Often the quotations from the ancient philosophers and poets, while wise they don’t always seem very fresh. While freshness doesn’t mean better, I feel freshness in this quotation from Horace. I hope you feel it and don’t lose the profound value in it.
Mix a little foolishness with your prudence: It’s good to be silly at the right moment.
– Horace (65 BC – 8 BC)
Questions to Ponder
When was the last time you were silly?
When is the “right moment” to be silly?
How would you assess your balance between prudence and playfulness?
- Take the questions about – and your answers – seriously.
- Make sure you are consciously making the right balance in different parts of your life.
- If your balance is off either direction, take the appropriate action.
- And either way, do something silly today!
Seriously, silliness and playfulness in a blog on leadership? You bet. In part because being a remarkable leader requires you be transparent and real. All real human beings laugh, are playful and have fn sometimes don’t they?
Have you ever had a time in your life where you felt you were too serious, and while you were working on serious and important matters you seemed to be constantly tired and stressed? Alternatively, can you remember a time when you were so playful and silly that you weren’t making any real progress?
If you’ve experienced it as a human being, as a leader or in the context of your work, then you realize the power of Horace’s age-old words.
As a human being you owe it to yourself to find this balance – it will make you happier and healthier (and therefore a better leader). As a leader it will make you more effective and a positive model for others to find that balance too.