Potterings Blog

Pottering around life's issues, a little digging here, some fertilizer there, pruning to stimulate new growth and generally cultivating people's potential to blossom. Your comments are always welcomed.  
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Leisure is back in business

Passionate leisure experiences provide a natural, free and unlimited resource to meet perhaps the greatest global energy crisis – the human energy needed to survive, thrive and drive the world’s economy.

 

Change is affecting everything – including the role and potential of leisure in today's high pressure society. Leisure is back in business, providing solutions to urgent global problems.

 

Leisure’s had a bad press for too long. It was killed off by the emergence of the 19th century traditional work ethic which preached that work was ‘the way to heaven and leisure was the work of the devil’.  It wasn’t so much that the work ethic dignified the role of work but that it demeaned the role of leisure. While the religious fervour died out, it has taken until now to reassert its rightful role in the development of personal growth and productivity.   

 

Stress is killing health by stealth.  There is a global human energy crisis – we are burning human energy faster than we create it, with the inevitable result that burnout symptoms are everywhere – at work and in community life.  The fact that stress has, per se, an important role to play in personal and business development masks the damage that prolonged excessive stress is having on mental health.  The damage caused through workaholism - like alcoholism - doesn’t become apparent until too late.  Depression, stress-related illnesses, broken homes and even suicide are signs of the damage that unrelenting stress is causing in today’s world.

 

I’ll have what she’s having!!  Don’t you envy those people who not only cope well with stress but positively appear to thrive?  It’s not so much that they have something the rest of us don’t have. Rather they have found a way of generating renewed mental strength, resilience and a sense of being calm in crises. They have a steady resource of natural energy that sustains their resilience, a resource they regularly tap at will.  

 

Read more: Leisure is back in business

Leisure is back in business (2)

Passionate leisure experiences provide a natural, free and unlimited resource to meet perhaps the greatest global energy crisis – the human energy needed to survive, thrive and drive the world’s economy.

 

Change is affecting everything – including the role and potential of leisure in today's high pressure society. Leisure is back in business, providing solutions to urgent global problems.

 

Leisure’s had a bad press for too long. It was killed off by the emergence of the 19th century traditional work ethic which preached that work was ‘the way to heaven and leisure was the work of the devil’.  It wasn’t so much that the work ethic dignified the role of work but that it demeaned the role of leisure. While the religious fervour died out, it has taken until now to reassert its rightful role in the development of personal growth and productivity.   

 

Stress is killing health by stealth.  There is a global human energy crisis – we are burning human energy faster than we create it, with the inevitable result that burnout symptoms are everywhere – at work and in community life.  The fact that stress has, per se, an important role to play in personal and business development masks the damage that prolonged excessive stress is having on mental health.  The damage caused through workaholism - like alcoholism - doesn’t become apparent until too late.  Depression, stress-related illnesses, broken homes and even suicide are signs of the damage that unrelenting stress is causing in today’s world.

 

I’ll have what she’s having!!  Don’t you envy those people who not only cope well with stress but positively appear to thrive?  It’s not so much that they have something the rest of us don’t have. Rather they have found a way of generating renewed mental strength, resilience and a sense of being calm in crises. They have a steady resource of natural energy that sustains their resilience, a resource they regularly tap at will.  

 

Read more: Leisure is back in business (2)

Be Proud of Who You Are

When you lose yourself in an interest that you love, you find yourself. Your talents come to the fore, your imagination creates a riot of colour, your self esteem soars and your heart, soul and mind sing in harmony. Believe in your true self and forever be proud of who you are.

 

A Matter of Life and Death

 

We spend our lives trying to avoid our most certain future event - our eventual death. At some stage in our lives we each experience a "mortality jolt" - a sudden recognition that we aren't going to get out of this world alive.  When you get that jolt, you can choose to drop your bundle, or decide you still have much to do to achieve your natural reasons for living.  These include:

  • you are a part of (not above) nature, created to grow, mature and blossom 
  • you were born with natural talents and passions - assets that enable you to achieve something uniquely magnificent
  • no other person in human history has had, or will have, your mix of talents, passions and potential. It implies a`responsibility to use those abilities to do something new and different towards the world's progress
  • you form part of a natural ecosystem of like-minded people in which you play an integral and essential role if that ecosystem is going to flourish. 

