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Too often, we put the needs of others first. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t complete a big report before taking a nap, but there is an invisible line in the sand. On one side, you always put yourself first, and you don’t care about anything or anyone else. On the other side, you always put everyone else last, neglecting yourself. The key is to find a happy medium—where you take care of your responsibilities, but you recognise that you also need to take care of yourself.
Whether your guilty habit is golf, painting, reading, or even just sitting outside with a cold drink, you should take time for the things that make you happy. We get so caught up in the day-to-day grind, and we let time slip away from us. Behavioural and psychological factors can increase mortality risk, but hobbies and time spent doing things you enjoy can add years instead.
A recent study examined elderly adults living in a community dwelling. They found that residents without hobbies or a purpose in life had a decline in activities of daily living and a significantly higher risk of mortality. The scientists also hypothesised that having no hobbies may be the strongest link to mortality risk (Tomioka, 2016).
Don’t be a spectator, don’t let life pass you by.
It may take a major adjustment for you to find the time to devote to yourself. But it’s important, and as researchers continue to unlock the mysteries of the brain, we will learn even more about how our actions affect our longevity. Life is too short as it is, so why not slow down today, and make a change?
You don’t have to start with a dramatic change all at first. Think of it like losing weight—slow and steady wins the race. Maybe you used to play an instrument, or write poetry, or go fishing. Even if you start with a few minutes on the weekend, get out there and pursue your passions.
You may feel hopeless about taking time for yourself. You may point to all the obligations you have. But ask yourself if you are truly happy. Your attitude matters, and the way you present yourself affects those around you. If you don’t value hobbies and time spent doing things you enjoy, why will your workers? You have to lead by example.
Maybe you feel like you’ll slow down when you ‘see a sign’, or get an outside indication that you’re stretched too thin. Maybe this IS the sign. You can make a positive change in your life by shifting your attitude about the importance of spending time doing things that you are passionate about. Innovation waits for no one, and if you aren’t ready to embrace the new ways of leadership for this Imagination Age, someone behind you will be.
Tomioka, K., Kurumatani, N., & Hosoi, H. (2016). Relationship of Having Hobbies and a Purpose in Life With Mortality, Activities of Daily Living, and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living Among Community-Dwelling Elderly Adults. Journal of Epidemiology, 26(7), 361–370. http://doi.org/10.2188/jea.JE20150153
Founder & CEO
About my Brain Institute
Scientist, educator, author, speaker, coach, award-winning leadership specialist, filmmaker and creator of the i4 Neuroleader Model & Methodology.
Silvia's scientific background and curiosity about the human brain led her to a decade long journey of research into optimal brain functioning and the application of neuroscience in leadership and daily life. Her past and current roles have uniquely prepared her for the current undertaking, that of leadership activist & change agent.
Silvia Damiano founded The About my Brain Institute in 2009, with the purpose of democratising leadership & neuroscience. She has a passionately held belief, that leaders in our 21st century global economy and their organisations must radically change long-held ideas of what constitutes effective leadership
In her ground-breaking books ‘Leadership is Upside Down’, ‘Brain-Friendly Leadership’ and the 2018 documentary ‘Make Me A Leader’, Silvia provides both compelling evidence and explores the importance of leadership in our personal and professional lives and what it takes to develop the human behind the leader.
Silvia has worked in different countries, across many industries, helping teams and organisations improve business performance. Silvia’s clients have described her as a passionate, dynamic, a highly experienced speaker and master facilitator on the topics of Emotional Intelligence, Cultural Change, Neuroleadership & Engagement.
Silvia is passionate about leaving a legacy of well-rounded leaders who can act and decide in a way that better serves humanity. Her clients include Microsoft, Australian Stock Exchange, NSW Government, VISA, Fuji Xerox and Manpower amongst many other global companies.