February 27

What Our Leisure Reveals About Us | WT #42


What does our leisure reveal about us? I think in many ways, it reveals who we really are.

What makes me say this? What we do for leisure in our spare time (in this context we define it as time for one’s self) can reveal what we do when we’re not “on stage,” when no one is looking. (Another metric is how we use our money.)

It speaks to the dynamic of congruence—which is being the same person privately as one is publicly. And getting our leisure right is one way to work towards congruence.

There’s a hierarchy of three different types of activity in which we engage, beginning with the least valuable:

  1. Escapism—such as playing solitaire on our phone
  2. Utility—such as taking a class to learn a new skill
  3. Contemplation—such as scheduling quiet time at the end of every day to reflect on what went well and what didn’t.

This is where the rubber meets the road… What percent of our leisure time do we spend on each type of activity? Further, what percent should we invest in each type to achieve our best self? If you get the percentages right, how does it impact other parts of your life?

I’m sure most would agree, we all need some escapism, but we should keep that to a minimum, sustain utility, and increase contemplation. If you’re like me, you may need to create a plan and schedule contemplation time (And we can help you with that!). Consider contemplation or personal development activities such as reading a classic book, participating in a peer group, going on a retreat or doing things that build character and feed your spiritual life.

What do you think? How does getting our leisure right help us build congruence? Do we experience more peace?

About the author 

Darren Smith

Darren Smith is Co-Founder of the Authentic Leadership Institute. He is a native Texan and a graduate of Dallas Jesuit and Texas A&M University. Over the past 25 years, Darren has visited 35 countries and led 100 strategy programs. He and his wife have five children.


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