Orrin Woodward on LIFE & Leadership

Inc Magazine Top 20 Leader shares his personal, professional, and financial secrets.

  • Orrin Woodward

    Former Guinness World Record Holder for largest book signing ever, Orrin Woodward is a NY Times bestselling author of And Justice For All along with RESOLVED & coauthor of LeaderShift and Launching a Leadership Revolution. His books have sold over one million copies in the financial, leadership and liberty fields. RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions For LIFE made the Top 100 All-Time Best Leadership Books and the 13 Resolutions are the framework for the top selling Mental Fitness Challenge personal development program.

    Orrin made the Top 20 Inc. Magazine Leadership list & has co-founded two multi-million dollar leadership companies. Currently, he serves as the Chairman of the Board of the LIFE. He has a B.S. degree from GMI-EMI (now Kettering University) in manufacturing systems engineering. He holds four U.S. patents, and won an exclusive National Technical Benchmarking Award.

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Leisure & the Pursuit of Wisdom

Posted by Orrin Woodward on August 10, 2015

A big secret to life is when you discover that learning is just as enjoyable as entertainment is, but with long term benefits. – Orrin Woodward

image18aIn the process of researching for my second book in the And Justice For All series, I stumbled across one of the most profound descriptions of the importance of education in a person’s life by Professor Ernest Barker. As I read the words below, I realized how important LIFE Leadership is in improving society. For LIFE helps people focus on achievement through a process of eliminating debt and building a community through serving others by pursuing wisdom and leadership. In effect, the size and speed of the results achieved is a measurement of the wisdom applied to their life and business. The Bible teaches clearly that all true wisdom begins with fear of the Lord and that Christians should seek righteousness and all others things will be added.

Unfortunately, however, few people apply these Biblical lessons consistently. Despite the numerous historical examples of people who applied Biblical wisdom to life and were blessed beyond measure, many still chase money rather than wisdom. In a capitalistic system, money flows to those who apply wisdom to business, but the reverse of this is not true – wisdom flows to those with money. For instance, Laurie and I have many monetary blessings, but none of these satisfy like sharing wisdom with others to stimulate breakthroughs in mentoring sessions or the “aha” moments of self-discovery when the veil of ignorance is removed and one sees clearly the principles to apply to move ahead. Indeed, once a person becomes a seeker of knowledge, he will never be bored again because there is always more wisdom to learn and apply. I love my life and wouldn’t trade places with anyone else because I have been blessed with the leisure to learn and grow. Even more importantly, I am blessed to share what I have learned with other hungry students seeking wisdom in life.

The Financial Matrix is a system of control designed to enslave people in their own ignorance. Hence, if one wished to escape the matrix, one must escape not only physically, but also mentally. To do this, a person must build a business asset to buy back his time because only then will he have the leisure to invest in a self-directed education to develop wisdom. LIFE Leadership is the vehicle to accomplish this where people can live their dreams by losing their debt? However, living your dreams requires a plan and a willingness to work hard. What is the reader’s plan to develop wisdom and seek righteousness? These two steps are foundational to having everything else added unto him to live his/her dreams. I pray you achieve all the success you earn.


Orrin Woodward

Our modern economic society, we have seen, requires leisure and education as its complements and its correctives. They are two things which should go together. Leisure is a time to be devoted — not wholly, for the body has its claims to relaxation, and the mind too needs its gentle indulgences ; not wholly, but at any rate largely — to the purposes of education and the gaining of that knowledge, not to be acquired in the course of work, ‘which brings wisdom rather than affluence.’ Education, on the other hand, should be a training — not again wholly, but at any rate largely — in the right way of using leisure, which without education may be misspent and frittered away. This vital connexion between leisure and education is a fundamental thing. Unless we grasp it, we are in danger of abusing leisure and misusing education. And in order that we may grasp it, it is necessary that we should have a right conception of the meaning of leisure;

One of the old Greek philosophers made a distinction which may help us here. He thought that we ought not merely to distinguish between work and leisure, but also to distinguish between leisure and recreation. Work, he thought, was something done not for its own sake, but as a means to something else — affluence, let us say, or at any rate subsistence ; recreation was rest from work, which took the form of play, and issued in the recovery of the poise of body and mind, disturbed and unbalanced by work ; but leisure was a noble thing, and indeed the noblest thing in life ; it was employment in some activity (we may almost say some form of work) which was desirable for its own sake such as the hearing of noble music and poetry, intercourse with friends chosen for their worth, or the exercise of the speculative faculty.

