Why Leisure is as Important as Work


I have been asked a number of times over the years, "Do you have a big hairy audacious goal (BHAG), a goal so big that others might think it is totally outrageous?


Having professionally observed human behaviour in leisure for almost 40 years, my BHAG has long been:

As many people in the world as possible to realize and apply the fact that leisure is as important as work in maximizing one's personal growth, development and potential.


I sense it isn't as outrageous a goal as it was when I first established my Lifestyle Mentoring business in 2003.


What is 'leisure'? First, it is not simply 'free time'. Leisure is any freely-chosen experience in which you creatively express and develop your natural talents and abilities for the sheer enjoyment of doing so. As such the experience can be physical, mental or spiritual. Although, in the end it will always be a mental emotional experience.  An experience that makes you feel good about yourself.


For those who say their work is their leisure, no matter how much you enjoy your work it is driven by economic demands. While I love my work, my main leisure interest is choir singing (see separate article). The benefits that singing has given to my total wellbeing, work productivity, stress management, work/life harmony and self esteem are incalculable.


It also demonstrates why I believe in work life harmony rather than work life balance. It's not a matter of how much time you give to leisure but the effects of a passionate leisure interest.  A short time each week of experiencing this sort of interest can drive the rest of the week.


For generations now, the traditional work ethic has driven human development. Managers saw leisure as a waste of good productive effort and even a competitor to work. Five major factors have altered that attitude:

  1. the social revolution of recent decades,
  2. the new workforce generated by that revolution, who work to live rather than live for work,
  3. rising burnout as a result of prolonged excessive business stress and pressure,
  4. the change from centralized knowledge in the hands of top management to decentralized knowledge and expertise across the organisation/the globe, and
  5. the disappearance of the principle of the employer providing "a job for life".

People now make their own minds up about the nature of work and leisure. Leisure is again back in vogue as a valued feature of life.


I call it the new Life Ethic, accentuating the fact that work and leisure are both important in maximizing personal growth and potential.


Everything I do in my business is geared to pursuing my Big Hairy Audacious Goal.

If you think this is a great Goal, you can help by sharing this message with others in your network.