At Brighthouse, an Atlanta-based innovation consulting firm, staff members get five week’s vacation, AND five Your Days. The five Your Days are free days that the staff are encouraged to use to visit someplace conductive to reflection and thinking. No particular goal to solve anything – just what they call “blue-sky thinking.” CEO Joey Reiman believes this unstructured thinking is just as important to their success as time spent hunkered down in client meetings or looking at computer screens.
Other companies like Maddock Douglas and Google also encourage their workers to spend up to 20 percent of their work hours pursuing whatever intrigues them.
Here’s a favorite book of mine that addresses this issue: How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day. Few people have ever been as creative or inventive as da Vinci. But he was also a thoughtful philosopher. Leonardo reflected sadly that the average human “looks without seeing, listens without hearing, touches without feeling, eats without tasting, moves without physical awareness, inhales without awareness of odour or fragrance, and talks without thinking.” In his writings he constantly calls us to improve our senses – and our sensibility and sensitivity.
I hear repeatedly from people who are asking “What is the meaning of life?” Leonardo da Vinci would encourage them to ask, “How can I make my life meaningful?”
Make sure you’re spending time thinking – and making your life meaningful.