Leadership Lessons from Confucius: take a break
Confucius said: “I cannot stand those people who eat all day long without ever using their minds! Can they not play dice or chess? At least playing those games would be better than nothing.”
We all need to unplug from time to time. In fact, we should make a habit of it. How many emails and social media alerts are so important that you need to give up your free time to read the words of wisdom contained in them? How many tasks are so critical that you need to spend your evenings and weekends in the office or pounding your notebook keyboard? How are you ever going to reach your creative peak if you constantly feel you have to be working? How will you see the wood from the trees if you allow yourself to be buried under a mountain of details?
Go on. Take a break! Spend it however you want to — not how others think you should. You will feel all the better for it.
This article features a translation of Chapter 22 of Book 17 of the Analects of Confucius. You can read my full translation of Book 17 here.
(1) 博 (bó) was a dice game. 弈 (yì) was a board game now known as Weiqi in Chinese or Go in Japanese.
(2) Another criticism of the chatterati by the sage. Confucius could not bear the thought of people simply chilling out and enjoying themselves. Even leisure activities had to have an instructive purpose. No wonder he was no fan of meditation.
I took this image in the Four Beasts Scenic Area in Taipei.