In this fine sense of the word, we may say that we live for leisure ; that it is the end of our being, which transcends work and far transcends recreation ; that it is the growing time of the human spirit, which in its leisure from necessary toils, and the necessary recreations they entail as their counterpoise, can expand in communion with its own thoughts and with the thoughts of others and with the Grace of God. The sad thing about modern English society is that there is so little leisure in this higher sense. It is not only that we work so hard : it is also that we play so hard. Perhaps the monotony and uniformity of work sends us in reaction to the hazards of games, or the excitement of watching them, or the still greater excitement of betting upon them : perhaps the urban aggregations in which men now live make them unhappy unless they are crowding together to some common game or spectacle.

Whatever the reason, poor leisure is far too often out in the cold, while recreation is romping about all the rooms in the house. One need be no kill- joy or Puritan to think or talk in this strain. Life is something more than a series of alternate layers of lean work and fat hearty play. It is meant for the growth and development of the human spirit. And that growth needs its growing time, which is leisure. If leisure be largely for education, education is also largely for leisure. We too often think and speak of education as something intended to fit us for life’s work. Ideally, it should rather be intended to fit us for life’s leisure. I do not mean that education should be humane rather than vocational.

Education may be humane, and yet directed to work and the better doing of work. I mean something more — that education should mean the filling of our mind with interests and possibilities of high delight, which we can develop for ourselves in all our leisure hours ; that it should be an initiation in the tastes and pursuits which will crown our leisure with fulfilment ; in a word, that it should be a training and a preparation for the right use of the time of the spirit’s freedom. Perhaps education has not hitherto been sufficiently adjusted to this end. Perhaps, if it had been, it would have been directed more to the awakening of a taste for art and music, in order that they might become the permanent possession and the abiding joy of later years.

Be that as it may, it is surely true that education is a necessity if men are to gain the faculty of using leisure easily, happily, and fruitfully. The use of leisure is a difficult thing. The majority of us, when freedom is given into our hands, fly to the excitement of some form of recreation. We must be ‘doing’ something — preferably something physical : if we are not, we are lost and without resource. We know the routine of work : we know the rules and the routine of different forms of play ; but we do not know how to move freely, originally, and by our own choice in the world that lies above work and play — the world of leisure. This is why holidays sometimes pall, and leave us at a loss : it is why men who have retired from work sometimes fall into melancholy, and find their reason for living gone.

Leisure without faculty for its use may even be a mother of mischief; men may dissipate themselves in frivolities, and worse than frivolities, because they do not know how to concentrate themselves upon better things. A society which guarantees leisure is guaranteeing something which may be useless, and even dangerous, unless it adds, or at any rate encourages its members to add, the one thing which will enable the gift to be used — a continuous process of education.

The world offers to the mind of man many noble joys. There is a joy in knowing the flowers of the field, and calling them by their names. There is a joy in knowing tlie heavenly bodies which move above us, and in understanding the rhythm and the rules of their motions. There is a joy in knowing the past of our kind, and in unrolling the long record of human history which explains what we are to-day. There is a joy in entering into the vision of the poet and painter, who have seen the ideal beauty which is hidden from ordinary eyes. There is a joy in wrestling with the thought of great philosophers, who have pondered about the why and wherefore of this mortal world and our mortal existence in it. These are the joys of leisure ; and leisure is the growing time of the spirit because it is the time of these joys. But it needs an effort to catch these joys ; and you cannot catch them without hooks of apprehension.

