At age 36, I have recently taken up playing the guitar again. Am I going through some kind of mid-life existential crisis, going back to teenage habits? Perhaps, though I think not. Allow me to explain why I believe an artistic pursuit is healthy for modern-age information workers, and should be actively encouraged for your teams.
First of all, I don’t think anyone would deny the importance of creativity in modern-day work life. Being creative requires that you experience a diversity of things. After all, it really is about being able to piece together various seemingly disparate bits of information in novel ways. If you spend life looking at spreadsheets, you are restricting the pool of experiences you can draw from. So in order to be more creative, you need to actually live.
Another aspect is the mens sana in corpore sana idea. Some people exercise. Others meditate. I play the guitar. It is my escape valve, it is how I can look away from my computer after a long and tiring meeting and relax for five minutes, the same way someone else might go for a cup of coffee or walk down to the cafeteria.
Will I ever be a great guitarist? I don’t know, and to be honest I don’t think I care. What’s important is not the destination, it’s the road you take to get there.
This post was inspired by this excellent article, you should read that one too if you’re interested in the subject.