Friday, October 1, 2010

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans...

I read this on Shwetal's blog... This one truly deserves a read... Hope this lifestyle/attitude culture moves forward - even if slowly. Don't know who the author is, but as long as the message gets conveyed, it doesn't matter...

It's been 18 years since I joined Volvo, a Swedish company. Working for them has proven to be an interesting experience. Any project here takes 2 years to be finalized, even if the idea is simple and brilliant. It's a rule.

Globalized processes have caused in us (all over the world) a general sense of searching for immediate results. Therefore, we have come to possess a need to see immediate results. This contrasts greatly with the slow movements of the Swedish. They, on the other hand, debate, debate, debate, hold x quantity of meetings and work with a slowdown scheme. At the end, this always yields better results.

1. Sweden has 2 million inhabitants.
2. Stockholm has 500,000 people.
3. Volvo, Escania, Ericsson, Electrolux, are some of its renowned companies. Volvo even supplies NASA.

The first time I was in Sweden, one of my colleagues picked me up at the hotel every morning. It was September, bit cold and snowy. We would arrive early at the company and he would park far away from the entrance (2000 employees drive their car to work).

The first day, I didn't say anything, neither the second or third days. One morning I asked him, "Do you have a fixed parking space? I've noticed we park far from the entrance even when there are no other cars in the lot."

To which he replied, "Since we're here early we'll have time to walk, don't you think that whoever gets in late will need a place closer to the door?" Imagine my face.

Now-a-days, there's a movement in the world named 'Slow Food'. This movement establishes that people should eat and drink slowly, with enough time to taste their food, spend time with the family, friends, without rushing. 'Slow Food' is against its counterpart, 'Fast Food' and what it stands for as a lifestyle. 'Slow Food' is the basis for a bigger movement called 'Slow Down'.

Basically, the movement questions the sense of "hurry" and "craziness" generated by globalization, fuelled by the desire of "having in quantity" (life status) versus "having with quality", "life quality" or the "quality of being".

French people, even though they work 35 hours per week, are more productive than Americans or British. Germans have established 28.8 hour workweeks and have seen their productivity driven up by 20%.

This slow attitude has come to the notice of USA , the pupils of the fast and "do it now" brigade.

This no-rush attitude doesn't represent doing less or having a lower productivity. It means working and doing things with greater quality, productivity, perfection, with attention to detail and less stress. It means re-establishing family values, friends, free and leisure time. Taking the "now", present and concrete, versus the "global", undefined and anonymous. It means taking humans' essential values, the simplicity of living. It stands for a less coercive work environment, more happy, lighter and more productive work place where humans enjoy doing what they know best how to do.

It's time to stop and think on how companies need to develop serious quality with no-rush that will increase productivity and the quality of products and services, without losing the essence.

In the movie, 'Scent of a Woman', there's a scene where Al Pacino asks a girl to dance and she replies, "I can't, my boyfriend will be here any minute now."
To which Al Pacino responds, "A life is lived in an instant."
Then they dance the tango!

Many of us live our lives running behind time, but we only reach it when we die of a heart attack or in a car accident rushing to be on time. Others are so anxious to live for the future that they forget to live the present, which is the only time that truly exists.

We all have equal time throughout the world. No one has more or less. The difference lies in how each one of us does with our time. We need to live each moment. As John Lennon said, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

Author's note: You must also read: "Take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints!"


Nice one... don't you think?!!


  1. Very nice post... quite inspirational :-)

  2. "Since we're here early we'll have time to walk, don't you think that whoever gets in late will need a place closer to the door?"
    Such thoughtfulness!

  3. I agree with the title"Life is what hapens to you while you're busy making other plans" because we are experiencing this.

  4. loved d slow down concept.. only wen will v indians tk it up.... guess d greener pastures on d odr side is alwaz remains.. while we r running aftr d fast life trying to outdo d odr.. d west r taking up d slow spproach... more relxd d life in d true sense..

    sure can imagine d look on ur face abt d parking space thing,,, dats sm way f thinkin.. sounds gud but here back home how a person wud d declared crazy on papers 4 doing so ;p.. but only if all cud think dat way in all aspects f life.. wot a life v will hv. but guess only in dreams.. or far off western lands... still proud f india tho not so proud f being an indian..... diff 4m ur usual real looooonnng infrmtv posts :P.. but loved dis 1.. 4 am sm1 who wud love d slow life so can atlst live d life n not rush thru it..


    PS u wrk wid volvo?? kool .. naukri dilvado yar :P.. u ppl hire MCA's?? n dis is on a serious note,,, tk cr f d kiddo n urself..

  5. A very apt article... truly if only everybody understands this .... anti-"ASAP" concept .... nice one :)

  6. hi rashmi, thanks for wonderful and meaningful post.. keep posting..

  7. @ The cost of enterprise mobility solutions: Absolutely... and welcome here...

  8. @ Sobhit: Thats true... we should live our lives and not rush through it. Very well said...

    P.S. I do not work for Volvo. I found this post on Shwetal's blog... I have mentioned it at the beginning of this post... :)

  9. @ Dhiman: Thanks... glad you liked it :)

    P.S. Shubho Bijoya!!

  10. @ Anand: Thanks Anand for those encouraging words... and for stopping by my blog :)

  11. ahh.. :-/ ... n seems evn swetal doesnt wrks 4 volovo... nehw wot can i say hard luck :P