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Happiness is plentiful if we’ll just slow down and live life at a human speed

SHARE Happiness is plentiful if we’ll just slow down and live life at a human speed

When astronauts return to earth, psychologists quickly get them doing things on a "human scale" again.

Being able to hold the earth in your hands like a big, blue beach ball is not on a "human scale."

Bouncing a basketball is.

We feel at home on a human scale. We feel like ourselves.

I'm also convinced we're happier doing things at "human speed" as well.

Success may happen on the high-speed Internet and on high-speed jets.

But happiness has a slower pace.

I know. Some will see me as a fuddy-duddy who can't keep up with the kids. But I've been watching the kids. I've watched my grandkids when they play Monopoly. They chat and joke. They grab a cookie and look out the window. They ponder. They review. Their personalities emerge, not just their skills.

They get to know each other's thoughts and strengths.

They learn to lead and learn to follow.

At human speed, they learn to be human.

I think it's odd we worry so much about natural foods, natural water and natural colors, then turn around and live our lives at unnatural speeds.

We wheel and deal on the freeway at 80 miles an hour.

We rush and bustle through the store.

We tap impatiently on the keyboard if the website of a store in Buenos Aires takes more than a few seconds to flash on our screens.

We crank out e-mails at 90 words a minute, abbreviating half the words to gain even more speed.

And when our rapid transit doesn't carry us rapidly enough, we want our money back — quickly.

Our ancestors moved at human speed. And many of their contributions would have been lost if they'd gone much faster.

What if there had been a bullet train to Canterbury?

The world wouldn't have Chaucer's marvelous tales.

What if Rembrandt had painted with a spray can?

Industrial diamonds can be made in the wink of eye. But they are never the caliber of "natural" diamonds.

There's a good reason why speed-reading isn't flourishing. Speed-reading books of substance is "unnatural" — like speed-eating a good French meal.

People — whether they know it or not — prefer a human pace.

They are happier at human speed.

They say the human heart has only so many beats. No one would jack the thing up to 1,000 beats a minute so they could live their lives in less than eight years.

One of the first lessons I learned in golf was the slower I go, the better I do.

It's a lesson I have to keep learning.

But it's a lesson you can write in stone — with a chisel, mind you, not a laser.