Feeling Groovy and the “Slow Culture” Revolution…A Q&A with Carl Honoré

Aug 28, 2013 by



Carl Honoré, Author, Social Change Agent & WWB Wise Guru


Lauroly- Welcome Carl. I am truly honored to have the opportunity to do this Q&A with you. You are truly a wise guru and can’t wait to share your work, ideas and book with everyone.  I guess we should begin by touching  on what the “slow movement” is and how it really began in the early 1990’s in Italy with the SLOW FOOD movement.  It is wonderful to see the paradigm shift spread positively to other areas of culture.  It is no surprise that there is a slow movement, as we are literally living in a world that is always in “fast forward” mode.

What makes you so wise to me is you were able to step back and observe your own life as you were swept up in the culture of rushism.  Self-reflection and individuation is a challenging thing to do when the prevailing culture is demanding your submission to “get with the program”! Tell us what personally inspired you to write your first best-selling book “IN PRAISE OF SLOWNESS”. 





International Best-Selling Book by Carl Honoré

Carl Honore:  For me the starting point was deeply personal. My life had become an endless race against the clock. I was always in a hurry, scrambling to save a minute here, a few seconds there. My wake-up call came when I found myself toying with the idea of buying a collection of one-minute bedtime stories – Snow White in 60 seconds! – to read to my son. Suddenly it hit me: my rushaholism has got so out of hand that I’m even willing to speed up those precious moments with my children at the end of the day. There has to be a better way, I thought, because living in fast forward is not really living at all. That’s why I began investigating the possibility of slowing down.

Lauroly Q- I always ask this question…”Is culture shaping us or are we shaping culture”?  It seems “the culture of speed” is being shaped by us. It still amazes me to see soccer Moms in their SUV’s driving and texting at the same time ( U.S phenomenon I am sure).  How did we ever accept this as “ok” in our culture knowing we could endanger the lives of passengers in our car and others on the road? Texting while driving is some form of compulsive behavior which is just as destructive as any other irrational compulsion no? What are the three tell tale signs of a speedaholic? 


WWB Wonder: Are we all “roadrunners” trying to accelerate but leaving a path of destruction behind us?



Carl Honore:  Sadly, what you describe is anything but a U.S only phenomenon. The virus of hurry has infected most of the planet. You find soccer moms texting and charging through red lights all over Europe, believe me. One almost ran me over this morning when I was out rollerblading. She was texting as she turned into a side street. When I complained, she just swore at me.

To me, the three tell-tale signs of a speedaholic are the following…



1. Chronic multitasking. The human brain cannot do more than one thing well at the same time. When we try to, the result is that we do the things less well and take more time doing them. That is a scientific fact. But our hurry-up, do-everything-faster culture has turned multitasking into a virtue. If you often find yourself doing several things at once, that is a sign of speedaholism.

2. If you’re tired all the time, or suffering from illneses . That is often the body’s way of saying you’re moving too fast and need to put on the brakes.

3. Failing memory is another sign. There is an intimate link between slowness and remembering. When life rattles along at breakneck speed, everything becomes a blur and nothing sticks. You end up skimming the surface of experiences, accelerating your life instead of living it. A common symptom of this is struggling to remember anything. Like what you did last weekend. Or ate for breakfast. Or what your partner whispered to you in bed the other night.


Latest Best Seller by Carl Honoré

Lauroly Q- Your new book THE SLOW FIX really delves into the real genius of “slow” and aims to show us how the quick fix is never a wise modus operandi. Problem solving is a slow process and a creative process yet nobody seems to have the patience for any slow development these days. We worship companies like Apple who really didn’t succeed overnight did they? They tweaked, refined and made a few “mistakes” before becoming a behemoth technology company. I like how you explain the human brain mechanisms, System 1 and System 2 in your book.  Share with us the psychology behind our quick fix mentality and why we humans are so vulnerable when it comes to the allure of “speed” and instant gratification. 

