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The Age of Speed: If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Hurry Up

The world is moving faster and we are finding ever more ways to be connected. PDAs, cell phones, texting, twittering, blogging, wifi, Hotspots, iPhones, iPods – who can keep up? Life is stressful enough, but it seems every commercial I see these days is bragging about the featured product’s ability to give you more and faster ways to do work in your car, on the subway, even on your vacation!

Slow down and you risk watching the world (and possibly that hot career opportunity) speed by. Try to master it all and you risk burnout. It’s only been a decade since we all got truly accustomed to using and shopping the web and talking on our mobiles while we drive. I don’t have the cage-fighting skills my teen texters possess (though I get to pay the bills). I confess I’m amazed at how rapidly kids these days can consume and master new technology and media. But Vince Poscente makes an interesting argument in his new book The Age of Speed [1]: rather than slow down and avoid joining the fray, jump in to avoid being stressed out by it. In other words, to beat the game, you have to play it, not sit it out. Is this hyper zen?

Poscente offers up a taxonomy of types: zeppelins (technophobes…doesn’t seem to hurt Warren Buffett [2]); balloons (don’t need technology), bottle rockets (frazzled and distracted), and jets (what we want to be). Rather than becoming stressed out by stimulation and constant connection via new technologies, we ought to utilize them to get more done…precisely so we have extra time to theoretically relax. It’s a clever twist and I love reading up on the intersection of micro-trends, psychology and business, but I’m inclined to think the question is not whether to sit the game out or to jump in and play. Perhaps we need a different game.

Stress [3] and its ultimate impact on health and wellbeing is something we focus on quite a bit here at MDA. What’s your approach to this age of speed?

Further Reading: You can read more of our posts about stress here [3].

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