A leisurely life sure does sound good, doesn’t it? If I could just, somehow, have one of those lifestyles where I could just kick it and read, write, exercise, play a lot of golf, eat good food, live in awesome places, and spoil the sh*t out of my daughter and wife, sometimes I think that’d be it. I’d be perfectly fulfilled.
But then again, I know that leisure just won’t cut it. I mean, leisure is nice. I’d take more of it, for sure. But let’s face it. I don’t think I’m just speaking for myself when I propose that we want more.
The good stuff comes when we work past our leisure.
Let’s break this down:
Reading a book is leisurely…
But writing your own is amazing.
Drawing is leisurely…
But creating your own style and making something that blows people away is incredible.
Hitting balls at the driving range is leisurely…
But hitting thousands of balls until your hands are beyond sore and you finally reach the point where you can repeatedly hit a 7-yard draw on-demand is magic.
Being able to read sheet music and play a musical instrument is leisurely.
But performing a masterpiece with nothing but the notes from your own soul is pure sorcery.
Here’s the thing…
The top sentences above feel good while doing them. They feel nice. Relaxing. Slightly invigorating at most.
The bottom sentences, however, often carry a whole lot of suckyness with them while doing them. They’re not easy. They can be quite a trudge. But these are the things, when looking back, were worthwhile. They change us at a cellular level.
Doing things like those bottom sentences require a heightened focus and a large investment of psychic energy to pull off. We allocate large doses of attention towards them, often shutting off the rest of the world while we’re immersed in them. We find ourselves in the zone where time stands still and we forget to eat lunch and dinner and don’t snap out of it until the sun comes up the next day.
This is what life calls us to. Leaning past our edges and going beyond leisure. Pushing the envelope. More. And more. Until there is no ‘you’ separate from ‘that thing you’re doing’. You and the experience you’re having are one.