Carl Honore:  I think two things are going on here. First, biology. Our bodies and brains are wired to reward us for seeking out short-term solutions that require minimum effort. But on top of that we’ve created an entire culture that pushes us into the arms of the quick fix. The media demands instant remedies for every problem; the financial markets reward short-term thinking; the political system favours those who think in terms of the next elections rather than long term. The self-help industry peddles endless quick fixes. Underpinning all of this is a culture that glorifies speed for its own sake and holds up busyness as a badge of honour. Put all of this together and it’s no wonder we reach for a band-aid solution when deeper surgery is needed.

Lauroly Q- You compare the slow fix to a special recipe which requires the blending of key ingredients. What do you think the most important key ingredient is when trying to slow down in a culture of speed? Can we really beat the culture? 

Carl Honore:  As a natural optimist, I definitely think we can beat the culture. I believe strongly that we have reached a point in history where change is not only necessary but also inevitable. For at least the last 150 years we have been accelerating everything. And during most of that time speed did us more good than bad, which is why the proponents of slowness (such as the hippies) remained on the cultural fringe. But in recent years, with the explosion of information technology and the global economy, speed has entered the stage of diminishing returns. It is now doing us more harm than good – look at what the constant hurry does to our diets, health, work, relationships, communities and the environment. And that is why the Slow revolution is gathering momentum.

The economic crisis of recent years is a searing wake-up call, a reminder that our fast-forward way of life is pernicious and unsustainable. The economy was all about fast growth, fast profits and fast consumption – and look at how it almost steered us into an economic apocalypse.


People are starting to understand that we need profound change in the way we run our economies and societies, and in the way we live together. There is a real hunger for change, for doing things differently, for living at the right speed rather than as fast as possible. Slow is not some fashion you read about in the Sunday newspaper and then it’s gone two months later.  I believe Slow is a powerful philosophy that can change the world.

I would direct the skeptics out there to look at the history of other social revolutions. Take the rise of feminism. In the 60s, when feminists said the world was unjust and the moment for change had come, the mainstream reaction was: “No, the world has always been this way. You can’t change it. Go back to the kitchen!” But look at the world today. Obviously there is a long way to go to create a world of perfect gender equality, but a woman today could hardly imagine how severely life was limited for her grandmother. I look at my sister and my grandmother and marvel at the change in just two generations. And the green movement has followed a similar arc: it was dismissed as a plaything for hippies and tree-huggers thirty years ago but today is near the top of the political agenda. The message is that the world can change, if we want it to.

For a cultural revolution to occur, you need three factors: the need for change; an awareness of the need for change; and people willing to put that change into practice. We now have all three factors in place for the Slow Revolution to push on. I think the Slow movement is at the same point as feminism or green-ism was 30 or 40 years ago. We won’t change the world, or make it Slow, next month or next year. But it will happen.

You asked what is the key ingredient of the Slow Fix.  If I had to choose one, I’d probably choose the first one in the book, which is why I made it the first chapter: that is, the willingness to admit to mistakes. This takes time because you have to deal with the discomfort and emotional fallout that usually attends a mea culpa. But it’s almost always the first step to clearing the air and unlocking the door to fresh thinking on the problem.


There is also a meta point to be made here. By the same token, the first step towards moving the Slow revolution into the mainstream is also the willingness to admit the folly of our ways, to accept that faster is not always better. The flip side of our roadrunner culture is a deep taboo against slowness – slow is a pejorative term, a byword for lazy, torpid, unproductive, stupid. This means that even when we can feel in our bones that putting on the brakes would be good for us, we are afraid or ashamed to do it. The first step towards smashing this taboo is admitting that we were wrong to create it in the first place.

Lauroly closing:  I could go on forever talking with you about the fascinating culture of speed and it’s degenerating effects.  But I don’t even know if any of my readers actually get to the end of my blog posts! lol. Thanks so much for joining me Carl and I look forward to more of your enlightening cultural insights in whatever format you deliver it. Take your time–I promise to be patient because I know it will be really good! 

What a great conversation! In the spirit of creating change and spreading wise ideas, I hope you share this blog post with others by using the share buttons provided below. You can also learn more about Carl at his website and follow him on Twitter @carlhonore.  Come support Carl’s message at our WWB FACEBOOK Page where we will also share this Q&A!

Truly Herself,


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WWB Passioneer: Because Life is Too Short for the Boring Stuff!

