Bowling for Life – Redefining Wealth & Balance

The other day, a good friend said something that caused a Moment of Clarity for me. We were discussing the juxtaposition between prioritizing things we need to get done and balancing our time between personal and professional pursuits. His comment was, “It’s funny, we always seem to make it to the airport on time for our flight, but we regularly let our workday drift long into our family time.”


When other people set deadlines for us, we regularly meet them. However, those we set for ourselves are regularly ignored. Stated a little differently, we perceive the flight as a hard-stop and the end of the day as a soft-stop. The reality is that they are both soft-stops because we can always reschedule the trip.


The Wisdom We Left in the Third Grade


Two things happened today that prompted this article. The first occurred during a keynote speech I was delivering at the Society of Financial Examiners annual educational conference.

The room was filled with four hundred executives who had gathered to hear some modern-day time management suggestions. I was talking about how important it is to get some down time during the day to refresh and refocus. In a moment of clarity, I blurted out, “And whatever happened to recess?” The question drew a rousing cheer and loud applause! I thought to myself, “Yeah, whatever did happen to recess?”

An hour later, I was reviewing my e-mail on the way to the airport. There was a fairly lengthy thread started by my business partner in my other business – Outdoorplay. He was congratulating our Customer Service Manager on closing a large phone order.

The conversation really took off though when our General Manager announced that tomorrow’s lunch would be pizza compliments of the company. Everyone was congratulating Stacey, thanking Brian, and debating what type of pizzas should be ordered. You can’t mandate the kind of collegiality a simple pizza party can produce.


Playing with the Box

The April issue of Spirit, Southwest Airline’s in-flight magazine, shows a group of kids playing outside on its cover. That makes sense with spring right around the corner.  Surprisingly, though, the associated article inside discusses why adults should play more.  The article’s opening example is illustrative:

Unbox a toy for a toddler and as often as not, the child will play with the box instead of the toy!

Why?  Because the box is more fun!  It can be anything – a hat, a fort, a cup, a ship.  On the other hand, modern toys are typically activity specific, which allows for little imaginative input by its recipient.

Lessons Learned

This doesn’t mean toys are bad. It means boxes are good!  Specifically, Jay Heinrich, author of the “It’s Called Play” article noted above, cites the following lessons we can learn from playing with the box;

  • Fancy toys, programmed activities, and “enrichment” don’t hold a candle to a kid’s own improvising.
  • Unsupervised activity of the kind that terrifies modern, safety-obsessed parents can be good for developing brains and bodies.
  • Outdoor trumps indoors, fitness-wise.
  • Adults can benefit from the same sort of pointless, stupid activity [as playing with a box].


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