As if denying ourselves pleasure was a noble crusade

Fritz wrote a morbid but insightful book about leaving our business with our sanity and soul intact.

In the chapter about separating ourselves from our business, he makes a fascinating point about enjoyment:

Most of us who have built businesses aren’t wired for leisure. High achievers seem to need purpose and goals.

That’s why it’s so hard for workaholics to relax. Whatever it is we’re doing, we rarely look up to take it all in. We’re just so serious about it all that we don’t ever enjoy ourselves.

It pays off in the short term for our enterprise, but the downstream effect is that feelings of guilt, fear and pride start to accumulate and trick us into thinking we can successfully ignore our natural hedonic needs.

As if denying ourselves pleasure was a noble crusade.

It’s not. Our wellbeing depends on putting real time and effort into activities that nurture our spirit. Immersing ourselves in personal pleasures and private interests. Each of us should embrace a diverse set of activities that form a complete identity.

Cameron wrote a beautiful book on spiritual satisfaction that is part of my annual reading list. She believes that there is sense of prosperity that can be experienced only when life has some leisure in it, and my spirit would agree.

In fact, we could even take it one step further. If level one is building a life that is rich in activities that are both pleasurable and meaningful, then level two would be advancing and gaining more pleasure from our pastimes.

For the past thirty years, songwriting has become my most cherished, satisfying, joyful and robust creative activity. But not because it costs money, or even earns a lot of money. It’s because I have been intentional about adding new layers of meaning that enhance its basic structure.

Instead of keeping a notebook beside my bed for when inspiration strikes, there are multiple workstations and pieces of technology at my service to work on music anytime, anywhere.

Instead of composing songs inside my head and just keeping them to myself, my music is recorded professionally, shared publicly and performed regularly.

Instead of letting my musical expression fall by the wayside when life gets too chaotic, arduous and confusing, my songs are written during those tough times to metabolize my difficult thoughts, feelings and emotions.

This is how my sanity and soul remain intact. The world of pleasures and delights to play in continually expands and deepens right along with me.

Carlin’s great joke comes to mind. He said that he didn’t have hobbies, since hobbies cost money. He had interests, which were quite free.

It’s the brand of joy available to all of us. And it all starts with permission.

Trusting that rewiring our brands for leisure and pleasure is not a sin, but a basic existential necessity. 

How are your pleasure buttons changing?


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Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.
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