By | Abhijit Bhaduri |Keynote speaker, Author and Columnist
‘Once I make my millions, I will stop working.’ You won’t, you will actually be working longer hours. Time to rethink our obsession with productivity.
Work hard, make money, then work even more
If you work hard, you can make more money. When you have all that money you will be able to put your feet up and chill for the rest of your life. That’s not true. In 1965 men with a college degree, made more money and had a bit more leisure time than men who had just finished high school. But by 2005 the scenario had reversed. The lesser educated folks had eight hours more to unwind than the college graduates. Why are the rich working harder?
- The Opportunity Cost of Leisure: The joke goes that if Elon Musk were to drop some hundred dollar bills his wallet, it is cheaper for him to not stop and pick up the cash. This is why the rich don’t take enough vacations and work longer hours. It costs them money to not make money. A study in 2006 revealed that Americans with a household income of more than $100,000 indulged in 40% less “passive leisure” (eg being a couch potato) than those earning one-fifth that amount.
- Social Value of Work: If the work being done is seen to be prestigious, people work longer hours. Those who believe that their startup is on its way to change the world work insane hours. Doctors, teachers and caregivers work to the point of exhaustion. So do housewives. While their work is not valued economically, the satisfaction of caring for the loved ones fuels them on.
- “I’m SO Bored”: We tend to avoid boredom at all costs. To get away from engaging with the questions of a young one, the parents structure every minute of the kid. Any time spent lazing around is seen as a waste of time. Games teach the kids to operate in a structured environment with preset rules. The toys leave space for the imagination.
Building the playful mindset
Play nurtures creative ideas. Organizations worry about not having enough creativity among their employees. Yet most employers will celebrate people who will pack in every waking hour to do something which has tangible benefits. Simply allowing for time to socialise at work can unleash creativity in the people. Employees love playing games at an offsite and that rejuvenates them.
When children make up their own rules and kinds of play, they pick up the skills that they will need as adults. That includes the ability to negotiate, take moderate risks and learn to handle scenarios they have not encountered before. Playing under the constant supervision of an adult prevents people from developing belief in shaping their own destiny.
"As children playfully explore and experiment, they develop new ideas and new ways of thinking about the world around them" - MIT.edu
“Adults who demonstrate more playful personality traits are more motivated, creative and spontaneous. There have even been links between people with more playful characteristics having lower blood pressure.
While less playful people struggle in their leisure time to relax and often feel bored when their minds are not preoccupied, those that are more playfully inclined are aware of new opportunities and open to trying a wider variety of activities.” <Read more>
The only way out of boredom is to invent and create something interesting. Maybe that is what the adults should do and let the children be children. Don’t turn play time into a time to build the kid’s resume. There is time for that. Until then let them indulge in self-controlled and self-directed play. That will prepare them better for the future more than any resume building activity. Build that playful into your life too.
Want to know what is better for your kids – games or toys? <read and find out>