You must know a little in order to want to know more. Blank ignorance is blank incuriousness, but a little knowledge may be the opportunity and the incentive for more knowledge. The facts presented to mere ignorance are facts which there are no hooks to catch ; but when a mind has had some little training, it develops tentacles of apprehension ; it is anxious to seize new stuff, to arrange it and co-ordinate it with the old stuff which is already there, and so to make a little systematic world of its own for its own high delectation. The mind which is furnished with these tentacles and hooks of apprehension is a mind which will never be embarrassed or dumbfounded by leisure.

It will begin to play at once, in the nobler sense of the word play: the hooks will grip more and more of things seen and unseen into its consciousness ; and in the growing time there will be growth. When we say, therefore, that education is a preparation for the enjoyment of leisure, we mean that it is an equipment of the mind with these hooks and tentacles, these curiosities and appetites. And from this point of view we may see that there is a large sphere for the education of the adult, and that education is in no sense only the concern of childhood. The child learns at school ; but the child learns at a time when real experience of life has not yet begun. He learns, and is often curious to learn ; but what he learns cannot be co-ordinated with, or grappled into, a first-hand experience, because such experience has not yet begun to be gathered.

When he goes out into the world, and begins to gather experience, that experience may seem to him the one essential thing, and the school time lessons may fade away into the outgrown occupations of a vanished childhood. It is at this age — the age of adolescence, young manhood and young womanhood — that everything turns on the rescue of young minds from being immersed in mere experience. It is now that they need to recover curiosities, and to be furnished with hooks and tentacles of apprehension, by which they can capture a knowledge which can now be co-ordinated with experience. History, for example, is one thing to a child — a record of exciting events which satisfies curiosity : it is another thing to an adult — a record of the moral experience of men and nations which can be compared with and interpreted by the moral experience which the adult has himself gone through.

But unless, in adolescent and adult years, the curiosity be reawakened and recovered, the adult mind may remain immersed in its own more immediate experience ; and the high contemplation which lifts it above such experience, and yet explains and interprets that experience, may never be attained. Adolescent and adult education are in this way of primary importance, if man is to rise to that height of his being in which he uses leisure for the purpose of contemplation of the world, in order to explain it, and his own experience of it, and to attain to the justification of faith in its purpose and operation.

27 Responses to “Leisure & the Pursuit of Wisdom”

  1. Orrin,

    I love this post, primarily because it describes the new found passion I have for learning since the beginning of our association 7 years ago. Probably not unlike many busy people with a career and a family one gets busy and forgets the joy you experience while learning. I have delved into new as well as old interests and have been fueled by what I have discovered both in knowledge of topics and new found knowledge of myself.

    I am forever grateful of my association and friendship with you and the many other fine leaders I have come to be acquainted with. Their hunger to grow and learn is so inspiring and I know a reflection of your quest for knowledge. Life Leadership I am convinced will awaken in some for the first time and re-spark the desire in others to take a similar journey to personal excellence.

    Thank you for your leadership,
    Greg Johnson

    • Orrin Woodward said

      Greg, it has been a true joy of mine to see the amazing mind God has gifted you with use to serve others and ultimately to glorify God. We are going to have a great time touring Israel and seeing where the foundations of our Christian faith! thanks, Orrin

  2. Raymond Abernathy said

    ” in adolescent and adult years, the curiosity be reawakened and recovered, the adult mind may remain immersed in its own more immediate experience ;”


    I love this quote because I found myself immersed in my own experiences before being introduced to LIFE Leadership. The whole LIFE journey has served to open my mind to the possibilities of curiosity. I believe that most people know that there is more to life than just thinking through what we have been taught, but for those of us blessed to be around the LIFE leadership information, we now have found an excellent means of expanding our tentacles and hooking into a bright new future.

    Thanks for your leadership and service!

