Despite the urgency, lasting change takes much longer than we appreciate.
One way to counteract our impatience is to shift from ‘chronos’ to ‘kairos’ time. Chronos time is sequential time, measured by the clock and which seems to be speeding up. Kairos time bends and stretches, sometimes it even seems to stand still. Chronos is measured by the clock which many of us try to beat. Kairos unfolds like the seasons, following a natural rhythm and waiting for the right moment.
Quebec philosopher Jacques Dufresne explains that kairos was so significant to the ancient Greeks that they turned it into a god, personified by a young man who was bald save for a thick tuft of hair on his forehead – that we might seize the moment as it passed!
Fast change and its partner efficiency relies heavilly on technique and technology. It powers past the relationships we should be cultivating. Slow change gives you time to learn from your mistakes. It helps you recognize the meaning in seemingly random events and to connect the dots between disparate experiences, insights, relationships and activities.
Slow change nurtures the world we want sooner and better than quick fixes.
We live in a culture that has been hijacked by the management consultant ethos. We want everything boiled down to the Power Point slide. We want metrics and ‘show me numbers.’ That runs counter to the immensely complex nature of so many social, economic and political problems. You cannot devise an algorithm to fix them.
Carl Honoré author, The Slow Fix