Aug 22, 2013 by

World Wise Beauty and Passioneer Amelia Earhart

Welcome to the new WWB Passioneer department!  I am so excited about introducing this area of exploration for all my World Wise Beauties ( and beasts for that matter too).  

As a psychology major in college I was most attracted to the fairly new school of ideas from Humanistic Psychology. The humanist ( now part of a Positive Psychology movement) are focused on an individuals potential and stress the importance of self growth and self-actualization. They just seemed to look at the human experience more “holistically” than the other disciplines of psychology I studied and the idea of looking at the whole person made a lot of sense to me.

Human Potential,  Self -Actualization, ( a term coined by Abraham Maslow) Creativity, and Individuality are the central themes of Humanistic Psychology and wonderful topics for us to explore at World Wise Beauty.  I am excited to delve into how we “actualize”  and become our “true authentic selves”.  Deep? Well maybe, but for all of us at WWB, it’s just a process of self-discovery. Becoming “comfortable in your own skin” is a worthwhile mission and I believe we are all Passioneers ready to take flight.  After all…life is too short for the boring stuff!

“We never know how high we are, till we are called to rise and then if we are true to plan our statures touch the skies” ~Emily Dickinson

I am honored and thrilled to introduce my first guest blogger Rebecca Fraser Thill, who has her Masters in Developmental Psychology and teaches , writes and speaks about her passion for “aligning the authentic self with the working self”.  An important process and meaningful  journey for all adults at various ages and stages of development…

Truly Herself,

5 Steps to Finding Your Passion

by Rebecca Fraser-Thill
Guest Blogger at World Wise Beauty

 “Every man and woman is born into the world to do something unique and something distinctive and if he or she does not do it, it will never be done.” That’s my favorite quotation of all time, and the basis of my life’s philosophy. I love how the line, spoken by civil rights activist Benjamin Mays, powerfully exhorts us to find our “unique and distinctive something” because we’re the only ones who can attend to it.


The big question is: what is that “something”? I’d argue it’s what we commonly call our passion – and that finding and living this “something” is our life’s work. The problem is that many of us think we don’t have a passion and/or don’t know where to start looking for it. Here’s my five-step program for finding your passion, based on my own search for my “unique and distinctive something.”

1.  Understand What Passion Is – And Isn’t

I’ve had countless coaching clients and students say to me, “I’m not passionate about anything.” My response? “You’re kidding yourself.”

The thing is, passion has been grossly misrepresented in our society. We think of it as some loud, aggressive energy that causes people to toss out practicality and go boldly forth with vigor. And, sure, sometimes passion looks like that. After it has become well established.

In reality, passion starts as a mere whisper. It’s a stirring that gently tugs at you time and again when life stills enough for you to notice it. We expect passion to be an incessant wallop over our heads, like the desire to drink after a hot day in the sun. When we fail to recognize that passion begins as a hesitant tapping, we fall into the trap of believing we “don’t have a passion.”  

2.  Turn Off Your Practical Mind

Recognizing and living your passion is the greatest creative endeavor of your life. Respecting the creative process, then, is a key part of finding your passion.

The creative process begins with vision.  During the visioning phase, practicalities are strictly off-limits. You have to be willing to think like a child, who can build a tall ship in the living room in the morning and slay dragons in the backyard in the afternoon.

You have to give yourself permission to think up grandiose ideas without putting them through immediate thought trials. Tell yourself, “I’m just thinking here. I’m just dreaming.” Then hold yourself to it. You can’t create a vision with a cynical critic standing on the sidelines saying, “That could never happen because of X, Y, and Z.”

3.  Hear Yourself

Now that you’re open to what passion feels like and have your practical mind crammed into your mind’s closet, you’re ready to start to hear yourself. I regularly recommend that my coaching clients begin writing “morning pages” daily. These free writes recommended by writer Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way are invaluable tools for getting in touch with your thoughts and quiet stirrings.

The “rules” of morning pages:

  • Do them daily.
  • Do them in the morning, ideally soon after waking up.
  • Write them in long hand. (Turning on the computer presents too much temptation to check email or Facebook for “just a minute”…which always turns into twenty minutes.)
  • Write three pages ONLY. If you let yourself write too much, the process will become time-consuming and you’ll be less likely to do them in the future.
  • Do not censor yourself. Write whatever is in your mind. Period.





