognition, and even our inner perception that we are doing well. Those days of earning high scores in twelfth grade and publishing one research article in college guaranteeing a job at big four are long gone. We all feel that working 24 hours a day to try our hand at different activities will get us noticed. We place a high value on multitasking in order to stand out from the crowd. Listening to podcasts while jogging, reading a book while in an elevator, and watching TV while dining are all examples of multitasking. According to one study, when we try to split our attention among numerous activities and tasks at the same time, we pay less attention to each particular activity. So, other than the personal gratification of being productive, there isn’t any advantage to multitasking. We’ve become so engrossed in this competition that even mindfulness meditation sessions are timed.
We have entrenched the idea of moving as quickly as possible so deeply that we adopt it in our daily lives without even realising it. People frequently cut each other off because they are in a hurry. They attempt to speed up discussions by finishing the other person’s words or talking over them. When was the last time any of us listened to someone speak with our whole attention without expecting something in return? We have gotten so preoccupied with applications that help us be productive or manage our time effectively so that we may win the game of ‘who uses their 24 hours to learn the most.’ There is a high demand for applications like LastPass, which saves us time entering passwords over and over, as well as firms that provide ready-to-eat meals. We are getting so impatient as people that waiting for buffering or poor internet connections can set us off. We want 5G to save the 3 seconds it takes for a website to load. We want to order food to avoid spending time travelling to and waiting at a restaurant. Is hurrying really beneficial?
Slowing down does not mean you should stop doing anything; it just means you should enjoy more of what you do. So many of us have been so engrossed in all of this that we have lost sight of what is truly essential. Mitch Albom claims in his book ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ that many individuals live pointless lives. Even when they are engaged in activities they believe are essential, they appear to be half sleeping. This is due to their pursuit of the wrong things. Understanding oneself, one’s passions, and one’s life objectives is a continual introspective process that takes time and effort. It needs you to sit down for a bit and reflect about whether you liked what you did last week or whether you can see yourself living the same life you did the previous year. We are so preoccupied with worldly things like work, family, and having enough money that we are involved in trillions of tiny actions just to keep going that we don’t get into the habit of standing back and looking at our life and asking ourselves, “Is this all that I want?”
Students in their graduation and postgraduate programmes spend hundreds of hours attending CV building workshops or learning how to ace a personal interview in their ideal job. These workshops theoreticalize the entire process of learning and evolving as a person. Your CV should reflect who you are as a person, what you stand for, and what events in your life you believe have moulded you as a person. Similarly, your interviewer is interested in learning about you, not the words of a trainer who has been instructing people to be robots. What works for another person may not work for you. Life is a continuous cycle, and making errors is a natural part of it. We are erasing the most essential aspect of life by learning from others’ errors rather than making our own. If you don’t break into a unicorn business in your third year of college, you’ll do it in your late twenties, and if not in your twenties, you’ll do it in your thirties. We have a long life ahead of us, and we will reach our goals one day, but in order to speed up the process, we are erasing the lines that distinguish each of us.
We are engrossed in materialistic pursuits that do not fulfil us. Napping implies we’ll fall behind the rest of the world and won’t be able to keep up with today’s rapid-fire frenetic pace. Simply sitting quietly or watching a dawn appears to be a waste of time due to the large opportunity costs involved. The frantic pace of life is also having an effect. Not only are we sacrificing our interpersonal connections, but worry, anxiety, and sleeplessness are all too frequent in today’s environment.
How about we all step back from this craziness, find the ideal balance of leisure and work, and genuinely live in the moment with all of our senses?
– Janvi Gupta
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