By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to remind you to relax in order to be more productive.
If there is an art to serving as President of the United States, I’ll vote for President Dwight Eisenhower.
Eisenhower, an artist in residence, relaxed between meetings in the White House with his oil painting hobby that eventually created more than 260 paintings.
Eisenhower said the art hobby he started at age 58 helped him think more clearly. “You put the surface of your mind on the canvas while you work through problems in the deeper recesses of your mind,” said Eisenhower, the former five-star General who commanded the Allies in winning World War II.
Eisenhower picked up the hobby from another famous political leader in World War II, Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Great Britain.
Recreational pursuit in general and the “art” of leadership in particular is lost on too many of us smart-phone wielding 24/7 leaders. Today’s leaders are more apt to define the art of leadership as the ability to Tweet or Text while driving at 70 miles hour between meetings.
To help you feel less guilty putting away your smart phones, iPads, iPods etc and picking up a low tech hobby even for a few minutes a day, consider these presidential recreational activities: Barack Obama’s pick-up basketball games, George W. Bush’s mountain bike riding, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s stamp collecting, Abraham Lincoln’s weight lifting and Harry Truman’s piano playing.
The Bow That Is Always Bent Will Quickly Break
Maybe you just can’t relax before a major decision you have to make or an initiative you have to lead. You’re too tense. The pressure is on. Let me suggest that this CRUNCH TIME might be just the time for you to try to relax, try to chill out, and go fly that proverbial kite. “You’re nuts,” I just heard you yell at your computer screen. No leader would shirk his or her duty like that especially when your staff is waiting for you to act on this critical matter. Well, let me give you another perspective on your decision-making process. Flying that proverbial kite just might help you make a more strategic decision that would enhance your prospects of success.
Consider England’s Sir Francis Drake. He led the English against the Spanish Armada — but only AFTER he relaxed. While bowling, he was notified that the Spanish Armada had just entered the English Channel. He finished his bowling match; beat his opponent and then defeated the Spanish Armada.
Drake knew the power in relaxation and recreation (a.k.a re-creation) in enhancing his job performance. He embraced the playful thought of the first century poet Phaedrus who said: “The bow that’s always bent will quickly break. But if unstrung will serve you in your need. So let your mind take some relaxation to come back to its task with fresher heed.” Remember the fun you had at recess when were a kit. Relive that recess even for a few minutes. Go fly a kite every so often. And turn your leadership into even more of an art
Relax to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.
You might also like these previous Leadership Mints on Strategic Thinking:
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