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Get Closer to the Good Life: Ditch the Fast Life with Carl Honoré (Episode #114)

If many days end with you feeling depleted and wondering what just happened because of your dizzying pace, Carl Honoré has insights that will help you break free from this need for speed. Carl is the originator of the “Slow Movement,” a growing way of thinking about how we spend our time: Should we continue rushing through everything, or consciously decide which things we will slow down for so we can truly savor the moments? Due to Carl’s work, there are growing communities around Slow Travel, Slow Food, Slow Schools, Slow Living, Slow Biking, Slow Money, and more.

Episode Highlights

About Our Guest:

The Slow Movement is not about operating at a snail’s pace. It’s about doing things at the right speed: sometimes fast, sometimes slow, and all the different paces, speeds, and rhythms. It is a mindset about being present in the moment. 

“Slow” is about quality over quantity. And Carl Honoré is—arguably—the founder/originator of the movement towards slower living because of a very famous TED Talk that he gave back in 2005. (It’s racked up millions of views!)

Since then, it’s been a slow but powerful burn that is coming to the “conflagration” stage, especially after the pandemic, which gave us all time to pause and decide what’s important. 

Now, if you look for it, you may hear the phrase “Slow…. (something)”  popping up all over the place. 

Just today, a day after my interview with Carl, he sent me an email celebrating the serendipity of a New York Times article that was celebrating “Slow Birding.” (Which is an ideal way to slip into the hobby of bird watching, right from your deck. Not too much effort, and maybe with a gin and tonic in your free hand, while the other holds a pair of binoculars!)

Yes… this is the way most of the slow movements around anything are shaping up. 

They don’t ask us to buy vast quantities of gear, and go on expensive vacations that feel like expeditions. Instead, they reduce whatever activity is at hand to just being able to do that one thing with an element of joy. The Slow Movement encourages us to allow time for three things to happen: 

1) We need to be able to follow our curiosity,

2) We should adopt a mindset that allows serendipity to expand the experience,

3) We want to consciously soak up connections to others or the world around you that we may once have taken for granted.

And in a very practical sense, Carl believes the Western world’s emphasis on the idea that speed erodes health, productivity and quality of life. His work has appeared in publications including The Economist, Observer, The Guardian, The Miami Herald, Houston Chronicle, TIME Magazine, and The National Post. 

In his first three books—In Praise of Slowness, Under Pressure and The Slow Fix—he has taken apart our modern cult of speed and then he carefully helps us examine it, so we can reorient our days around savoring some moments that deserve that treatment.

Carl Honoré’s life has been shaped by his curiosity, his love of language, and his desire to make the world better. After graduating university, he worked with children living on the street in Brazil, and then spent a decade as a journalist covering South America and Europe before switching to writing books. 

Honoré is a highly sought after lecturer who speaks around the world on Slow Living and the Slow Movement, and now, another favorite topic: ageism, about which he offers some amazing insights about our attitudes about aging. (We have an interview on that topic coming out soon!) 

He has two pieces of work that we are delighted to turn you on to: First, his newly released children’s book called “It’s the Journey, Not the Destination.”  

After listening to this interview, if you want more of Carl’s inspiration, he has done a master class for TED.com called ‘How to Slow Down”. This is a very new venture for TED, and Carl was among the first cohort of speakers who were asked to contribute. You can access this course at TED.com after January 9, 2023.

Bottom line: Whether online or in-person, Carl’s way of being—full of good humor and truly present—makes him a dynamic, inspiring, and informative thought leader. 

You will love our conversation. He is truly a wonderful human being. 

Resources Mentioned:

Your Best Time Management: Knowing What to Let Go with Oliver Burkeman (Episode #83)

There is a fresh – rather freeing – perspective when it comes to “time-management” that can relieve us from stressing over our inboxes and to-do lists.  Our guest, Oliver Burkeman, is just the one to have discovered it. For 10 years, he wrote a column for the Guardian about time-management. And then one day, realized that much of the schemes and advice for managing time were nonsense. Instead, the solution to our overwhelming dilemma with time starts somewhere we might never look. This conversation is both freeing and fun.

Read Article Watch Video Listen to Podcast

Show Notes

  • Up Coming Course: How to Slow Down
  • The modern keynote of society has been acceleration
  • The slow revolution is coming fast
  • Even the worst nightmare has a silver lining
  • The pandemic gave us the time and space to ask questions
  • What we have before is gone and its not coming back the way it was
  • BOOK: In Praise of Slowness
  • Crucial first step to slowing down is doing less 
  • Less is more, slower is often better
  • Work is just one component of life
  • What is the right speed?
  • There is an intimate bond between speed and rage
  • Speed separates us, it destroys relationships
  • Time and attention
  • Simple act of gratitude can have all kinds neurological benefits
  • Good sleep is the cornerstone of good health
  • We are sacrificing healthwise on the alter of speed
  • The tabo of slowness
  • Slow cities
  • Changing the dynamic, the energy of the city by introducing two wheels
  • Slow medicines
  • The delicious paradox of slow
  • Slow parenting
  • Sacred requires slowness
  • Road runner culture
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Attention economy
  • The slowfix takes time to put into practice
  • The greates wisdom comes in the phase of not knowing
  • Slow travel
  • Bringing yourself to the journey
  • BOOK: Its the Journey Not the Destination
  • Ann Landers

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