Life is an absorbing journey of magnificent uncertainty, exploration, highs, lows and self-discovery. A mortality jolt simply reminds you who you are, where you are on the journey and where you want to be, while you can.

 

 

Is Optimism Naive?

 

Taking the optimistic view on an issue is often regarded as naive or not being in possession of all the facts. Such a belief suggests the opposite of optimism is realism.

 

The fact is that it's impossible to base true progress on negative, pessimistic thinking. Genuine sustained progress can only thrive on an outlook of optimism, positive thinking, resilience and determination.

 

The fact that we are riding on a massive wave of negative, pessimistic thinking is therefore gradually strangling real social and economic progress - worldwide. It's essential to start developing a belief that optimism in fact means realism, that it is something far deeper than the shallow, keep smiling, "she'll be right mate" (Aussie slang - everything will be ok) casual form of optimism.

 

Optimism Australia, under the guidance of Adelaide Business Interventionist Ken Woodis building a program of positive action. It doesn't have a fanciful aim of changing the world. More realistically. it focuses on specific areas of business and community development that exemplify where the community can start to 'turn the ship of negative thinking around'.

 

If you are in or near Adelaide on 2 October, you are encouraged to attend the next

Optimism Australia seminar, "Building a Resilient Community", Wednesday 2nd October, 5.30 - 7.30 pm,  in the Star Room, Adelaide Entertainment Centre.  

 

I am delighted that Ken has invited me to be one of three speakers at the seminar.

Here's the link for full details of the seminar, including bookings.

 

 

Take Heart! Choirs are good for you

Swedish research indicates choir singing is good for the heart, slows the pulse and eases mental stress.  I knew that all along but its good to have it formally recognized. An interesting aspect is that it seems to synchronize the heart beats of the singers  so everyone gets the same benefits. Some interesting key phrases in their report, including

  • shared emotions,  intuitive co-operation,  joint action,  collective consciousness,  sensitive ability to co-operate,  help people connect and open up to each other.


What more do you want out of an interest than all of that?! And think what it does to improve the rest of your day - at work, home and play.

 

It's the play bit that I want to focus on. I suggest all of the above applies in full or part not only to choir singing but to almost any other form of group passionate interest you care to name - playing a team sport (for fun), playing music, art classes, indeed any activity that the members of a group freely undertake for the sheer joy of it.  

 

Work provides that for you? I hope it does but there is a key element that work rarely offers - total control over one's participation, absolute free choice about taking part, for no other reason than sheer enjoyment, to whatever skill level that satisfies you and numerous other "state of flow" emotional benefits.

 

Did you guess I sing in a choir? Two actually. And as much as I love my work, I abslolutely prize my involvement in both choirs.  Whatever your group leisure/recreation passion, its nice to have it confirmed its doing your heart good.

Ten Years from now...and later

 

Ten years from now…and later

  • what will give you your continuing joy of living life to the full?
  • what passionate interests will be getting you out of bed each day?
  • what energy-draining parts of your life will you have stopped or eased back?
  • what will be the core features of 'living life on your terms'?
  • what will your Emotional Energy Plan look like?

Fascinating questions. Is ten years too far ahead? Not if you are over 50. These questions become very important, perhaps even ones you fear because they could affect your work. But they must be addressed and the sooner you do so, the more satisfying and healthy your life will be ten years from now...and later.

Where are you currently putting your energies - energy in and energy out? What would you like to stop, ease, or develop? Such changes won't happen overnight. Recognition and decision is a good starting point.

If you are in or near Adelaide, you can enjoy working through these issues and more with me at my upcoming half-day Quality of Living workshop, Tuesday 27 August, Education Development Centre Hindmarsh. Click here for full details and email me today to reserve your seat at the table.