Morning pages are powerful for three reasons: 

  1. Since they’re completed in the morning, you’re still in a “dreaming” space. Your inner critic tends to sleep in late, so you get to let thoughts out before he or she begins censoring you.
  2. You give yourself one set time each day to hear yourself. That practice in and of itself holds great power.
  3. By writing, you see your thought patterns and obsessions emerge in a way you can’t by simply listening to your inner chit chat.

4.  Quiet Others’ Voices

In the morning pages, you may start to see the hints of passion emerge – topics or themes that you come back to time and again and/or that evoke particularly strong emotions in you.

Some of these “passions,” however, will not feel true to you. Some of them – and many of your thoughts, fears, and frustrations – come from someone other than you. They’re the ideas of your parents, teachers, friends, and society at large that you imbibed and accepted as “your own.” 

“Passions” that come from someone else don’t last and don’t motivate us. As Mays said, we each have our OWN “unique and distinctive something” to attend to. So after a few weeks of doing morning pages, begin to sift through your writing and consider what resonates as being “yours” versus “not yours.” It doesn’t matter who precisely the “not yours” came from; you’ll waste time and energy dredging up the past. Instead, focus on moving forward with your true voice firmly established.

5.  Guard Your Passion

 Now that you have a sense of the stirrings that come from somewhere deep inside of you, it’s up to you to guard that passion and let it grow. Heaping too much practicality onto a passion early in the process will make it withdraw to the recesses of your mind.

Although you’ve learned to keep your inner critic at bay, beware of the outer critics all around you. Until you’re genuinely confident in your passion, don’t share it with others.


When you do feel ready to share it, choose your confidants carefully. It’s best to pick people who live a vision-filled life for themselves, and respect the process of crafting a life that matches the true self. These individuals can serve as guides as your passion gradually moves from whisper to shout. Before you know it, you’ll have the bold, loud passion about which others are envious, but you’ll be too busy acting on the passion to notice.

Rebecca Fraser-Thill is the founder of Working Self, a site that encourages twenty- and thirtysomethings to pursue fulfilling, self-driven work. She has been teaching psychology at Bates College since 2003 and is a life and career coach, freelance writer, and speaker. Connect with her on Twitter @WorkingSelf


















































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Drink This…Not That! Three Super Cool Drink Options for Fueling Up…

Aug 15, 2013 by

When I was a kid I would go horseback riding with my Dad and after a day of exercise we would stop at my Aunt and Uncle’s house for a short visit.  They would serve me a small juice size glass of soda and one Hersey kiss candy.  Sounds kind of frugal but I was in heaven and it was a total treat because I wasn’t served soda at home.  Later as a teen in high school I was drinking a can of soda with lunch every day! Today one soda a day would be considered moderate as many people ( kids especially) drink more and the portion sizes have increased!

I continued this regular habit of drinking soda straight into my early twenties. The “boost” and “pick me up” was what I became addicted to.  I never developed a coffee habit and I found my energy boost from soda. Interesting enough  it turns out coffee may have been a better choice. There is some research showing that moderate coffee consumption ( 2 cups) may have health benefits when it comes to preventing certain conditions, but it really depends on your bio-individuality.  Click this link and learn how you are unique!

I left out the soda “brands” here because this post isn’t about demonizing soda companies. I think a soda at a ball game, party or any special occasion isn’t a bad thing and can be a treat. Unfortunately this is not how we drink soda. We drink lots of it and daily!  A can of soda has three times the amount of” sugar” compared to the teaspoon of sugar you might add to your one cup of coffee.  Laden with empty calories soda also has a particular kind of sweetener called high fructose corn syrup which we are learning really disturbs our insulin levels and can trigger an inflammation response in our body.  To add insult to injury, I haven’t even mentioned weight gain which is another side effect of drinking 20 oz. soda’s!

I won’t get on the soap-box here because there are so many respected health experts I interview right here at WWB who can explain why soda just isn’t good for us.  Here is my personal perspective about soda and soft drinks in general…

What I am interested in is ENERGY.  I had to drink at least two cans of soda to get the caffeine I could have had with one cup of coffee but I also received a sugar rush ( and the crash) from all that “syrup” in the soda. My soda consumption became a very bad habit for fueling up and staying awake! Yes, the office desk is littered with many a “soda can” on it and in today’s stressed out work place, we are all looking for a “boost”.

