Leisure

I’ve seen a few articles (WSJ , Business Insider this week attributing Radio Shack’s demise to our loss of leisure time.

No doubt, this quote from RS founder Charles Tandy could lead you to take that position:

“The shorter workweek, human curiosity, idle hands — all offer opportunities in this business. Everyone’s spare time is our challenge,” he said.

I don’t think these articles are correct though. We have plenty of time for leisure but we have forgotten how to be leisurely. Losing the time for leisure is very different from losing the capacity for leisure and – at least for those Americans who have met the most basic needs of food, shelter, clothing, etc – many folks have simplity lost the capacity for leisure. Like gratitude and awe, the capacity for leisure is a skil and a powerful attribute of self-sufficiency that hectic, modern life will just errode away over time if we don’t give it the mindful attention it deserves.

Radio Shack is just the tip of the iceberg of things that have or will dissappear as we continue to lose our capacity for leisure. I wrote a few months back about how John Thorne makes note of our decreased capacity to cook our own food. Many of the things that make life rich and rewarding are the fruit of attention and leisure.

As our attention diminishes so does our capacity for leisure.

Bonus: TED talk on gratefulness from leisure advocate and Benedictine Monk David Steindl-Rast. Watch Here