 

 

Work is killing our weekends

 

“Work is killing off the great Australian weekend and starving kids of family time”, (Adelaide Advertiser August 3).The article quotes research done by The Social Policy Research Centre at the University of NSW:

  • Weekend work has nearly trebled over the past 20 years
  • Half of all business owners, 42% of contractors and 30 per cent of employees now spend their weekend in the workplace, to the detriment of family life.
  • One in four workers are on call or on standby, “as technology contaminates leisure with messages and emails from the boss.”
Read more: Work is killing our weekends

Cancer, Stress and Lifestyle

I'm no expert on cancer or its causes. It's just that I heard yet again today from an authority on cancer causes/triggers that research is increasingly showing strong links between prolonged negative stress and increased cancer risks.  

Read more: Cancer, Stress and Lifestyle

Emotional Intelligence or Unfeeling Dumbness?

Salovey and Mayer (1990) described emotional intelligence as having four factors: the perception of emotion, the ability to reason using emotions, the ability to understand emotion and the ability to manage emotions.

 

While the concept of emotional intelligence has been debated in business - especially by us males - there can be no doubting it is an essential factor in today's frenetic business world of people management and leadership.  

 

Businesses have long recognized that people base many of their purchases on emotions. So why anything different when it comes to "buying", managing and retaining staff??

 

There still seems to be a widespread perception among managers that people are human when they are at home and robots the moment they walk into their workplace.

Read more: Emotional Intelligence or Unfeeling Dumbness?

Creating a State-of-Flow Experience

 

When did you last create an enjoyable experience outside of work, designed:  

  • for its intrinsic pleasure,
  • to challenge your natural talents,
  • to be fully within your control
  • ...after which you wondered where the time went, you felt energized and perceived your world a little more positively.

If you're having trouble thinking of one, that’s a worry. You’re missing a lot of your life’s purpose. State of flow experiences energize your natural growth.  

 

My definition of a state of flow experience is when you lose yourself in any interest you love, you find yourself.  

Read more: Creating a State-of-Flow Experience

Old enough to know better?

I am 73 years young. As a lifestyle mentor I love what I do and I am doing what I love.  What's more my business offers a benefit and a difference that only a small minority of people can match. My age.  

 

I have a seasoned perspective on life that reasonably younger people cannot have, simply because they haven't reached my age.

 

Think how you see life now compared to when you were say 20 years younger.

Read more: Old enough to know better?

Stop Calling Leisure "Time"

Interesting how people still have a negative image of leisure, as a period of time in which people "slack off and waste good working time".  This image was created in the Industrial Revolution when they painted leisure as evil (“idle hands are the work of the devil").  The IR took us from home productivity to factory productivity.  The factory became the centre of life’s value and importance.

 

Leisure today isn’t a period of time. It’s an experience of the mind, the opportunity to creatively express your talents, passions and potential, for the enjoyment of doing so. 

Read more: Stop Calling Leisure "Time"

Me Time My Time My Choice

It's amazing the difficulty I have in getting people to give time to themselves and their own needs - especially their own emotional needs. Our society has become so hung up on the belief that life is about meeting the expectations of others. We have been carefully taught for generations by the work ethic that it is wrong to give time to self, that giving of self to others is the honourable way to go.

Read more: Me Time My Time My Choice

Your Busy-Ness Life

When we speak of work business the “i” is of secondary importance (biz-ness). When discussing life, the "i" assumes greater significance:  bus-i-ness (busy-ness). Business focuses on other people, busy-ness focuses on self.  Put that way, my business is more to do with your busy-ness.  To sustain a long, healthy and active life well into your 80's and older, it is so important to spend time reviewing your busy-ness as well as your business.

Read more: Your Busy-Ness Life

The Busy-ness of Staying Healthy

Are you too busy to take care of your health? Most of us are guilty of that as we hurry from one urgent responsibility to the next. For many it's a badge of honour to tell people you are so busy. But I haven't heard anyone express praise that so-and-so died because of their love of being busy.

