To Bid the Norm Adieu

“Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly” ~ Mae West

It has been three years since The Power of Slow hit the stands. It has slowly (pun intended!) infiltrated numerous cultures: from India, to South Korea, to China, to even the lovely country of France, which, with its joie de vivre and 35 average vacation days, leaves me a little breathless. One would think a place with so much good wine would not have issues about stress. But in my travels, I have learned even in one of the most beautiful places in the world such as France, people feel the crush of modern life.

It’s time to do things a little more slowly.

Slow resides within. It is a mindset, not a speed. It cannot be measured in units, but in the quality of your life. When we embrace time abundance, we no longer shoulder the weight of too much in too little. Instead, we reverse the relationship to have more resources than are needed. We then simply have more than enough.

An actor friend of mine cried into the phone that she had received an invitation to walk the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival alongside Nicole Kidman, but due to circumstances, was not able to make it in time to do so.

“So here I am on top of this villa, overlooking the Croisette at all these people…and the red carpet.”

I had her repeat her words. Did she really hear them?

“You could be sitting in front of your television set doing the same,” I smiled into the phone. She laughed. C’est vrai!

Life is abundant, if you see it that way.

A reader on my Psychology Today blog recently told me he is a European trapped in an American body. He wants four weeks off every year as most Europeans have (and live in a place where the word “vacation” is not substituted for words like “out of the office” and “on travel”), yet if he even gets one week between Christmas and New Year’s, the work piles up to staggering heights.

Something is wrong with this picture. When you cannot extrapolate yourself from work long enough to catch your breath, the quality of it suffers. We need to bid the norm adieu.

Google has learned the truth of this, at least to some extent. In his widely publicized book Search Inside Yourself, Chief Relaxation Officer Chade-Meng Tan offers up ways to unleash your fullest potential.  Google’s Corporate culture supports the notion of workplace wellness. Whether it is truly put into practice in such a competitive industry is left up to interpretation. I’ll be blogging about Chade-Meng’s book soon. In the meantime, enjoy his 54-minute talk.


  1. redjim99

    May 27, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    We are trained to go to work, and to be productive. All from a very early age. Sitting and thinking, or taking the time to not think is frowned upon. It may even be on your blog that I read about micro-time management. Scary. It has been proved time and time again, that regular breaks and rested people work smarter and are more favourable to new ideas.

    This is why they don’t make Air-traffic controllers work non-stop for more than 45 minutes? (I think its that long) You either encourage standing up and moving about, chatting with colleagues, or you accept toilet breaks, visits to get stationary or to the photocopier etc. occupy half the working day. As always, balance is everything, but we need distractions to work better.


    1. powerofslow


      May 28, 2012 at 9:23 am

      So true, Jim. Diversity gives us focus. Thanks for your comments!

      Kind regards, Christine Louise Hohlbaum

  2. François

    May 29, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    Thank you, I ‘ll never live in the fast lane any more

    1. powerofslow


      May 30, 2012 at 9:27 am

      Great news, Francois! Living at your custom speed can be so life-changing. 🙂

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