    • Orrin Woodward said

      Well said Raymond. I cannot even explain how this essay hit me when I read it. It was like Ernest Barker, in 1920, was describing LIFE Leadership and the importance of true education rather than just job training. Training is important, even in LIFE Leadership, but education is done for the sheer joy of seeking understanding where currently there is ignorance. His point of needing a foundation of education to leader to deeper education and understanding is exactly what we do when we go from reading basic books into deeper books as we free up our life from the mundane task of paying bills and barely keeping our head above the Financial Matrix water. Liberty from bills and jobs is the opportunity to apply our new found leisure to expand our mental and spiritual capabilities to serve others. 🙂 thanks, Orrin

  3. waltermartinez2012@aol.com said

    Dear Orin.
    It is a pleasure to communicate with you. Thank you for opportunity you give me to make comments, and this is what I believe. “Organization that teaches, what I call” The multiplication: consists of three principles. “The mutual support, mutual strength and mutual agreement” (Ecclesiastes 4. The Bible) .. Walter Martinez

    • Orrin Woodward said

      Well said Walter!

      • walter martinez said

        I am a pastor, and I know the bible and also you know the BIBLE. that why , what you said according the most powerful BOOK in History. Congratulations and I look forward to hear from you
        Walter Martinez

  4. Elaine Mallios said

    I never thought of leisure in this way. I always feel like I’m stealing time when I study. Who knew – I’m “leisuring”!

    • Orrin Woodward said

      I cannot imagine accomplishing much if I wouldn’t have leisured into so many principles that I did not know that I now apply to life and business. 🙂

  5. Dan Brown said

    Hey Orrin. My wife Mindy and I are part of a very small group that is in the lower corner of South East Iowa in Life Leadership.(Freedom Fighters) We have been involved with Life for only about 2 months. My Grandfather was a Minister for over 30 years, raised 10 kids and worked himself to death trying to support his family. My father was a Minister for over 30 years, raised 12 kids and worked himself to death working 2 or 3 jobs to support his family. I know in the end, the most important thing to my father was helping others, spending time with my mother and traveling. He always had a pursuit of knowledge and wisdom. He always preached about READING the Word of God, LISTNING to your heart and the Lord, ASSOCIATING with brothers and sisters in Christ (not just on Sunday) then IMPLEMENTING this into your life to serve God, your family and your fellow man. I respected and loved my father for all he did. I have been a Minister for just a little over 6 years and raised only 1 child and my wife and I have 3 children now thru marriage with our 7th grandchild on the way. At the age of 50 my wife and I refuse to be kept in bondage of the financial matrix anymore. I do not want our children to one day tell a story how we worked ourselves to death to support our family but we never had the leisure time to spend with our family and did not get the opportunity to help anyone. When we saw Life Leadership business 2 months ago and I read finacial matrix and listened to a couple of your cds. I couldn’t help but think of my grandfather, my father and my life. I believe this is what my father reached his entire life for and preached about it. This business is what God has called each and everyone of us to do as children of God. Thank you and Lauri for having the courage to go against the masses. I believe it was Gods will that we saw this business the exact day we did. My wife and I went PBO our 1st month in the business and we are not looking back because this business teacher exactly what God tells us to do. Love they Lord with all your Heart, Mind and Soul and Love they Nieghbor as they self. May God continue to Bless you and yours. Amen Your Brother in Christ. Dan.

    • Orrin Woodward said

      Pastor Dan, welcome to LIFE! I am so excited about the future and helping million break free from the Financial Matrix, your family included! God Bless, Orrin

  6. Jammie said

    Recreation vs leisure; and leisure in the true sense of the word described. How lost I was and our world is, and I sometimes still can be. This excerpt is poetic in every sense to me.

    Should I learn to cultivate its principles into my life further, I dare say it may be epic. I appreciate so much your hunger to learn and grow. I pray I can do the same and inspire others; especially my children to do the same. Thanks so much Orrin!

    “Life is something more than a series of alternate layers of lean work and fat hearty play. It is meant for the growth and development of the human spirit. And that growth needs its growing time, which is leisure. If leisure be largely for education, education is also largely for leisure. We too often think and speak of education as something intended to fit us for life’s work. Ideally, it should rather be intended to fit us for life’s leisure.”