 

Busy-ness is in fact at the crux of virtually all lifestyle issues today - stress, work life harmony, health, unexpected major  life changes and especially when it comes to life after fulltime work - even if you opt to keep working.  

Read more: The Busy-ness of Staying Healthy

The Unsung Qualities of "The Voice"

I love watching The Voice on (Australian) TV.  Seal, Joel, Delta and Ricky share a wonderful camaraderie and we all get a thrill when a contestant is chosen for one of the teams.

 

However, it’s the unsung qualities of The Voice that I especially love.  It engenders recognition and encouragement of the talents, passions and unlimited potential  of every contestant - chosen or not. Seal himself said it – “we are changing peoples’ lives”.

 

I am reminded of King George VI’s life-changing realization, in the film The King’s Speech. In a climactic scene he is finally baited into exploding those powerful words, “I have a voice!!”, acknowledged so knowingly by his speech coach, “Yes you do”.

 

We all live for opportunities to voice our unique natural talents through passionate interests, be it at work, home or play.  For only some will it be singing or speaking.  Whatever yours may be, you and the world will benefit when you can voice it publicly.  

 

The ultimate however is to be, like The Voice, encouraging and enabling others to give voice to their talents. You can encourage your staff, spouse, children, friends, or people in your community.   The microphone in The Voice logo symbolizes broadcasting that talent widely.

 

Talent, passion, potential.  Expressed often enough and widely enough they provide all the nutrients that enable human nature to flourish and blossom. 

 

Yes, you too have a voice.

 

If you enjoyed this message, you will love my manifesto: My Dream for the World 

Human nature always finally triumphs in business

Humans are a part of nature. People love getting back to nature. Human nature describes natural human behaviour. 

  

This view of humanity seems so far removed from the dog-eat-dog life of the business world.  The truth is that business people who ignore human nature in their business dealings do so at their peril. True leadership recognizes and embraces the fact of human nature in every effort to engage the commitment of followers.

 

Nature always triumphs in the end. While it will always be vital to follow and apply strong business principles, it's important to recognize the inalienable principles of human nature.

 

 

Bringing Out the Best in People

High self esteem, strong self belief, talent development, creativity, energy, enthusiasm and engagement. All key words in business jargon to get the best out of people. All vital in the battle to attract and keep the best people, sustain high productivity, keep staff costs down and manage stress. 

 

These are also key words in describing the benefits of passionate leisure experiences. Even more importantly, the benefits ripple through everything in life - at work and in personal life.

 

So why do we still regard work and leisure as separate, unrelated, even competing elements of life (see "The Kick in the Guts We Needed" Blog) ?  Why not join forces?

 

Tell your people (nicely!) to "get a life"  outside of work. Encourage them to enjoy at least one passionate leisure interest, because you want the benefits to ripple through to the job.

 

The very message itself will impress your staff.   

 

They will be even more impressed if you offer them the opportunity to re-discover which interests give them those benefits, by experiencing my Lifestyle Review process. Go here for more details, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or phone 0417 817 027.

 Some further reading:

   "Get a Life. You work better and live longer"

   "Promoting Positive Human Behaviour"

The kick in the guts we needed

Two centuries ago the work ethic relegated fun and leisure to a status of meaningless, idle frivolity. Fun got into bad company, spending its time hanging around slackers, time-wasters, malingerers and other undesirables.  Managers felt fun wasn’t just unemployable,  they saw it as a direct competitor to work.

 

Sound familiar? You may well know some managers and workaholics who still see fun and leisure that way. Until recent times, when discussing projects with a potential client, I tended not to mention the ‘l’ word until well into the discussion. 

 

The massive changes, pressures and stresses of 21st century living have put paid to all that. Leisure is now back in business. It’s providing natural solutions to some of the biggest problems facing business today – stress management, sustaining high staff productivity, self-esteem and resilience, and stimulating creativity and innovation, to name just a few.

 

All this is nothing new in the course of history. Leisure has always had a core role to play in the natural order of personal growth, talent development and the realization of personal potential.  The mad way we live today has provided the kick in the guts we needed to remind us that fun and leisure offer much more than simply having a good time.