“Slowness “ and Investment

Time and Speed :

What is the very first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? Washing up yourself? Draw your curtain and spring out of bed and do ten push-ups to get your blood pumping in the morning? 

Thinking of the colour of a shirt to dress? No, the first thing everyone does, checks the time. ( some may argue that, no, is opening your eye first… kidding :) 

From there onwards, Time will start to tell us what to do next and rushing us to the next assignment and appointment.

This is what according to Carl Honore in his book called “ In Praise of Slowness: “We live in the age of speed. We strain to be more efficient, to cram more into each minute, each hour, each day. Since the Industrial Revolution shifted the world into high gear, the cult of speed has pushed us to a breaking point. Consider these facts:

 Americans on average spend seventy-two minutes of every day behind the wheel of a car, a typical business executive now loses sixty-eight hours a year to being put on hold, and American adults currently devote on average a mere half hour per week to making love.

Living on the edge of exhaustion, we are constantly reminded by our bodies and minds that the pace of life is spinning out of control. In Praise of Slowness traces the history of our increasingly breathless relationship with time and tackles the consequences of living in this accelerated culture of our own creation. Why are we always in such a rush? What is the cure for time sickness? Is it possible, or even desirable, to slow down? Realizing the price we pay for unrelenting speed, people all over the world are reclaiming their time and slowing down the pace -- and living happier, healthier, and more productive lives as a result. A Slow revolution is taking place.”

The clock is the “operating system” of industrial capitalism, “the thing,” Honoré writes, “that makes everything else possible—meetings, deadlines, contracts, manufacturing processes, schedules, transport, working shifts.” Before the clock, of course, humans lived by what he calls Natural Time.

With the IT Revolution : Everyone is “Workaholics “ now

Work has spilt into our personal time. It used to be only “workaholics” worked anytime, anyplace. Nowadays it's very common—and expected ( by your company and boss )—that we work 24/7.
We are talking about “speed “ in every aspect of our life, from “eating, projects, transportation, internet access, medication … to investment return “

Below is the summary of the book from Carl’s website :

What is In Praise of Slow about?

It examines our compulsion to hurry and chronicles a global trend toward putting on the brakes. In other words, it’s about the Slow Movement. It is published in more than 30 languages and has been a bestseller in many countries. The Financial Times said In Praise of Slow is “to the Slow Movement what Das Kapital is to communism.”

What is the Slow Movement?

It is a cultural revolution against the notion that faster is always better. The Slow philosophy is not about doing everything at a snail’s pace. It’s about seeking to do everything at the right speed. Savouring the hours and minutes rather than just counting them. Doing everything as well as possible, instead of as fast as possible. It’s about quality over quantity in everything from work to food to parenting.
When was this Slow idea born?

People have been defending the value of slowness for at least 200 years – think of the Romantics or the Transcendentalists or even the hippies. But the idea of a Slow Movement which seeks to blend fast and slow to help people work, live and play better in the modern world is more recent. Born in Italy in the early 1990s the ****Slow Food movement helped recapture the word slow’ as something positive. But they concentrate on food. More recently Slow has become a universal label to explain the benefits of doing everything at the right speed: sex, work, education, exercise, etc.

What are the tell-tale symptoms of living too fast?

When you feel tired all the time and like you’re just going through the motions, getting through the many things on your To-Do list but not engaging with them deeply or enjoying them very much. You don’t remember things as vividly when you rush through them. You feel like you’re racing through your life instead of actually living it. Illnesses are often the body’s way of saying Enough already, slow down!

Productivity is one thing, but what about pleasure?

Pleasure is certainly a big gain from slowing down. Mae West once said that “Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly” and though she was probably talking about sex (did she ever talk about anything else?) it’s an observation that holds true across the board. We are obsessed with the destination and have lost the art of enjoying the journey. Everything has to be instant so we miss out on the joy of anticipation, of looking forward to things. We lose the pleasure of striving to make something happen. I think that anticipation is a key ingredient in the pleasure of any kind. When we look forward to something, imagining how it will be, planning how to enjoy it, getting a little nervous maybe – when the thing actually happens the pleasure is more intense.

Does that mean the Slow Movement is anti-speed?

No, absolutely not. I love speed. I like my Internet connection to be fast and I play two of the fastest sports around, ice-hockey and squash, in my spare time. I live in London, which is a city of volcanic energy, and I enjoy working to deadlines. Speed has its place in the modern world. Often you have to move quickly, particularly at work. The problem is that speed has become a way of life. We do everything in a rush. We are stuck in fast forward and that is unhealthy.

What is the Slow take on multitasking?