    • Orrin Woodward said

      Jammie, you are getting the work done and freeing up your time to add education through leisure. It will change so much in your life and in your business! Keep rocking! God Bless, Orrin

  7. Ken Hendon said

    Thus leisure truly refreshes the spirit; whereas, recreation may not.

  8. Rob Brown said

    Covey’s Four Dimensions of Sharpening the Saw: Physical, Social/Emotional, Mental, and Spiritual; each one, “kept sharp” is essential for effectiveness. The type of leisure described here can/should be applied in each of the four dimensions. Really amazing way to teach the principle! Thank you…..again, Rob

  9. David Cadarette said

    Great article Orrin!!! LIFE LEADERSHIP: Lose Your Debt, Live Your Dreams!!

  10. John Vreeland said


    You are truly a Steward of God.

    I had brain surgery at the end of October 2014.

    The two weeks of being in ICU, then a room, I would listen to you and Laurie on YouTube as I did not have access to a CD player, but I had my iPhone and charger.

    For those two weeks, I played your videos repeatedly and received such a blessing. The nursing staff while working, as well as on their own time, would come in to visit with me. They were so impressed with my attitude that each and every one of them, always complimented me on the depth of my conversations and the fact I was not always asking for painkillers. I guess you could say, that being confined to a hospital bed meant that God had my undivided attention.

    I drew a lot of strength from your YouTube videos and my Bible.

    I look forward to the day when I may, again, be able to join everyone at the Majors! I miss the association and excitement.

    I try to attend the monthly seminars here in Houston, TX, when I can, but still unable to travel any distance.

    Thank you so much for following your vision and follloing the plan God has laid out before you.

    God Bless!

    John Vreeland
    Houston, TX

    • Orrin Woodward said

      John, I am so happy to hear you made it through brain surgery alive and well. You attitude is so impressive and it inspires me to do more! I am very proud of you John. God Bless, Orrin

  11. Matt Moser said


    This article is so humbling and profound that I can’t help but comment!

    “The facts presented to mere ignorance are facts which there are no hooks to catch ; but when a mind has had some little training, it develops tentacles of apprehension”

    The above quote sums up my life:

    I graduated High School in 2006 and joined this organization in 2007. Prior to this association I honestly cannot recall having read an adult-level book to completion in my life. I absolutely, positively hated reading. In fact I was proud that I did not read and wore it like a badge of honor. Public school education taught me that reading books meant dry scholastic textbooks and abstract novels, neither of which (in my mind) had any meaningful application to my life. Reading was a means to no end, except that I had to do it to get a grade. It was certainly not recreation and I could never have understood the concept of leisure as described in your post. Looking back, I realize I had never been inspired to read or for that matter learn much of anything…or maybe I was just too stubborn to listen! Either way, I was ignorant and the “hooks” were not catching.

    It was at this point, by God’s grace, I was introduced to LIFE Leadership. For whatever reason, the first book my mentor ever recommended to me was “Think and Grow Rich” and it opened up my mind to possibility thinking and taking responsibility for my attitude. Maybe to the reader this will sound dramatic, but I know it’s no exaggeration that it literally changed the path of my life forever. I’ve lost track, but somewhere around 150 books later, I continue to realize how much I don’t know! Especially when to know and not to do is not to know!

    I am forever indebted and thankful to you and so many leaders that I’ll leave unnamed, for instilling in me (and I know-thousands of others) the “tentacles of apprehension” that took the scales off my mind. It’s been a most awesome journey and continues to get better!

    God Bless,
    Matt Moser

    • Orrin Woodward said

      Matt, what an amazing testimony to the spirit of this article! Thank YOU for sharing. God Bless, Orrin

  12. Steve Leuquin said

    This article is so good it is worth another read. So many points to ponder on.

