According to legend, the great inventor James Watt was once trying to solve a particular problem with Thomas Newcomen’s design. After trying in vain for a long time, he stopped thinking about the problem consciously and took a leisurely walk—whereupon the solution popped into his head. Such stories are commonplace in the history of innovation, where Eureka moments have occurred to great scientists and thinkers whilst taking a break, sleeping or indulging in some form of leisure.
At the other extreme, nearly every research on burnout mentions lack of leisure and recreation as a mediating factor of the syndrome. Likewise, in the field of leisure studies, leisureliness emerges as a major factor of burnout prevention.
In spite of such overwhelming evidence in favour of leisure, it is still considered a luxury by most of us—so much so that some even feel guilty indulging in it.
Last month, we highlighted the importance of wellness at work and the need to take charge of it. This month, we turn our attention to the excessive preoccupation with work that prevails in our culture today—and its effects on every dimension of our life.
In the cover story, Al Gini, a highly respected business management expert, tells us why so many of us erroneously connect leisure with “mere absence of work”. According to him, we almost never slow down enough to experience the experience of not doing anything at all. If you heed his advice, it will transform you and your work ethic forever and leave you happier. In a beautiful follow-up piece, celebrated writer-editor Sathya Saran gives you uncommon ideas to chill out—I am quite certain you will want to put them into practice right away.
To give you a head start on why you should take the leisure-business seriously, contemplate the words of Leonardo Da Vinci, considered the greatest genius of all time: “Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work, your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen.”
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