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Life in Slow Motion – Meet Mr Slow-Guru

Life after Lockdown

Advice: The fastest way to create a sustainable planet is to re-invent time. Slow down – save the planet.

TIME FOR CHANGE: It is not the first time Geir Berthelsen repeats something he said on several occasions; “It is time to re-invent time”. After two pandemic years, his prediction gained new and different relevance about Life in slow motion. Berthelsen is the creator of World Institute of Slowness, here to tackle our “fire-fighting culture”. And repeate: Slow down – save the planet! The Slow-Guru has reached a solution: “The fastest way to create a sustainable planet is to slow down”.

A World of slowness is about work and way of life
A World of slowness is about work and way of life: Slow down – Save the Planet!

The Norwegian Think Tank creator demonstrates the best thinking often comes from a walk in the Slow lane.
“After Lockdown, we realise that our «schedule mentality» has been disrupted. Our society still exists even if many people have to work from their home using their own Human Time”.

We are at crossroads

-Did Corona and lockdown change our life?
“Most problems are related to time and Corona forced the world to a standstill. We are at crossroads, and realized that it don´t take much to increase productivity. In other words, something good came out of the crisis – more people discover that togetherness is what life is really about”

Geir Berthelsen, the founder of World Institute of Slowness
Geir Berthelsen, the founder of World Institute of Slowness

Stress our main enemy

This is the reason Berthelsen concludes the need to reinvent time in a way that creates a mindset making us more playful.

“We will become much more intelligent, and it will combat our main enemy, which is stress. All research shows that the more stressed we become, the dumber we get. Life is not a race. It is supposed to be a play with a focus on here and now. Only by being “here and now” can we connect in real “Human time”

Fast and slow thinking

Mr Berthelsen founded The World Institute of Slowness in 1999, with the distinct aim to change the way people think about values, speed, and our approach to work and life.
“Most of us can go through high school and university without really understanding what thinking is and how our thinking influences our lives. That is a shame. Fast thinking is your autopilot — automatic responses that dictate your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Slow thinking is what’s happening when you turn off your autopilot. Slow thinking is the understanding of our thinking process and how thoughts make a reality”, Geir Berthelsen says.

Beer or not..: The art of brewing the slowest beer in the world. Slow beer from Higher Humper Farm in Devon, England.
Beer or not..: The art of brewing the slowest beer in the world. Slow beer from Higher Humper Farm in Devon, England.

The Railway Time

Last time was reinvented was with the introduction of train to the UK. Before that, each city had its sun clock, and the time was different from city to city. But the introduction of the railroad, a schedule was needed. GMT was ultimately adopted across Great Britain by the Railway Clearing House in 1847 to be able to use the trains effectively. It officially became ‘Railway Time’ by the mid-1850s, and then changed to Greenwich Mean Time in November 1884.

-Why did you start the Institute of Slowness?
“To facilitate what a good life is. Namely that you often smile, dream big, time for reflection and realize what you really have: Life and human time. You know, our problems are not lack of time but the way we perceive time”.

Slow motion in human relations

Berthelsen believes that the rulers of our society, media and major brands, definitely should take “Slow Down” movement seriously.

“The psychologists tell us that a person’s basic needs are exercise, belonging, care and love. These values can only be reached with slowness in human relations. We need to promote human interaction based on fundamental human values.
To achieve this, the media and brands needs to take a walk in the slow lane and focus on creating the best possible societies.  And the focus must be on belonging, care and love”.

Slowness at work

For the purpose of this story, I decided to follow Berthelsen advice and spent a whole working day to finish my writing. Just to test how slow working works out. I had plenty of time for thinking and reflection about the meaning with this article. I logged on to my emails several times, and had extra coffee breaks before the final writing. Normally, I would finish it half the time.

Berthelsen point out slow working doesn’t just mean making time to relax. The key is to use time to reflect and on our relation to colleagues. He has some rules for slowness at work. Such as speak to people, call people by name, be sincere and generous with praise and always be ready to help.

Life is like a dance

-Do you live as you predict?
“Yes, mostly. I spend a lot of time on this, and even my life can turn out to be a bit tense. Most of us have been marinated for everything to go fast. But it’s fun to provoke with the fact that the road is important, not the goal”.

-What is your best advice for a slower life?
“Always have time for reflections about your role in work and in life. Life is like a dance – you don´t want the dance to end”
Geir Berthelsen is certainly quick for a slowness guru – and try to live up to his working title: The Slow CEO.

Berthelsen provoke that the road is important, not the goal.
Berthelsen provoke that the road is important, not the goal.

Slow down – Save the Planet!

Slowness is also about balance, so if you must hurry, then hurry slowly. It´s about to Slow down – Save the Planet!

Slowing down Quotes: “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” And this one: “Once she stopped rushing through life, she was amazed how much more life she had time for.”
Said about life and slow motion: Life is death in slow motion.

Fast life meaning in the UK dictionary; A lifestyle by excitement, extravagance, and risk-taking.
Synonym for slow motion: Slow mo, funeral pace, snail´s pace, dull and sleepy.
Quote about slowing down: “We need to learn the slow “yes” and the quick “no”
About Life in Slow Motion: “Life is death in slow motion”.

More to read: Slow life Power you shouldn´t forget


Gudmund Lindbaek
Gudmund Lindbaek
Journalist founded King Goya online travel magazine. Meeting people for engaging stories. I´m off to uncover the best strategies for long life living. This is part of my venture “Around the World in 80 Lanes” – about travel, run sprint, staying fit! I just want a tiny slice of adventures to feel alive, and then excited to return home.


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