Rest and Leisure @ BYOB Party in August 2019 (Part 1)

This time, we hosted the BYOB Party with Meera Iyer at The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), a non-profit organization set up in 1984 with a mandate to protect and conserve India’s vast natural, built and cultural heritage.

Image result for alex kim restSamarth kicked off the BYOB Party with a much-needed book called Rest. In times like these when our overworked burnt-out lives are governed by timetables, schedules, logbooks and to-do lists, Rest, a book by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, a Silicon Valley consultant, helps us understand that work and rest are equal partners in the success of an individual.  Leisure is underrated and ‘Deliberate rest’ is the keyword if you want to achieve more. Children and adults should learn the pleasures that come with being unplugged and simple delights such as napping, walking and playing should be the norm, not the exception.

Samarth had a lot to say about this gem. The book revolves around the single theme of high-performing individuals and what sets them apart. You all know how Malcolm Gladwell talked about the 10,000-hr Rule in his book Outliers. Pang describes how concerted effort and non-effort can actually get you to a more successful zone. The role of leisure in high performing individuals is often ignored. We worry more about the absence of work and underestimate how vital leisure can be to the creative process. We generally squeeze as much time out of leisure as possible in the name of career advancement and consider leisure to be a time-consuming nuisance. This rationing of leisure would have cost us great achievers like Darwin, Stephen King, Da Vinci and Newton. For them, work and play were complementary.  Leisure gave deep satisfaction and they partook of it in the form of long walks and socializing. They made great contributions not in spite of leisure but because of it. The long hours they spent in silent contemplation were vital to their creative breakthroughs.

The book also focuses on research done by prominent people about the creative process, incorporating inputs from experimental psychology, neuroscience, philosophical theorizing, etc.  Says Samarth, “It’s wrong to say that high achieving individuals run on hormones and drive alone. They know when to stop and take rest. Pang touches on ordinary people like us too. How do we handle long hours in bureaucratic settings and the threat of being relegated to low-paying jobs and underemployment if we have underperformed? The book offers no prescriptions. It’s not a self-help book but it is helpful in the goal to help us lead a good life.”

Check out this website for interviews with Alex Pang and more about Deliberate rest.

More books coming up in Part 2.

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