Find it funny how I always used to imagine how it looks on the other side and now I am finally doing it. Somewhat in disbelief that I’ve done it, but it is very much real. Since this is a productivity blog, I will try to limit my observations on the difference in the lifestyle between Europe and the USA and how people get things done around here.
The USA is running fast, and it’s operating at the higher frequency than Europe. You can feel it everywhere around you. Everyone is driving a car, there are trucks transporting goods all around you, and everything costs money. In a sense, you can almost feel that the air around you has a price tag. And this kind of environment is immediately shifting your perspectives and puts you in a “work” mode.
Time is of the essence
Ever since I got here, I was doing something. I didn’t have a single moment to sit down, except the time when I went to sleep. I was on the go since I got here. There is an undeniable feeling that there is no time to waste. That is how I feel right now. Urgency was felt even during my relaxed breakfast.
This emotion of urgency is rampant and strikes through the hearts of everyone around you, and it’s contagious, so it infected my heart as well.
Urgency and the short attention span
This emotion of urgency is prompting you to constantly look for instant solutions that will grant you the gratification that you “deserve”.
Somehow it feels like hard work is an excuse for indulging yourself. As if hard work is a “get everything I want card”.
I am wondering is it possible to actually slow down, and get the important things done? Will this “instant gratification” culture spill over onto me? Or am I already consumed by it?
The impact of the size
Everything is bigger. The serving sizes are gigantic in comparison to Europe. I am not sure I understand why. I’ve ordered a SMALL coffee, and I actually got half a liter of it. If that was small, I can only imagine how the big one looks like. Never in my life have I been able to drink that much, but I’ve still drunk more than I ever would. I took the half of the beverage, which is still bigger than my usual needs. Regardless of me deciding to take less, inadvertently and accidentally, you will still end up getting more than you need.
Now, you might think how does the serving size has an impact on the productivity? Well, the nutrition and intake of food are extremely relevant to the quality of your waking hours, and actually realizing that you are taking more than you need of something, might be a good wake up call for a lot of people. Just a thought of a fresh European immigrant to the states.
Controlling the speed beast
Demanding everything, and demanding it quickly is the norm in this neck of the woods. And certainly gives a spin to my own world. The sentence that would best describe the way I feel is: “Get on With the Programme”.
Planning ahead, and doing your own thinking are two extremely important activities for me at this moment. Because I’ve noticed what kind of toll this type of lifestyle can leave on a person’s body.
I’ve also noticed that it will take me some time to get a gist of what’s going on around here in terms of time. As everything is bigger, it takes a significant amount of time to move around. The commuting cost is substantially higher than in my home country. Well at least the gasoline prices are half the price in comparison. This leaves you a lot of time to spend thinking about life while driving your car.