Balance is a Lie
“You need to be more balanced in your life and your relationships.” How many times have you heard this? We’re constantly being warped into thinking that a ‘little bit’ of attention here and there is the catalyst to a successful life. Don’t work too much, don’t play too hard, don’t travel all that often(recycled air on planes – yuck!), and don’t take life so seriously; you never get out alive, correct?
Let’s settle this once and for all – balance is great if you want to be average and easily forgotten. Nothing substantial is built off of being ‘decent’ at any particular skill. You may have a few moments of greatness where your boss or employees admire you, but it’s a fleeting moment that you can’t replicate on command. The main error in this approach to life is through assumption based thinking about situations that are unknown.
For example, the most common remark ‘balanced’ people make about high performance individuals is “I bet on their death bed they’ll wish they worked less hours.” They’re correct in a way, but not entirely on the right page. Does a person dying of a disease wish they could be stuffed in an office again trying to make an important deadline? Absolutely not! But, a better way to phrase this statement would be “Does a person dying of a disease wish they had more time to create value or a change in the world?” Absolutely!
People who are ‘unblanced’ are often people who know that they have a product, service, or idea that is greater than themselves. You don’t spend decades beating on your craft if you don’t wholeheartedly believe that your business can make a dent on the world. The people who will feel regret on their deathbed, in their final moments, will be the people who spent their entire lives adhearing to a belief system that didn’t belong to them. To satisfy the goals and follow the ideologies of people that never cared about them in the first place. Those are the people who will wind their lives down and experience regret in their final days.
To use a brief analogy, pretend you’re in a new relationship with the man or woman of your dreams. Every moment with them makes you feel joy and compassion to a degree you never thought was possible. Now imagine trying to limit your time with that person and distract yourself with other ventures because balance is the key to life, right? Do you now understand the insanity of the ‘balanced life’ agenda that you’re being brainwashed with?
On the flip side of this argument you will have people who claim that their friends, family and loved ones come before work. That’s absolutely fine and it’s beautiful to have a social group that means so much to you. But think of an outside voice constantly reminding you that “you need balance to live a fulfilled life. You better not spend so much time with these people because they’re distracting you from the other areas of your reality.”
We’ve forgotten that work can actually be fun! Having a successful career can allow you to experience moments of ultimate satisfaction and admiration of your own efforts. We’ve become a nation that forgets work is an opportunity and a chance to live a beautiful and rewarding life that the rest of the world is not capable of. The feeling of dread and agony you associate with work comes from the fact that you dabble in your career instead of taking it seriously.
Focus on Your Strength, Forget Your Weaknesses
The underlying message here is that you need to spend time and effort on the things that you actuallly enjoy and forget the rest. And if that enjoyment comes from a successful career, so be it. “A chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link” is a mantra that’s often spread throughout our culture from people who don’t know any better.Realistically, you should make your strengths so strong that a weakness doesn’t even pop up on the radar in the grand scheme of things.
The naive notion that we need to strengthen our weaknesses and ignore our strengths momentarily is absurd. Would someone tell Einstein that he should put down the Mathematics and study some poetry because it’s best to be a well rounded person? The world will know and remember you for your strengths, not for your ability to become average at something you were once bad at.
Jeff Bezos, the CEO and Founder of Amazon.com, has notoriously spoken about the illusion that surrounds work/life balance. In a meeting an employee asked Bezos “when will we address the issue of work/life balance at Amazon” to which Bezos angrily replied “we’re here to get stuff done.” This response and mindset is characteristic of an unbalanced individual but do you think that Amazon customers care? Do you think people will lose sleep at night because Jeff works 15 hour days instead of working 10 and devoting the other 5 to Yoga and hiking? I think not.
Below is a list of individuals who threw the ‘balanced life’ ideology into the trash can and reaped the rewards:
Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks – 2.5 billion dollar net worth
Michael Jordan, one of the best NBA players of all time
Mark Cuban, serial entrepreneur – 3 billion dollar net worth
Oprah Winfrey, host and producer – 3 billion dollar net worth
Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft – 79.3 billion dollar net worth
Carlos Slim, investor and business owner – 76.4 billion dollar net worth
Avoid the mistake of thinking that a lengthy work day equates to a failed personal life. On the contrary, wealthier individuals can afford luxuries and extended periods of vacation time without suffering a negative impact on their bank account. If that weren’t enough, a Spanish study found that wealthier people had a more satisfying and fulfilled sex life than people from lower incomes.
A shocking 90 percent of wealthy people from a pool of 9,850 interviews, who were mainly female, claimed the passion in the bedroom satisfied their needs. I guess someone should tell them to ease off the romance in order to be more balanced!