“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” - Albert Einstein
Keeping one’s balance is a dynamic skill that requires constant attention. Just as a gymnast demonstrates their agility on the balance beam by concentrating their focus and not becoming distracted so as not to fall off, so too must we train our focus on the balancing of our wants versus our needs, our demands versus our more pleasurable pursuits and our personal boundaries versus keeping close healthy relationships.
Every aspect of our lives is a practice in keeping our balance, and in order to be successful, whether it be how we raise children, handle our money, manage our health or nurture both our personal and professional lives, we must always be tending to it. Living our lives is a journey, and so therefore, is maintaining the balance. If we want to improve, change our course or help our children and society grow, movement in a certain direction will be taking place simply by the definitions of each of these words. Consequently, it is our responsibility, to be able to keep the rope taut, not too loose, but not so tight that minor mistakes can’t be corrected.
While this may seem like a difficult task, all of us are trying to balance at this very moment. Some of us are having more success at it than others, but such a gift is something that is honed with practice. Being able to balance effectively comes from practice, a conscious daily effort and an ability to recognize what’s most important.
What is most important, you might ask. For everyone, this answer will be very different, but in general terms, it all comes down to the simple statement shared in Tuesday’s with Morrie, uttered by Morrie Schwartz himself, “Love wins. Love always wins.” And so if you keep that in the back of your mind at all times when making decisions and handling difficult schedules, you’ll make the right choice. Just trust yourself.
Here are some of the most valuable benefits of striking an effective balance in your life:
Helps to Clarify Priorities
As human beings, we gravitate toward what will make us happy, comfortable and safe. With that said, and keeping Morrie’s piece of insight in mind, when you are given only so many hours in a day, the most important items should float to the top of your schedule. Work – in order to support yourself and your family, time to eat – in order to be energized so you can make it through your day with a sound and capable mind, and the list goes on. By looking at your life, prioritizing what is truly important, it will make it easier to decide on what you have to do and what can wait.
Once you are clear on your priorities, and if they are the right priorities that allow you to express your passions and talents, regardless of what anyone else believes you should do, you will find a state of fulfillment. Now this doesn’t mean that you aren’t still growing or that you stop paying attention to your balance, but it does mean that you have found an effective way to balance all of the other demands in such a way that allow you to contribute to the world, to your community and to your legacy in the best possible way.
A sense of fulfillment is the greatest gift we can achieve for ourselves, and while it is one we can never stop working at, it will give you something that you need every day – a very pleasant night’s sleep. This cycle just encourages more positive and effective moments as with a good night’s sleep you feel rested and energized, ready to take on the day no matter what may be in store, further stacking the odds in your favor that the day will be more promising.
More Enjoyable Work
There are many reminders in our daily lives that state that we must not live to work or work shouldn’t be our entire life. But the reality is when we are at work, that is our life. Period. It isn’t as though we go to some never-never-land and disappear for 8-10 hours until we clock out. So with the understanding that no matter where we work, we are still living our lives, we must try to make our work and our work environment as positive and as productive as possible. Someone of you may not be in a career at the moment where want to be for the rest of your lives, while some of you may be fortunate enough to work some place that is everything you had dreamed of, either way, make the experience as enjoyable as possible, because your life doesn’t go off the clock when you check in to work.
Helps to Fine Tune Self-Discipline Muscles
Keeping your balance takes practice, just as building muscle in the body takes time, effort and particular exercises. Once you are able to effectively balance all that your life is offering, you will have simultaneously learned the difficult skill of having self-discipline. Maintaining balance is all about knowing when you can say yes and knowing when you have to say no – which isn’t easy (whether it’s to yourself because that second piece of apple pie is calling or your name, or to your significant other who wants to splurge on a vacation you can’t afford).
Keeps You on Your Toes
As it was stated at the beginning, nurturing a sense of balance in your life is a constant practice that is forever in motion and always changing, requiring you to keep up and stay alert. While this at first may seem exhausting, I truly wonder, who would want the alternative – complacency. It may initially sound appetizing, but to become complacent means to not be interested in the world around you and to care less about what takes place in the world you live in. After all, we are dynamic creatures ourselves. We need to stay up-to-date on medical practices as we age and laws as they are added and amended. We do ourselves no favors by letting the line go slack. Instead, be thrilled to be in the game, to be a player and to be trying to the best of your ability to do the best you can, because after all, that’s all each of us can do.