That it’s usually a poor use of time. The latest neuroscientific research suggests what most of us already suspect: that the human brain is not very good at multitasking. Sure there are a few simple or routine tasks we can perform at the same time, but as soon as you have to engage the brain, you really need to focus on one activity at a time. Much of what passes for multitasking is nothing of the sort: it is sequential toggling between activities. And the research suggests that this flitting back and forth is actually very unproductive: tasks can take more than twice as long to complete when performed in this way. That’s why that history essay takes your teenage daughter (with her IMs, cellphone, MySpace page, TV monitor, etc.) three hours to write instead of 90 minutes. Changing attitudes is hard because our culture is marinated in the notion that doing more things at once is somehow deeply modern, efficient and fulfilling. But change is possible. Once people understand the limits of the human brain, it should become easier to kick the multitasking habit. 

Some companies are starting to encourage staff to focus on one activity at a time and wall themselves off from the barrage of electronic interruptions whenever possible. This will take time because most of us are adrenaline-junkies. We need to wean ourselves off multitasking slowly. That means starting with maybe an hour a day focusing on a challenging intellectual task with the gadgets switched off. Or setting aside an afternoon when you perform every task in sequence rather than in overlapping fashion and then seeing how much more quickly and accurately you get your work done. I multi-task a lot less now and find that I am a lot more creative and efficient and I enjoy my life more because I’m more deeply engaged with everything I do.

How do other people react when someone slows down?

No man is an island and when we start slowing down we have to take account of the impact on people around us. That involves warning friends and colleagues, explaining why you are going to do less, unplug your technology more, and ask for more time for work assignments. I was afraid at first that this was going to alienate people, and initially, some were sceptical. But very soon people began to understand that they could no longer reach me 24 hours a day; that I wasn’t going to say Yes to every social and work offer; that I might like a bit more time for a job. What I found is that people around me, after a time of watching me slow down, began to implement similar changes in their own lives.

Can everyone benefit from the Slow revolution?

Yes, slowing down is not just a luxury for the rich. It is, in essence, a mindset. Most of the things that make up a Slow life are available to most people. People on lower incomes can cook simple meals at home and eat them at the table with the TV switched off; they can choose to use their technology in a more balanced way; they can resist the temptation to speed-read bedtime stories to their children; they can avoid over-packing their social schedules by saying No to some things; they don’t have to over-schedule their children with activities; they don’t have to drive fast; and so on.

But doesn’t slowing down have to mean working less and therefore earning less money?

Not necessarily. I probably work the same number of an hour as before; I just work them more slowly. And unless you are living in abject poverty, working/earning less is maybe easier than we think. I was at Malpensa airport in Milan the other day and the man sweeping the floors was talking constantly for at least an hour – on his mobile phone. That costs money. It seems that even for people on lower incomes there can be ways to cut back on consumption and spending. That said, however, I accept that there are some people for example single mothers juggling two jobs – who will find it hard to cut back. But that does not mean the Slow movement is elitist. Every social revolution starts in the middle classes, after all, and then spreads throughout the rest of society.

Some side effects of going fast: 

– Not sleeping enough:  Fatigue has played a part in some of the worst disasters.
– Life of hurry affecting family life.  Spending more time dealing with email as opposed to playing with children.
– We live in the age of Rage:  The smallest setback, the slightest delay, a whiff of slowness, can now provoke fury in otherwise ordinary people.
– Spending long hours working on computers can make people impatient with anyone who fails to move at the speed of software.

How to slow down? 

The author says that the Slowness trend has been catching on everywhere in the world.  People are realizing the benefits of work-life balance.

Avoid eating solo, on the move, or while doing something else – working, driving, reading the newspaper, watching TV, or surfing the Net.  Instead, enjoy a slower meal by sitting down with family or friends.

Avoid the cult of doing everything faster.  Avoid answering work calls on the weekends.  If there is a way to cycle to work instead of driving, try it.

Take vacations when needed.  Avoid rushing around, checking emails, blackberries, Internet during your vacation.  In the end, you return home more tired than when you left.

Sometimes, we need to find the time to just sit in a chair, close our eyes and just relax.  In the high-speed workplace, we are all under pressure to think quickly.   The brain can work wonders in high gear.  But it will do so much more if given the chance to slow down from time to time. Shifting the mind into lower gear can bring better health, inner calm, enhanced concentration and the ability to think more creatively.

Relaxation is important.  Research has shown that people think more creatively when they are calm, unhurried and free from stress.  More often people get their eureka moments when they are in a relaxed state—soaking in the bath, cooking a meal or even jogging in the park.

Meditation is one way to train the mind to relax.  A visit to a meditation retreat can help a lot.

The author bemoans the almost dying leisure activities, such as gardening, socializing, and knitting.  Most people are still more likely to watch television rather than gardening or knitting.

Reading, participating in book clubs, painting, sculpting, and listening to or playing music are excellent leisure activities.

Finally – find the middle path, the balance – instead of doing everything faster, do everything at the right speed.  It means remaining calm and unflustered even when circumstances force us to speed up. 

image credit to weibo.com

Think, Fast and Slow

This is not a book to promote “ slowness “, but a book on how the two systems of our mind that drive the way we think and make choices.

Thinking, Fast and Slow is a best-selling 2011 book by Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics winner Daniel Kahneman which summarizes research that he conducted over decades, often in collaboration with Amos Tversky, It covers all three phases of his career: his early days working on cognitive biases, his work on prospect theory, and his later work on happiness.

