Principles of Balance
“Work/life balance is a subjective, internal concept, and you’re the only person who can evaluate your success.” (Kaia Roman)
In order to truly establish an overall balanced life, a person’s actions and thinking must align. Actions create steps, and thinking defines the path. What are some principles to help shape right thinking with regard to balance?
- Balance is subjective. Balance is personal and individual. It looks different for every person and is impacted by personality, temperament, physical needs, and more. When it comes to balance, to compare is to despair. Get ideas for how to live balanced from others but create your own definition of balance. You’ll never find balance trying to make it exactly like someone else’s.
- Balance requires a long-term perspective. While balance involves short-term elements (i.e., small steps), it also requires a long-term approach. This approach involves looking at finding balance like success in the stock market. Not every day will be balanced, and there will even be seasons where you are out of balance. The goal is an overall balanced lifestyle, one where the periodic unbalance doesn’t derail you into the abyss of overwhelm and overload again.
- Balance and simplicity go hand-in-hand. A balanced life looks more like riding a bike or yoga than it does plate spinning. Simplicity involves a freedom from complexity and division into parts, and a balanced life is a relatively simple one. As with balance, simplicity is also subjective and looks quite different from one person to the next. Balance and simplicity working together get at the idea that focus determines reality. If everything is a priority, the nothing really is a priority. Simplifying helps bring the reality of balance into focus.
“The defining characteristic of balance isn’t an equally distributed number of hours; it’s an internal sense.” (Mind Body Green)
Essentials of Balance
While balance exists as subjective, and the exact path to take to achieve it are unique to the person, some essentials do exist for every person hoping to obtain and maintain a balanced life. These essentials must be in the forefront of the mind of anyone looking for an authentically balanced life.
- Balance is counter-cultural. You’ll likely feel like an outsider in your efforts to become less busy and especially if you truly manage to achieve a balanced life. To counteract this, I remind myself of how miserable I was when I was overwhelmed and overloaded, when busyness ran my life. This helps me stay true on my path to becoming excellent at doing fewer things rather than returning to a mediocre life at best.
- Isolation is the quickest path to unbalance. We need others input because we can easily deceive ourselves. The benefits of accountability are unmeasurable. While you’ll feel like an outsider amongst your overwhelmed and overloaded friends, you’ll discover there are those who desire a simpler and more balanced life too. Remember, you become who you most associate with on a regular basis.
- Simplicity is trendy. Pursuing a minimalist lifestyle is cool these days. Yet doing so for the sake of the trend only leads to comparisons and a more fashionable busyness. We all know fashion is impossible to keep up with. While a minimalist approach can be a balance life, for too many it can also be a fleeting fancy. Don’t get caught in the trap. Focus on the long-term perspective.
Start your journey of finding balance in a busy world by asking yourself two questions: What does balance mean to you? What would produce a more effective you?
“Busy” is the new “fine” and stepping toward balance and away from busyness involves actionable approaches that generate progress. These principles of balance help create the thinking necessary to leave busyness, overload, and overwhelm behind, while the essentials for maintaining balance help keep that mindset for the long term.