Growing up, I worked at my father's store, starting at a young age through grade school to college doing age appropriate work. During that entire time, I never saw my father go out to lunch. Some times someone brought him back a sandwich, but he always felt that his top priority was running the business, working hard for survival and success. He never went "out to lunch."
I was working in another studio recently, recruited for my fabrication skills as a crucial deadline was days away. Crunch time was on, "Hammertime" in action, and yet there were several people in that group who dropped what they were doing to go out to lunch as a social activity.
I watched them leave for a leisurely walk on their lunch adventure (while I continued working). It left me mystified that they did not share the urgency to prioritize a deadline.
On other occasions, I've watched people leave keynote lectures, conferences, or workshops for a leisurely lunch. They walk away from opportunities to connect, learn, achieve, discover, discuss, etc. to go "out to lunch."
We all know the phrase "out to lunch," an idiom referring to being out of touch, distracted from the task at had, or lacking good judgement. I think this can also apply to choosing to go "out to lunch" and thereby missing out on new or longer term opportunities.
The same principle applies whether at home or working in a studio or even at a workshop. Giving in to the habit of a leisurely lunch inevitably foregoes so many opportunities to finish work on time. Each hour of every day is too precious to go out for a leisurely lunch, except as a special treat.
This same principle applies to other modes of activity. I rarely watch professional sports, but am amazed by the levels of effort and sweat that goes into being the best of the best. When an athlete catches a ball higher in the air than you think a person can jump, or throws a ball across the court further and more accurately than one thinks is humanly possible, they have not been "out to lunch." All of these superior athletes work their butts off practicing, training, and preparing for that potential opportunity to excel in a crucial situation.
Many want to find the secret to success and there are many ways to be successful. The book the Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change says, "People need to learn that effort, persistence, and resiliency are eventually rewarded with success."
There are many ingredients for success, but one sticks out in my mind as clear as day. As I renew my professional efforts for the new year, one thing is certain, you can not be "out to lunch" and expect to succeed.
My opinion may be controversial, but for me enjoying life is creating opportunities for achievement, not relaxing. What do you think? Enter your views or opinions in the comments below.
This post was updated on December 13th, 2021.