Fortunately I caught on to my soda addiction early in life and I switched to unsweetened black ice tea. Slump time for me is about 1pm and it’s the perfect time for a little caffeine boost.  I know, I know I should probably drink warm tea.  Lecture me later! Tea is my fuel of choice but there are many other options out there to replace the old soda habit ( and possible addiction) you might be wrestling with.

Try thinking of it this way. You wouldn’t think of putting cheap oil into your finely tuned car would you? Treat your body like the best top of the line car you can conjure up in your mind ( apparently mine is Herbie the Love Bug!) and fuel up with the good stuff. Most nutritionist and fitness trainers I chat with would tell you the best ways to boost your energy is to follow a good diet, get enough sleep and exercise every day.  All wise advice! But this post is about finding options for soft drinks and here are three super cool options to replace the ritual we all call “getting a can of soda”.


Pure Inventions


FIRST UP: Pure Inventions: A fabulous option to coffee, tea or soda this special elixir can be used in so many refreshing treat variations you will never be bored! Pomegranate Teatini anyone? Or maybe a Blueberry White Tea Smoothie is your fancy? Love how you can customize your own refreshing drink!





Bai Juice

NEXT UP: BAI 5 Pinch yourself, you’re not dreaming! In Bai 5 you really have found delicious good-for-you options to sugary sodas and artificially-sweetened drinks. How do Bai 5-Calorie Antioxidant Infusions deliver so much delicious great taste without calories and sugar? The answer is 100% natural of course! They use a perfectly balanced combination of Organic Stevia and Erythritol to sweeten the entire line of flavorful Bai 5 beverages.
 Low on the Glycemic Index? Yes!

The Glycemic Index (GI) provides a measurement of how carbohydrates impact blood sugar levels after they are consumed. While carbohydrates can often cause blood sugar levels to spike and then drop drastically resulting in a noticeable slump in energy, the natural sweeteners used in Bai 5 are low glycemic – meaning they don’t raise blood sugar levels in the body. That makes Organic Stevia, derived from an herb, and Erythritol (ih-RITH-ri-tawl), made from GMO-free field corn, excellent, natural alternatives to sugar, especially for diabetics, dieters and all who are limiting their sugar consumption.


Beauty Foods

LAST BUT NOT LEAST: Beauty Foods:  Now, I think this could be a comfy soothing treat you can have at any time but seems to be marketed as a good night time ritual! Each decadent flavor is made with premium, all-natural ingredients and is mildly sweetened to perfection. Just mix with milk, heat, relax and enjoy. Have yourself a healthy melt-down!

Nightly Beauty…Promotes healthy, beautiful skin, supports overall well-being and health from the inside out , helps maintain vibrant, fresh skin, promotes relaxation & restorative sleep. See website for ingredient information supporting these claims.

Get your glow on with three beautiful, all-natural flavors:

Chocolate Bliss a pure and indulgent chocolate experience Chocolate Chai Renewal — milk chocolate infused with cardamom and other chai-inspired spices Vanilla Dream — creamy and luscious, infused with the finest Madagascar vanilla




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In Search of Edible Delights? Savor the Little Rituals…

Aug 10, 2013 by

Ok –I lured you over to this blog post with a very provocative  image!  BUT did you know if you eat a couple of cherries ritually every night you can insure a sounder straight through sleep? A much tastier option than NyQuil for sure! Eating rituals require some preparation and a lot of anticipation. Even if we are eating the same thing repeatedly there is something delicious about the “ritual” we look forward to. Holidays, celebrations and traditions all have their rituals which makes eating far more pleasurable. But what about the everyday little rituals? Today there is an excellent piece in the WELL section of the NY Times  I wanted to share with you on “why rituals make our food more tasty”.  But first have you read some of the  Q&A’s in our Healthy Epicurean department lately? 


