In 1930, as the world was grappling with the Great Depression, John Maynard Keynes published a paper, Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren. In it, he aimed to peer past the Great Depression and look into the distant future: A 100 years from 1930.
He postulated that in the times of his grandchildren, the struggle for subsistence would not be the prime purpose of life. People would have more time at hand and less work to do. “For three hours a day is quite enough to satisfy the old Adam in most of us,” he wrote.
“Thus for the first time since his creation man will be faced with his real, his permanent problem—how to use his freedom from pressing economic cares, how to occupy the leisure…to live wisely and agreeably and well.”
It is 2019. We have technology that complete us. From telling our blood pressure after lunch, to predicting rain, to using eye-balls to open doors. Our standard of living has leapt high. Yet, most of us live such moribund busy lives. Lives shorn of white spaces and time. Where is the free time to enjoy it?
This can play better don’t you think?
Keynes acknowledged that it was going to be tough. “There is no country…who can look forward to the age of leisure…without a dread,” he wrote. “We have been trained too long to strive and not to enjoy.” His paper has other facets that I would invite you to soak in.
Allow me to also ask you to ponder over our busy lives. Busyness is a disease that occupies most of us. It manifests itself as full calendars and a chorus of “I have no time.” It does so with a sense of legitimacy, and the belief that being busy is the only way to succeed, giving a fast spin to the hamster wheel that we ride. From providing us our daily bread, it has come to provide us our daily fix!
While busyness may be default for many of us, we can design our day differently. What we are busy with is more important than just being busy. Thinking about our work is as important, if not more, than our work itself. Cal Newport and several others have been nudging us towards ‘deep work’. We need to give that some time.
On a different note, it’s been a good week for us at Founding Fuel. NS Ramnath and Charles Assisi have been lit fest hopping and participating in great conversations on The Aadhaar Effect. The rest of us are in projects that bring us face to face with the busyness business.
The technology and the opportunity to lead better lives is omnipresent. The choices are ours to make.
On behalf of Team Founding Fuel
From Our Archives
CKGSB Knowledge | Emma Seppälä, author of ‘The Happiness Track’, on the benefits of wellbeing
Kavi Arasu | Hard work is the base, but doing the same thing many times over will not help you solve a problem or master a new skill
Gourav Jaswal | Is it possible to work 250 hours a month and still remain healthy, happy and married?
What We Are Reading and Watching
The Economist | What are the big trends of 2019?
The New York Times | Tired: Shallow work. Wired: Deep work.
How well are you investing your time?
When Bill Gates was asked by Charlie Rose what was the biggest thing he had learned from Warren Buffett, he said it wasn’t about how he invested his money, but about how he invested his time.