I feel like the boring guy now. The guy who tells you to slow down. The guy who wants to take the fun out of what you’re doing. But that is not what I am trying to do at all. What I do want to share with you is a principle that you can live by. We all know that life is a balancing act. If we go too far one way, something bad happens. If we go too far the other way, something bad happens. We know we have to stay balanced, but do we? What can you do to keep things in balance?
I am sure you have heard, “Go big or go home.” Or, “You have to go all in if you want to win.” Or the all too familiar, “No pain no gain.” All of these quotes can be inspirational and can push you forward, but they can also force you to go to extremes. Extremes are what we want to avoid. We have to find the right amount of effort, up to the point where we are almost hitting extreme, but then we should stop. That is the spot you want to reach before you put on the breaks. Once you find that spot, you can’t stay there forever. You have to eventually balance back the other way. The longer you stay towards one extreme, you may have to go back to the other extreme to balance things out faster.
We want to avoid extremes to avoid problems. Here is a little example from my childhood. I always heard it was good to drink water. One night I was sent to bed early. Who knows, I must have been bad or something. Anyways, in order to avoid staying in my bed, I kept getting up like every two minutes to drink a glass of water. I made countless trips to the bathroom to fill up my paper cup and get water. I drank so much water that I ended up getting sick and vomiting lots of it out. I guess you could say I drank an extreme amount of water.
Or how about the guy who sinks all his money into a stock based upon a hot tip. The hot tip ends up not being so hot, resulting in the loss of all his money. You could say it was extreme to put all your money in one stock. Putting all your eggs in one basket could work out, but it could also miserably fail. When it fails, you often have to go to another extreme to balance it out.
Keep Things In Balance
The goal we should be shooting for is to keep things in balance. No matter what you do, there is typically a balance, a middle ground, where you want to be. For example, if you work 80 hours a week, you could say that your work/personal life balance is out of whack. If you work out 3 hours a day, every day, some may say you are out of balance. Even if you don’t know what is out of balance, that much time to one thing is a sacrifice of something else.
The point here is that you always have to find that middle ground. You have to be able to look at things in your life and determine where you’re in balance and where you’re not. If you constantly spend more money than you save, you’re out of balance. If you’re extremely overweight, you’re out of balance. If all of your time is consumed with work rather than with family and friends, you’re out of balance.
Being out of balance has a cost. Even if you haven’t paid the bill yet, you will eventually if you don’t put things back in balance. Nature will help you find the balance if you refuse to. Mother Nature may remind you of the need of a balanced budget by putting you in an emergency situation you cannot afford. She may remind the the over-worker with a big argument that could cost him or her their family. She may remind the overweight person with a heart attack or other disabling health problem.
Some of these costs are good life lessons. Others can be critically disabling or even life threatening. We have to be mindful of what we do and how much of it we do. Too much of anything is not good. Favoring one side of a balance beam could put the other side at risk. Are you prepared to pay the cost of you lack of balance?
“Check Yo-self Fool!!!”
In the words of Smokey from Friday, you better “Check yo-self fool.” Don’t wait for Mother Nature to tell you what you’re doing wrong. Take 30 minutes, sit down, and look at all areas of your life. Review the following areas to see where you are out of balance:
- Fitness – eating, drinking, and work out habits;
- Family/Work – how much time is spent with family vs. work;
- Friends/Family – how much time is spent with friends vs. family;
- Money Spent/Money Saved – how much you spend versus saved;
- Wasted/Productive Time – how you spend your free time; ex. watch too much tv or play too many video games
When you review these areas, be honest with yourself. Think about how many resources you devote to each…too little or too much, and what is that costing you?
Life is one big balancing act. If you push too much one way, the other side suffers. If you push too hard or too far one way, that side you are leaning can suffer. It is important to find the balance…the perfect center. It may be that you have to spend more time on work, for a few weeks, to make things right there. But if this happens, you have to balance things back out.
It’s easy to see the success on one side and not see the effect on the other. This is the challenge. Be mindful of both sides and take neither side to the extreme. The more extreme you go one way, you will have to go extreme to come back. Find the perfect balance and live a balanced life. This is one of the keys to joy and happiness.