    I have to tell you a quick story that happened this week at our house. Maybe it relates, maybe not :). We have a young many (20) on our team who came to our house with his dad. His dad is not in the business and keeps asking about it but has yet to “pull the cord”. In conversation with his son he said, two things are strange about that place. He said this meaning our house and neither were said in negative tone, but more of inquisitive. He said that is was weird that that they do not have a television in their living/family room. The second thing that was strange to him, was that our son was on the couch in that living room reading a book. He said that you don’t see that anymore.

    I pray that the curiosity that Raymond quoted in your article returns. I believe that many will take note of the change that the people of Life Leadership live and want to implement some of that change in their lives.


    • Orrin Woodward said

      Great stuff Steve. Your leadership is influencing not just your family, but many more! God Bless, Orrin

  13. Steve Casey said

    Orrin I am so glad that you share the wisdom you gain through the example you set in work ethic, learning, leading, and the proper application of “leisure” in life. You again remind me of how important it is apply the process.
    What an amazing confirmation that leisure time spent “resting” the mind from engagement, reflection, outside information from reading, etc., actually and unintentionally takes us down the slight edge over time to a result of unrest / how did I get here / loss of purpose. The tentacles of apprehension cannot reach any targets, and cannot monkey bar their way to consistently bigger and bigger realizations over time if I don’t consistently allow time and mental engagement for that process to take place. Not only wisdom gets missed but also the chance to apply it due to the lack of leisure time well spent mentally conducting the PDCA process in many areas of our lives. I have wasted too much time being “busy” along with the lack of planned consistent doses of leisure time that is meaningful.
    I remember many years ago the advice I got in reading the Bible: “just take a little time daily and read–let it soak in / be open and rest and the Holy Spirit will reveal wisdom to you.” And it sure did work. They were right. Wisdom was revealed and then the fruits of the Spirit were able to start coming out and bringing results in my life through application of them, etc. That was one of my first experiences of the tentacles of learning apprehension working in me.
    However, I can see the fruits also of not continuing the process consistently in all areas of life–slight edge factor applied negatively and thus removing the monkey bar rungs for those tentacles to stretch to… and thus results not intended occurring.
    I’m not a fantasy football player but overdoses of fantasy leisure (TV, etc) can equal unintended nightmare life, or at least the failure to keep growing to be what God wants us to be and made us to be.
    Thanks a lot again Orrin for teaching, reminding, and encouraging! A great read this morning and a PDCA moment for sure for me.

    • Orrin Woodward said

      Well said Steve! I loved Barker’s distinction between recreation and leisure. Both are needed, but I spend more time in leisure reading and thinking than I do recreating and socializing. All are needed but a man who doesn’t take time to think is no better than an animal who cannot think. Much is sacrificed by the constant busyness of mind (checking mobile phones, watching TV, movies, attending events, partying) that our society seems to not be able to live without while neglecting wisdom (concentrated reading, thinking, and application of proper principles) that our society seems to avoid at all cost. 🙂 thanks, Orrin

      • Rick Tillmann said

        Hey Orrin,
        First, thank you for starting your post with a bold statement concerning “fear of the Lord.” What other top 50 leadership developer has the courage to lead with his firm reliance on God and to freely share that with others? None that I have seen. Second, in reading your reply to Steve’s post was another nugget of wisdom! Reading all the posts, followed by your comments feels like I’m taking part in an amazing conversation. Thanks for all of your words of inspiration.

  14. Chad Palmer said

    Thankfully, God has inspired you to develop a system of freeing men and women from the chains of intellectual and financial bondage using time tested and proven principles from thousands of great books. Rob Brown also reminds us using Steven Covey’s analogy of sharpening the saw as why it’s important to use leisure time to renew the mind and rest from our labors. Thanks Orrin and Life Leadership for being examples of the few that Henry Ford spoke of who think and then go into action to change themselves and our community for the betterment of the human family. cap

  15. Orrin, I truly enjoyed reading your post. I love the examples and correlations that you give in bringing this matter to light. It is a matter of choice and at times during those adolescent years it is a matter of prodding. The mind deffinitely needs to be expanded and explored to have true fullfilment. I alos have and listened to you CD on Time and Leisure. Thank you for sharing.


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