Last Friday, I had the pleasure of speaking to a group from the British American Business Council. The subject of the day was Fulfillment; an apparently simple and straightforward concept, but one that is frequently overlooked in our society.
Why does this presentation warrant a blog post?
The answer is simply, because there is so much to learn from it.
There is the obvious, the concept we all have of feeling Fulfilled. I spoke at length about this, because the more I researched my subject, the more I realized how complex this feeling is. There are so many facets to what make up the experiences we feel as fulfilling.
Since my presentation was a short one, I realized that a thorough investigation was not going to work. I decided that after a short, general discussion of the feeling, it was appropriate to drill into only one facet and have some fun with it.
So, I focused on Leisure as an element of Fulfillment. This was interesting to the group, in part because Leisure is an important incubator of fulfilling experiences. As an exercise, contrast how many of us spend our leisure time; in activities, with friends and family, versus how we might spend this time; contemplation, recreation, or meditation.
For me, I dusted off the cobwebs from my old copy of “Plato’s Republic” (a relic of my college days) and contemplated his concept of Leisure with ours, and, for good measure, compared his concept of Recreation with ours. I am not a Philosopher, nor am I a very good student of Plato’s writings. Comparing concepts, however, doesn’t require that level of expertise.
Conceptually, how do we view Leisure and Recreation in the modern world?
We tend to view Leisure as time not spent at work. For parents, time spent with children may, or may not, be considered Leisure. Nevertheless, we spend our leisure time on activities, going to a ball game, fishing, viewing art or museum exhibits. And how do we view Recreation? When we recreate, we are playing in that ball game, sailing that boat or playing basketball at the park.
How does that contrast with the concepts in Plato’s day? The Athenians viewed Leisure time as that spent making oneself a better person, citizen and constructive member of society. One devoted Leisure time each day and each week to Re-Creation of one’s inner self; to better serve the stakeholders that surround each of us.
What is the difference between Recreation and Re-Creation?
This is the core of the problem. We currently view Recreation as outdoor leisure activity. Examples would be going camping in the mountains or kayaking at Clear Lake. But aren’t we missing something? Our descriptions of leisure and recreation are filled with examples of physically healthy activity.
Where is the room in our common understanding for activities that enhance mental or emotional health? Do these not fit Plato’s concepts of creating better people, citizens and constructive members of society? Is this Re-Creation rather than Recreation?
What are the benefits of incorporating Re-Creation into our daily lives? Will we be happier? Will those around us be happier? Will this change help me to feel more fulfilled?
It is my belief that each of us, individually, will benefit by incorporating a period of Re-Creation into every day. For those at work, close your office door and turn off the phone, monitor, pager and all other electronics. Turn off the lights, close your eyes and, for 15 minutes, focus on not focusing on anything. Give your subconscious a chance to flex its metaphorical muscle. Follow this practice every day for a month. Then ask do I feel better?
If you are at home, find a quiet place and practice the same habit. All it takes is 15 minutes. You can call it, Your Quiet Time. Be faithful to yourself and make sure you take these few minutes, every day. Tell the kids that you have permission to have your own Quiet Time. After a month, let us know whether this technique has helped you by visiting our website and leaving a comment.