The book's central thesis is a dichotomy between two modes of thought: "System 1" is fast, instinctive and emotional; "System 2" is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The book delineates cognitive biases associated with each type of thinking, starting with Kahneman's own research on loss aversion. From framing choices to people's tendency to substitute an easy-to-answer question for one that is harder, the book highlights several decades of academic research to suggest that people place too much confidence in human judgement.

Concept explained: Two System Thinking by Wikipedia

Two systems

In the book's first section, Kahneman describes two different ways the brain forms thoughts:

System 1: Fast, automatic, frequent, emotional, stereotypic, subconscious.

System 2: Slow, effortful, infrequent, logical, calculating, conscious.

Kahneman covers a number of experiments which purport to highlight the differences between these two thought systems and how they arrive at different results even given the same inputs. Terms and concepts include coherence, attention, laziness, association, jumping to conclusions, and how one forms judgments. The System 1 vs. System 2 debate dives into the reasoning or lack thereof for human decision making, with big implications for market research.

Heuristics and biases

The second section offers explanations for why humans struggle to think statistically. It begins by documenting a variety of situations in which we either arrive at binary decisions or fail to precisely associate reasonable probabilities with outcomes. Kahneman explains this phenomenon using the theory of heuristics. Kahneman and Tversky originally covered this topic in their landmark 1974 article titled Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases.

Kahneman uses heuristics to assert that System 1 thinking involves associating new information with existing patterns, or thoughts, rather than creating new patterns for each new experience. For example, a child who has only seen shapes with straight edges would experience an octagon rather than a triangle when first viewing a circle. In a legal metaphor, a judge limited to heuristic thinking would only be able to think of similar historical cases when presented with a new dispute, rather than seeing the unique aspects of that case. In addition to offering an explanation for the statistical problem, the theory also offers an explanation for human biases. E.g. ( Anchoring, Framing, Loss Aversion, Availability, Sunk-cost etc. )

Rationality and happiness

Evolution teaches that traits persist and develop because they increase fitness. One possible hypothesis is that our conceptual biases are adaptive, as are our rational faculties. Kahneman offers happiness as one quality that our thinking process nurtures. Kahneman first took up this question in the 1990s. At the time most happiness research relied on polls about life satisfaction.

Two selves

Kahneman proposed an alternate measure that assessed pleasure or pain sampled from moment to moment, and then summed over time. Kahneman called this "experienced" well-being and attached it to a separate "self". He distinguished this from the "remembered" the well-being that the polls had attempted to measure. He found that these two measures of happiness diverged. 

His major discovery was that the remembering self does not care about the duration of a pleasant or unpleasant experience. Rather, it retrospectively rates an experience by the peak (or valley) of the experience, and by the way it ends. Further, the remembering self dominated the patient's ultimate conclusion.

If You want to increase your Happiness: Buy Experience Not Things

This is a very good article on how the experiential purchases like trips, concerts, movies, etc., tend to trump material purchases because the utility of buying anything really starts accruing before you buy it.

Experiential purchases are also more associated with identity, connection, and social behaviour. Looking back on purchases made, experiences make people happier than do possessions.

One result is that we don't reflect—we react. Fast Thinking, which is linear and logical, is what we do under time pressure. Slow Thinking, which we do in the shower or walking the beach, results in insight and creative epiphanies. Slow Thinking, in other words, is unpredictable. Free.

Similarly, success in investing is not about doing it fast or getting the highest return in the shortest time frame, or even a promising of getting rich program with  20-40% of return in a year. Always remember that there is No Free Lunch and  Get-Rich-Quick Scheme “ in the world.


Quote Of The Day:

“ There is more to life than increasing its speed . “ by Mahatma Gandhi


  1. Hi StE

    Slowness is indeed something which I am seeking to integrate into my life. Slow but more meaningful I think thats the way to go and the steps I am taking from hereon.

    1. Hi B,
      Yah!indeed, after leaving corporate world in 2014, I have slow down in every aspect of my life. .take a slow walk in the park. ..slowly enjoying breakfast with Mrs STE. .even taking train going back to my home town in Malaysia during non peak hours. .although the train stop by at many stations. .but we take our time to enjoy the very moments. Sometime we will also take a longer route by taking bus (direct) although we cud reach the destination by MRT with transit. ..that's how we enjoy our " moments " now. ..

  2. STE,

    Health is wealth. While we can slow everything down during retirement, we should increase our quality time in pursuing health such exercise and eating quality food.

    1. Hi Ray,
      Yes ! Indeed, " health is wealth " ,stress cause most of the illness eg hypertension, gastric, ulcers, migraine, backache etc...yup..more exercise n eat healthy is rather important. .👏👏

  3. “慢稳忍”高明的拙招












    1. Hi Ray ,
      说的好 ! This is real meaning of "Slowness " in Investment ...hahaha :)

      Cheers !!


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