The 21st century way to wealth: useful leisure
By Jeffrey Reeves MA
Editor's note: Jeffrey Reeves' introduction to "The Way to Wealth" provides an overview of this weekly blog series.
“Leisure is time for doing something useful.”
Benjamin Franklin in the persona of Father Abraham
Now there’s a mind bender for the modern American. Who thinks of leisure being useful?’
As a starting point, let’s define work. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it this way: “activity in which one exerts strength or faculties to do or perform something.’”
Hmmm. According to that definition, everything is work. Playing tennis, watching TV, reading, wrestling with the kids, laying in the hammock taking a nap all require you to exert, to do.
Father Abraham got it right again. All of those activities are useful all by themselves and all of them are work. Their leisure value comes from your intention and attitude, not from the activity itself. Their useful aspect derives from the benefit you derive from the activity – the work – and perhaps from the control you exercise over the choice of activity.
Control is important in every aspect of your life. If you are not in control, who is?
The Jewish Rabbi, Hillel the Elder c. 100 CE, conveyed this idea best when addressing a task:
"If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, then what am I?
If not me, who, and if not now, when?"