left Xtraordinary Living At Its Best: Faster is not better - Challenging the Cult of Speed

Saturday, December 16, 2006

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Faster is not better - Challenging the Cult of Speed

While I was in Machu Pichu I read this fascinating book - In Praise of Slowness - Challenging the Cult of Speed. The author explores, in convincing and skillful prose, a quiet revolution known as "the slow movement," which is attempting to integrate the advances of the information age into a lifestyle that is marked by an "inner slowness" that gives more depth to relationships with others and with oneself.

A big reason why my experience while in Machu Pichu was so powerful, was that I was able to slow down from my habitual "faster is better" pace. The material in this book helped me slow down on several occasions. This yielded some surprising - end welcome - insights.

I'll share one in particular. One morning, a group of about 10 of us set out to hike up the Waynapichu peak. This is a very steep and rather difficult hike. We were told that it would take about 1 hr. to climb up to the top. Given that the path to the top is very narrow, we started out in single file. Since all of us were in different physical shape, we soon started separating into clusters.

As I watched my wife Jessica and my partner's wife Robin taking off, the competitor in me wanted to try to keep up with them - even though there was no way that I could since they are in far better physical shape than I am. So my next thought was - "Ok, I won't be able to keep up with them, but I can at least push myself to see how fast I can make it." And it was then that it "hit" me how obsessed I am with speed.

I had no reason to hurry. In fact, as I looked around and surveyed my surroundings, I realized that going slowly allowed me to take it all in. I then made a conscious choice to slow my pace down. It was magnificent!

The topic of our next yearlong course is Passionate & Balanced Living. My course has already started!

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Diana Dron said...


I learned when I went to college in Idaho, that I needed two weeks to slow down to the pace of Idaho life. However, the minute I got back to southern California, I snapped right back into the fast paced life. Competition was prevelant throughout my life, no matter whether at school, work, or on vacation.

Fortunately, with a lot of help from PL&L, I realized that I do not have to compete in every activity in my life - I can choose to do things differently, sometimes by myself, and I chose to do so when in Machu Pichu. Instead of doing the climb to the Sun Gate with 15-20 other people, I turned around and headed back into the ruins and spent a wonderful four hours by myself hiking around the ruins, watching the clouds move in among the ruins, sitting under the guard tower and becoming one with nature for a time, and listening to the music from Angie's flute (I was at the Guard Tower and she was up at the Sun Gate).

Thank you for a much better way to live!


Genie Dee said...


Pardon my perspective, but I never associated you or PL&L with slowing down, for anything! I tended to associate PL&L more with competition, keeping up, etc. Perhaps this broader perspective has always been there, and I was unaware. In any case, I enjoyed your comments, and Machu Picchu was certainly as extraordinary as you described it.

Thanks for making it possible for me to visit Machu Picchu as a PL&L paraticipant, having all the logistics handled, so I could focus on the wonder that is there. I wish you, all of PL&L, and all who visit the site a joyful and inspiring holiday!

Fredo said...


I enjoyed your timely post on the benefits of slowing down and was pleasantly surprised to hear it coming from you, one I would have taken for a real Speedie Gonzalez. If we could just get the corporate culture on board with this, we might really see some change for the better. Thank you for the reminder.