if you spend too many of your waking hours “working,” there’s a good chance that you are missing something very important. maybe it’s time with family and friends. maybe it’s authentic engagement with the world around you. maybe it’s the ability to pause, listen and anticipate what’s coming.
“they are not only idle who do nothing, but they are idle also who might be better employed.” — socrates
“a man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. there is visible labor and there is invisible labor.” — victor hugo
on the flip side, having too much free time can be just as unhealthy.take me for example. i sit trapped in a windowless office, besieged with back pain because i am bored out of my wits. i post on blogs, im and email, i teach myself lessons about arcane subjects, read books, take online classes, do my banking. i ask for new projects, i try to branch out but bureaucracy and tradition inhibit my mobility.
the ideal situation, as we all know, is one in which our intellectual, social, spiritual and physical selves are in harmony. no one wants to have to choose between being emotionally and physically available to our loved ones or “getting ahead” in the workplace. or to choose between thinking, doing or feeling. the more compartmentalized our lives are, the less authentic and fulfilling they tend to be.
when i look at most jobs people do, i see tremendous waste. simply because you are hardworking, and did everything you were supposed to all along does not mean that your work will remain important and relevant. on the other hand, those who can assimilate lots of info and adapt to fast evolving social trends are increasingly in demand. the velocity of change has accelerated dramatically. with information freed to the masses, social, economic, creative, and physical (if not biological) hierarchies are unraveling.
as noted today in the wall street journal and on dan pink’s blog:
routine white-collar work is being shipped overseas and reduced to lines of code in software. but work that is high concept and high touch is becoming more valuable.
check out this video for some high concept fun: