“We like the things that summer brings” is the start to a favorite children’s book about the joys of all the simple pleasures of the season. Similarly, Italians have an expression, “la dolce far niente” which translates to “the sweetness of doing nothing.” It is the idea that not doing anything can be something onto itself. There is joy in the moment whether sitting in a café or taking a nap. Recently, I had the opportunity to go for a long stroll in a park. I got to people watch, stop and enjoy the scenery all around me. It was marvelous. I returned from that walk with possible solutions to a problem I’d been struggling with.
Yet, “the sweetness of doing nothing” is a completely foreign concept to many of us with our hard work ethos and go-go culture. There is tremendous creative value in stepping away. Isaac Newtown got inspiration for his law of universal gravitation by observing an apple fall while at his childhood home away from his studies at Cambridge University (it was temporarily closed due to the plague). We often experience “aha” moments while in the shower, before going to sleep, or on a jog – rather than at a desk or in a meeting. This is because taking a break from the task at hand or the problem you are trying to solve, frees your brain up to make those breakthrough connections.
In our last blog, “Hit the Road,” we wrote about how travel can inspire creativity. Having a “staycation” or just taking a moment to step away from work can also help get those creative juices flowing. Some other ways to help experience “la dolce far niente” at home include:
- Release yourself from feeling guilty about taking a break
- Unplug from your devices, TV and social media
- Take a nap
- Occasionally forget about chores
- Unwind with a walk or sitting outside
This summer allow yourself to enjoy the moment and embrace the value of leisure. In addition to feeling refreshed, you might find it provides you with perspective, clarity and new ideas.