How Slow Can You Go ? (...and why...)

Updated: Sep 11, 2020

When was the last time you really tried to think or act in a different way? In a way that would be completely opposite to what you are used to. I tried something different the other day, and was surprised by the new points of view I discovered.

I’ve felt overwhelmed by the discussions and headlines dealing with the modern hectic lifestyles, increasing stress and the search for a new balance in life. It’s obvious things in overall are not ok. Why else would we be in a constant search for life changing philosophies? Fact is that the growing pressures to be productive, active and on-the-go affect many of us in a most harmful way.

One thought led to another and I started to think about balance and productivity from an artisans point of view. I make things by hand, and it takes considerable time and effort. It is the very nature of artisanry, work being slow and laborious. But like most of us, I also feel that same pressure to work faster and faster. I can’t help but wonder, how this hurry-thinking will affect the quality of my work and the ways I enjoy working.

So I had an idea, that maybe I could benefit from taking a completely opposite attitude towards all this. What if I were to experiment with working as slowly as humanly possible?

On a warm August evening I took my hook and a ball of yarn and sat outside. Made the first loop and started to crochet. Keeping the pace as slow as I could, I created a mix of different stitches. Only focusing on the speed, instead of attempting to crochet anything sensible. Being sensible at this time would have made me lose the point of the entire experiment.

I quickly became aware of how I needed to change my attitude towards controlling my actions. There was no need to hurry or be productive. In fact, pushing myself to exceed my limits would be the wrong way to go. I needed to focus on controlling my speed and restricting myself from my normal standard of working. The experience was very eye opening. Doing the opposite to what I have become used to over the decades was giving me a sensation of renewal.

It was surprisingly demanding to keep things slow and not to pace myself. The thought of speeding things up is incredibly deeply rooted in our thinking, and this slow philosophy seemed almost heretic in nature. Our western obsession of productivity seemed to become obsolete. Does being overproductive increase our quality of living, or destroy it? What do we actually gain from immersing ourselves in the culture of being busy and productive?

To many this experiment most certainly counts just as an exercise in futility. But for me it gave inspiration to continue researching alternative ways of thinking.

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