Downshifting is a noticeable worldwide trend, one that I’ve experienced with myself, in my own personal network of 30-somethings and fellow startup founders. The first principle for downshift thinking is to be eager to trade in money for time.
Listing out the classic traits I’ve directly observed in downshifters:
- Reducing the amount of time spent on apps, especially social networks such as facebook, twitter and trading that time in for face to face interaction and groups.
- Making it imperative to avoid long commutes. Staying close to your workplace.
- Investing time and effort in locating an irregular, or non-mainstream job position that may compromise on career growth but is rewarding in personal freedoms*.
- Paying greater attention to pressing social issues, especially those that most people would be apathetic to.
- Proactively investing time in kids, family, health, wealth, hands-on skills, creative endeavors.
- Seeking time-tested methodologies that allow you to address the stresses of city life.
- Making time and space to be with one’s self.
- Seeking wisdom, answers to existential questions, or lasting purpose.
I wouldn’t laugh at this trend. Its growing and the startup world has taken to it in a big way. The corporate world will in time learn to acknowledge what’s happening here.
A note of caution, startup culture still promotes the image of the hard at work, 24×7 working founder, or fast cash-burning startup that makes it seemingly incompatible with personal behavior changes that come with downshifting. As always, I’d say to that “go your own way”. There’s plenty of exceptions out there.
* I’ve just discovered an intriguing book on “God’s Own Office“, the story of James Joseph, a Microsoft professional who sets up his home-office out of Kerala while continuing to work for Microsoft. You can get it in hardcover here on flipkart.com and kindle edition on amazon.com.