Do you desire to live a balanced life? One in which everything seems to work in harmony, with the perfect blend of activities and relaxation. Where all flows effortlessly? What a life that would be! Is such a thing possible?
Well, yes. And no. Life can be in perfect balance for a time, yet nothing lasts forever. Most of us have had those experiences when everything in life flows so effortlessly it is simply perfect.
But then there is time. Time never ceases its forward momentum, always flowing into the future. While often predictable, what can await us has the potential to turn life on its head at a moment's notice. With time nothing is assured. The unknown arises and dashes our plans. No one can know what will come in that continuous, never-ending flow of time.
With all of that said, do not give up on finding balance in life! Balance is a worthwhile pursuit and can add a great deal of living to your life!
If you seek balance, you can have it. I have had years of balance before life would go off-kilter and enjoy it now in many areas of my life. Do I have a perfect life? No, but the areas that I have developed balance in are close!
Let's take a look at what balance is and how you can gain more of it with its amazing benefits.
What comes to mind when you hear the word balance? Do you think of a tightrope walker, or do your thoughts immediately go to work-life balance? Do you think of a balanced diet, or do you think about the vibration in your steering wheel because of out-of-balance tires? The possibilities are practically endless for what the word balance can bring to mind.
Balance can mean many things to different people at various times in their lives. Before continuing, let's look at the Oxford Dictionary definitions of balance:
Balance (noun) 1. an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady. 2. a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.
Balance (verb) 1. keep or put (something) in a steady position so that it does not fall. 2. offset or compare the value of (one thing) with another.
Where we seek balance most depends on where we are in life. If you are still at home in your youth, it could mean having a stable home life. When you are in the midst of your career, it could mean work-life balance. For those who are retired, it can mean having sufficient funds to alleviate worry, living a good life, doing what matters, and a host of other things.
Living a balanced life
It is often said, "If you know what you want, you have a better chance of getting it!" or something similar. You could also say, "if you don't know what you want, you may wind up with nothing." That is no way to live!
What area in life do you want to have some semblance of balance? Here are a few suggestions as a starting point. Ask yourself, "What I want to be in balance at this time is/are my:"
- Work-life balance
- Family budget
- Travel schedule
- Rest and relaxation
- Spiritual life
- Leadership skills
What you wish to be in balance in your life may not be on the above list, but give it some thought, and you will undoubtedly come up with one or more ideas. You can create balance, or if you once enjoyed balance in an area of your life, you could restore it. Which will it be for you?
"The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise man." Euripides (480-406 BC)
Creating or restoring balance
"The foundation stones for a balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty." Zig Ziglar (1926-2012)
Balance usually occurs through distribution, proportioning, or motion. For example, when you distribute equal weights on two sides of an old beam-type scale, they balance. Proportionally you achieve a balance between the cost and value of something, such as selling a piece of land at a certain price. Or you achieve balance through motion, as while riding a bicycle.
"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving." Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
With this understanding of balance, let's dig into how you can achieve it. It helps to realize much of the balance people desire in life is entirely subjective. What balance means to one individual may be unbalanced to another. You may think working five-day weeks, 9 hours each day helps you achieve a proper work-life balance, while someone else may think a four-day week working 10 hours each day helps them achieve the same.
Recognizing there are different ways to define balance which can have a unique meaning to each person, what can you do? A great place to start is exploring the particular area you seek balance in by using a few questions. When you ask yourself the right questions, you gain insight, opening the possibility of creating or restoring the balance you desire.
For example, if you want to create a work-life balance, you are likely married, so it would be a good idea to include your spouse in this quest. Ask yourself:
1. "What specifically does work-life balance look like to my spouse and me?"
It is important to dig deep into this question. The clearer you and your spouse become, the greater the chance you will achieve it. Follow up the first question with:
2. "What one thing can I do immediately to begin balancing this area of life?"
3. "What else can I do to begin balancing this area of life?:
As you and your spouse discuss question two above, write it down and start making a list of things by asking question 3 over and over until you have exhausted your ideas. You should now have a list of several things you can do to balance this area of your life.
If you noticed, this process of asking questions consists of a simple four-step technique you can use to determine any outcome you desire. It consists of:
- Inquiry (what do you want?)
- Possibilities (what can you do?)
- Plan (what will you do?)
- Execute (take action!)
Follow this simple technique for any areas you find in which you want to establish more balance. For it to work, make sure what you can do is actionable, and go to work on at least one item immediately or ASAP.
A couple of tips to make this technique as powerful and effective as possible include:
- Enlist an accountability partner to help you follow through and follow up.
- Focus only on the things you can do. Never, ever focus on what you cannot do. This eliminates excuses and helps you create actionable items.
- Don't pressure yourself with this task. Be realistic. Such changes do not occur overnight. They take persistence. Find a way to take pleasure in the process and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
"Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony." Thomas Merton (1915-1968)
The benefits of creating or restoring balance in any area of life can bring great satisfaction to you and to those about whom you care. Think about how much you can change your life by developing balance in the right areas. Imagine the order, joy, peace, and happiness it can bring into your life!
You deserve nothing less, so why not go to work on it today?
I leave you with the wisdom of an American sports legend who lived a long life within a few months of his 100th birthday!
"Next to love, balance is the most important thing." John Wooden (1910-2010)