Personal Growth

The myth of a well-balanced life

A balanced life.

It’s what most people are searching for, that ever-elusive elixir that always seem just out of reach. We strive to find the perfect equilibrium, that happy medium that leaves us with all the best things in life – health, happiness, friends, family, and success.

What if I were to tell you that a balanced life doesn’t exist? In fact, even if it did exist, it wouldn’t be something you should strive for?

I recently heard an illustration on the Darren Daily about work-life balance that I really connected with. Life, said host Darren Hardy, is a bit like walking. Walking is an exercise in constant imbalance.

Think about it.

As soon as you take a step forward, you are intentionally throwing yourself off balance. This is worth the danger of falling because without it, you will never have forward progress, never get to where you want to go. The only time you are truly balanced is when you stop walking and stand still.

Life is much the same.

You will never be able to pursue success in every area of your life at the same time. There simply is not enough time to do so. Life, like walking, is an intentional unbalancing of oneself, a conscious choice to focus on something in order to make forward momentum in that area.

The areas we choose to focus on will change as life progresses. If your marriage is on the rocks, you’d better start neglecting other things in order to pursue that relationship with renewed vigor. If you’re working to get promoted, you’re going to have to say no to other commitments and activities in order to achieve that goal.

In time, you may find that you’ve achieved success in many places; but I can guarantee you that that success won’t have been achieved all at the same time.

Forward movement, not work-life balance, should be the ultimate goal. Life is less a balancing act than a puzzle; a delicate dance of learning the best places to allocate your precious time and energy based on your current needs and goals.  

So cut yourself some slack. Stop trying to do it all. Instead, decide what’s really important to you, and choose to throw a little imbalance into your life so that you can make some progress towards it.  

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