“Perpetual devotion to what a man calls his business is only to be sustained by perpetual neglect of many other things.”
Robert Louis Stevenson
An Apology for Idlers
Robert Louis Stevenson wrote the essay, “An Apology for Idlers,” in 1877. Ironically, soon after it was published, Stevenson’s career took off and those days of idleness came to an end. Soon after the essay was written, Stevenson wrote his mother, “It was well I wrote my ‘Idlers’ when I did; for I am now the busiest gent in Christendom.”
Excerpt From an Apology for Idlers
It is not only the person himself who suffers from his busy habits, but his wife and children, his friends and relations, and down to the very people he sits with in a railway carriage or an omnibus.
Perpetual devotion to what a man calls his business, is only to be sustained by perpetual neglect of many other things. And it is not by any means certain that a man’s business is the most important thing he has to do…
There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy, we sow anonymous benefits upon the world, which remain unknown even to ourselves, or when they are disclosed, surprise nobody so much as the benefactor. A happy man or woman is a better thing to find than a five-pound note. He or she is a radiating focus of goodwill; and their entrance into a room is as though another candle had been lighted.