Oh, you don’t have time to waste? Neither do I. And I agree, you SHOULD NOT waste time because time is precious but everyone from time to time is wasting some time. So what is your favourite waste of time?
Sleeping? Watching TV? Going for a walk, going window shopping? Sitting on a terrace with a drink, watching people pass by? Or is it solving crossword puzzles, Sudoku, or another kind of puzzle that you find in most magazines? You can also have the equivalent puzzle app on your tablet or phone. Then the odds of wasting your time trying to solve puzzles are even higher.
In general the only idle time I have is when I’m waiting for someone or when I’m at the hair dresser’s. And I’m not an exception to the rule. I love puzzles like Sudoku and I love playing chess on my tablet, although I always lose 🙁 Another favourite waste of my time is reading books on topics I’m interested in. Now you will say: “That is not a waste of time!”. Well, it is! It is when the topic is of no immediate practical use. I like to learn, just for the sake of learning and knowing. And I know I’m not the only one! Why are we doing this? Why are we breaking our brain over things that are of no immediate use? And the weird thing is: We’re having fun doing this!
Here comes Maslow again!
I’m a huge fan of Abraham Maslow! And not without a reason! It’s Maslow who has an answer to the questions above. For your and my good understanding, we are returning to Maslow’s pyramid of needs. The initial pyramid had 5 levels (see ‘Climbing the pyramid of needs’). Later, Maslow added three more levels. One of those added levels is the ‘Cognitive needs’. It’s the level following the ‘Esteem needs’ (see ‘What’s your worth’) and it’s the level in which we find the answers to the above questions.
So, we’re back at the question: “Why are we breaking our brain over things that are of no immediate practical use and why do we love to do that? Apparently we feel the need to get a better understanding of the world around us. To get this understanding we chase knowledge, we learn, we explore, want to discover and increase our intelligence. It is part of the self-fulfillment or growth needs which are the four top levels of the pyramid.
Challenge your brain!
And there’s a lot to explore and to discover! You can travel and get to know other people and other cultures. Or, if you don’t like to travel, you can read a book about it, watch a documentary or surf the Internet and travel virtually. You can go back in history, and virtually explore the Roman Empire, experience life in a medieval castle or meet Henry VIII, Napoleon Bonaparte or some other historical figure that fascinates you. Virtually of course! Or you can try and learn everything about staying healthy, astronomy, engineering or whatever you’re interested in.
Why would we like to do that? First of all, it gives satisfaction. Secondly, it increases our self-esteem and enables us to connect with people who are interested in the same topics. On top of that, you never know when, but one day you might actually use the knowledge you have.
So, go and read books about topics you don’t need. Go and challenge your brain with mind games, just for fun! Play Sudoku and chess. Go and waste your time (intelligently)!