At World Wise Beauty I feature a Healthy Epicurean section and one of my first interviews was with Dr. Paul Rozin who is a Master of Taste and studies all things gustatory! The simple wisdom and takeaway I received from interviewing Dr. Rozin was slow down, eat slowly and savor your meal.  But really– his studies are far more interesting than this when you start to look at cultural influences and how what we savor differs.  Check out a really interesting YouTube video of Michael Pollan ( Respected Food Author) and Dr. Paul Rozin at the University of California, Berkeley.  The video is entitled Edible 103: The Psychology of Food” .

Savoring seems to be the prevailing thought with almost any food expert worth their salt–no pun intended. I also interviewed Marion Nestle, a highly respected nutritionist, food culture expert and best selling author and she seemed to boil things down to pleasure too.  When I asked about what should we eat and what to avoid, she wisely said “Eat what you like, be sure to eat vegetables at every possible occasion, and if you have a weight problem (and who does not?) eat smaller portions. This leaves loads of room for enjoying eating, which should always be a pleasure.”

How do we miss this simple wisdom? Maybe too much temptation and too many options–but we’ll save this for exploring in another blog ! Marion and Paul are just two of the many insightful Health/Food Experts we feature at the Healthy Epicurean department at World Wise Beauty. Come follow WWB and learn from some of the best food experts out there today. You can peruse the HE archives and there is always the surprise posts about foodie culture right here at the Culture Glean department!

Truly Herself,

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Culture Shift: Winemaking in Sweden and China?

Aug 9, 2013 by

A little wine growing education and a thought provoking Post from a great writer over at Foodie Underground. Talk about a culture shift! This piece  gives “sobering” cultural context to an important topic we are too busy to think about until it hits home. If you really want an eye-opener I dare you to read this report just released today.


New Wine RegionsWill Climate Change Have Us Drinking Swedish Pinot Soon?

FEATURES / AUG. 06, 2013 / BY 

“Is that a vineyard??”

I was in Sweden, okay, the south of Sweden, which makes it the warmer region of the country, but even here, it’s no Mediterranean climate. This is the land of snow, dark winters and hand knitted mittens after all. When it comes to drinks, Aquavit is the Swedish forte.

But here at the edge of a plot of farmland there were several rows of bright green vines. Swedish wine? There has to be more at play here than a heartfelt desire to become a vintner.

Around the world, wine regions are changing, and fast. Early this year a paper was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which estimated that by 2050, we will have lost anywhere from 19 to 73 percent of the land suitable for wine-growing in the world’s major wine producing areas. But as climate change cuts out the standard players, it also gives birth to new ones, making places like China and Tasmania the upcoming hubs of reds and whites. In fact, even champagne houses are looking at land in Southern England for when the vineyard apocalypse hits.

Just like coffee, grapes are sensitive to changes in weather; even a bad season with the wrong temperatures can have drastic effects on that year’s production. Winemakers can of course put adaption plans and practices into place now to deal with the effects of climate change, plantingdrought-tolerant vines that require less irrigation for example, or following biodynamic practices which are more in tune with natural cycles. But wine is a big business, so it’s no surprise that new regions are being explored, and while getting your wine from Montana might sound edgy, it also comes at a cost: many of the new wine regions are often associated with important habitat for wildlife, wildlife that people are constantly working hard to protect. Yellowstone for example is a prime suspect, with good potential wine yields at the same spot as grizzly bear migration. Would you like a Grand Cru or conservation?

Back to Scandinavia.

According to the Swedish wine grower’s association, Svenska Vinodlare, there are 40 vineyards in Sweden, and if wine growing regions react to the change in climate as is projected, there may be many more to come in the next few decades. But while Sweden may win, others will lose, and even in areas that manage to deal with the change in weather patterns, they won’t be serving the same wines.

“Climate change will produce winners and losers among wine growing regions, and for every region it will result in changes to the alcohol, acid, sugar, tannins, and color in wine,” said climate scientist Antonio Busalacchi of the University of Maryland, meaning that no matter what region you’re in, the wine will inevitably change.

While it may be exciting to see new people and places making an attempt at mastering the craft of wine, it’s also a disconcerting indicator, and all the more reason to choose wines from winemakers that respect the land they work on and the process they use to create their libations. And while you’re at it save your bottles of Bordeaux for the days when French wine is a thing of the past.



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