Wednesday, September 08, 2010

A new favorite quote

Janine recently put this quote up in our kitchen:

The true defining situation for a person is what they do when they are alone and don't have to do anything else. What do they do? Do they do frivolous things? That's when you define what you are.
Kevin Rollins, former CEO of DELL

My current belief is a balance is reasonable. I allow myself about an hour of down time each evening.


Kyle Johnson said...

While I appreciate Mr. Rollins' attempt to show us a goal-driven life, I'm not really a fan of that quote, actually. It seems to reduce the definition of a person, of their human experience, to mere work.

I guess it's what you'd expect from a presumably Type A executive, since he views the world through his prism of climbing the corporate ladder. But isn't a person more than the sum of his work? Isn't a person more than the total of his productivity?

It seems to me that Mr. Rollins' humanist education was lacking (which is a shocker, actually, because according to Wikipedia his undergraduate degree was called "Humanities and Civil Engineering" in 1983, which is an odd pairing, I suppose).

Human experience and expression, even when alone, cannot be boiled down to the simple boxes of "frivolity" and "non-frivolity". Many times, it's the frivolous things that help us to grow and mature as a person. Indeed, is prayer considered frivolous in a work-centric world?

I like to think that I define myself by things other than just non-frivolous activities.

Henry Cate said...

Thank you for your thoughts.

I see a spectrum. I think you can do useful things that aren't part of your job. Clearly spending time with family or being involved in the community is worthwhile, but it isn't "work."

I think Keith is being critical of couch potatoes. I don't think he has any problems with activities outside of a career.