What does efficiency mean to you?
During my trip to California this past weekend, I had plans to travel from San Rafael, CA (an hour north of the Golden Gate Bridge) to San Francisco State University for a meeting, then to Stanford University to visit the reportedly gorgeous campus. Turns out that the campus is absolutely gorgeous, but that’s besides the point here. So what’s my point?
I was waiting for a bus that’s supposed to come at 8.33am in the morning. The bus showed up 15 minutes late. Surprise surprise. So much for efficiency huh. An hour and a half later, I couldn’t be pissed off any longer, because somehow the bus maneuvered its way to be on time. Then, I took the Muni train in an expensive but effortless trip. Everything is timed, so you don’t really get too agitated waiting for the trains. After my meeting, I took the Muni train to the BART station. Here’s where the fun really begins. The short story: Got to the BART. Waited 10 mins for a train to Millbrae Station. Was given 3 mins to transfer to the Caltrain. Took the bullet Caltrain to Palo Alto. The bus to Stanford came 2 minutes after. It was amazingly efficient. I appreciated that they planned all this out to make the trip as short as possible.
But.. it was also incredibly stressful.
And is it really necessary?
Time plays a disconcertingly powerful role in our world. I often feel like I’m on such a tight calendar and forced to always worry about the future. I’m forced to plan what I’m going to do next. I’m forced to make In an increasingly busy world, we expect things to run on time and everything to be on schedule. Efficiency is king. The slow falls behind. And if you consider the rarity of the ‘fast and steady’ breed, then I can generalize that the steady falls behind as well. Efficiency, one of the knights of our society, yells
What if I don’t want to hurry up? Can I refuse?
What does time do for us anyway? What does efficiency mean?
Efficiency boosts our productivity perhaps, but does it boost our well-being. Research has shown that time balance is one of the keys to happiness. Why do we jam-pack our days and expects things to always function efficiently? Why are we expected to be doing something on the time? What’s it all in the name of? Efficiency? GDP? Wealth? Success? Or worse, happiness?
Maybe we should slow down. Maybe we can slow down. Maybe we can slow down and take in everything that’s around us and cherish the relationships we have. Maybe we can slow down and understand who we are and get inspired by our nature.
Hurry up! It’s time to slow down.