The present-day trends and tendencies on the part of individuals and nations hold the view that ‘speed and success’ are synonymous both in content and context. Opinions may differ among knowledgeable persons on the subject of ‘fast life, fast buck and fast food’. For some the hectic pace of life is heading towards a priceless possession, whereas for some it is a dubious drift towards perils or problems. Polemics apart, like nations, individuals too have to grasp the basic or rigorous reality that we live in a highly competitive world in which the rise or decline of individuals is determined by the rapid pace of speed with which they respond to new challenges and constantly changing circumstances. The ability to keep pace with the mobility and momentum of fast moving times, as also the determination to sweep aside odds and obstacles and press ahead with reform and restructuring is the key to success.
“Necessity is the mother of invention.” If today the requirements of combating forces inimical to progress and prosperity are urgent and pressing, so is the urgency to accelerate the tempo of our concepts and concrete actions. It is due to the rapid pace of life and other compulsions that we are obliged to win the race against time and adopt all possible means to rush help to those peoples who are in dire straits. Since there is no gain without pain, it is but natural that the more we exert to break previous records and accomplish targets, the more we suffer the ill effects of our burnt out energies.
It is not only individuals who have benefited the most from rapid strides made on the path-breaking parameters of ‘speed and success’, but the world as a whole has achieved unprecedented supremacy over ‘time and space’. The speed with which we can travel across the globe, and even probe space and other planets, is a telling tribute to the tone and temper of life that has adjusted itself so well with mind-boggling miracles brought about by ‘man, mind and machine’.
Undoubtedly, speed offers thrill. The axiom ‘slow and steady wins the race’ has lost much of its relevance. The need of the hour is to steal a march over others, be they natural phenomena or human hindrances, and register success stories without delay. There is no denying that rapid pace of life has contributed a lot to progress and prosperity (that we see around) in patches and pouches.
No other era stands out for its conspicuous contradictions and palpable paradoxes as ours. If there are path-breaking success stories, fully backed by race against time, there are innumerable instances of anger, angst and alienation staring us in the face. We are living in the best of times, as also in the worst of times. We are a living witness to enthralling, enchanting, delicious, delectable paradoxical ironies and ironical paradoxes.
‘Sky is the limit’ has become both a motive and a marvel. Passions and pursuits are directed toward tackling many a problem that confronts us. The state of helplessness in the face of colossal upheavals is a thing of the past. Targets and deadlines no longer pose serious challenges, because human beings, with their hearts in ‘proper place’ and minds in ‘meticulous mould’, have learnt to outsmart or outwit them.
To say or assert with authority that the spectrum of life is all colourful and there are no dark spots, is only half-true. The other half is littered with the fearsome findings of psychiatrists and psychologists, who see the emerging trends among the most successful and busy bodies highly disturbing. A thrill in senses and a thorn in flesh—this is how one can describe the curves and contours of the rapid pace of present-day life.
Given the pressure of the work place and stiff deadlines and targets, health is not a priority at this level. Spondylitis, high blood pressure, and backache, ulcers that are directly related to stress, even a niggling cardiac problem, are worries that today’s baby boomers are grappling with. No doubt, the rewards offered for good work have gone up. So there is an urge to outperform others. There is certainly a trend for people who are at the top and financially comfortable to venture out into other unrelated areas, which they had missed out because of their hectic life style. There is a massive trend and is visible more and more. The lament: ‘What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare.’ —W.H. Davies is both timely and telling.