Finally I have got some time on my hands, which as you read on, will find is a major theme of this post and something I wanted to share with the world about what I learned in regard to it.
Something that I see many people struggle with every single day is balance. I completely believe that balance is one of the most critical concepts to master in life. Balance, to me, mandates nearly everything and every situation you can encounter in the world. It is almost a “meta” concept. It mandates and controls other ideas and concepts.
The key to balance is finding the median between two extremes. I constantly find myself looking inward and trying to figure out if my life is balanced. I encourage the same of others. I have discovered through years of observation that those who are not happy typically do not live balanced lives and those that are live balanced lives. People tend to over-analyze every situation and every aspect of life, without looking toward a bigger idea and a bigger concept. Many people try to solve issues in their life without ever being aware of what the ultimate cause of the issue is and generally it is an imbalance.
Perhaps, I too generously apply the concept of balance (maybe I need to find balance in that itself, or maybe that would only further the issue 🙂 ), but I have found it a good foundation on which to evaluate my life and my happiness.
To further clarify the idea, for example, it is important to drink water every day to stay hydrated and I think most reasonable people would agree that drinking water is beneficial. However, take it to either extreme, not drinking any water, or drinking many gallons of water per day is not good in any form. People who find themselves on either extreme will not be happy. Although most people would take the preceding as common sense, it can be applied to many aspects of life:
- Work and play balance
- Doing things for your friends/family/significant other and doing things for yourself
- Eating too much; eating too little
- Drinking too much alcohol; being too uptight
- Spending too much money; saving too much money
- Sleeping too little; sleeping too much
- Cleaning too much; cleaning too little
- Being too serious; joking too much
- Being selfish; being selfless
- Being defensive; being offensive
- Being too open-minded; being too closed-minded
- Talking; listening
There are really two significant categories of balance in my eyes. One is time related and the other is behavioral related. Several of the above can be classified as time related (sleeping, working, cleaning, etc.). These items all belong to the greater category of time, which is ultimately time-management. Time is probably the most coveted artificial resource in the universe. Time is so important that it takes many years to learn how to balance it properly. In fact it has infiltrated itself into our education system and one of the cornerstones of society; college, more than anything tests a person’s ability to manage their time. I always have liked the age old adage: “Do you live to work or work to live?” It summarizes the struggle between work and play. I like to respond: “I work to live a little bit, and live to work a little bit as well.” A person should take pride in their work, but not to the point where it interferes with their lives. A person should also enjoy their own time, but not to the point where they can’t accomplish the things they want because of the lack of resources to do so.
I have to constantly balance my dedication to my family and friends with the dedication I have to myself. Sometimes I find myself drifting toward one extreme or another and have to take steps to swing back toward the middle. I do earnestly believe that you have to be happy with who you are and yourself before you have any remote chance of making anyone else happy. At the same time, time on this world is limited and you want to surround yourself with those who love you and cherish your company.
The other category, as I mentioned is behavioral. Your behavior is a core part of the persona that you project onto the world and ultimately that shapes the perception the world has of you. It is important to find balance in this area as well. It is okay to get angry, but getting angry all the the time is taking it to an extreme. People will not want to be around you, talk to you, or even associate with you. On the other end of the spectrum you don’t want to be perceived as a push over either. If you do, people will try to, and perhaps even successfully take advantage of you. It is important to know your limits and isolate your emotions from the concept of self. Your ideals, thoughts, and beliefs should transcend and be more persistent than a fleeting emotion. “Those who stand for nothing will fall for anything.”
Tomorrow, ask yourself… are you living a balanced life? If not try to find ways to bring yourself away from any given extreme back toward the middle. If you are, then congratulations, but be aware that balance can become distorted rapidly.