Have you ever heard a speaker, coach or anyone other than a yoga instructor say that you need to work on your balance? I am here to tell you that this commonly accepted principle, and your search for balance in life, is both unproductive and unrealistic.
Before deciding you will namaste here any longer, you should know that I created the Find Your Wild Factor assessment and wrote Go WILD to help people create greater wealth, improve their health, find greater purpose, strengthen relationships, and have more fun. You can have all these things – if you adjust your expectations of how and when you will achieve them.
Unless you have accomplished everything you want and you have no ambitious goals remaining, the concept of balance is pure B.S. The way balance is presented is a big fat lie – and it will ruin your life the same way that chasing money and living for other people’s approval will. Let’s look at the definition of the word “balance” so we can address the three ways balance can, and will, mislead you.
According to Merriam-Webster:
Essential Meaning of balance
- the state of having your weight spread equally so that you do not fall
- a state in which different things occur in equal or proper amounts or have an equal or proper amount of importance
Reason #1: Surviving Ain’t Thriving – You’re focusing on the wrong thing.
Look at the first definition. When you “balance” and spread your weight equally, you will not fall. Unless you’re a tightrope walker without a net, “not falling” should not be your goal. In today’s society, people are so worried about making mistakes and being ridiculed – or getting cancelled. This fear of “falling” is so pervasive. How do I know? My TEDx Talk by the same name (click here to watch Surviving Ain’t Thriving) went viral and was viewed by 2,000,000 people in eight weeks.
By focusing on spreading yourself across all areas of your life, you will certainly enjoy little victories. You will make some money, have a few relationships, enjoy moments of clarity, and have some fun. But, if you are truly balanced, you will not be able to achieve anything great or to overcome any major challenges. Great accomplishments require dedication. You have heard about putting in 10,000 hours to master anything. Unless you plan to rely on luck, you will have to be dedicated to what matters most to you.
Reason #2: Time is Undefeated Champion Over Man
Now consider the phrase, “Life is Plan B.” This means that life seldom goes according to our grand plan. How does it affect balance? Consider what happens when we, our parents, spouses or children have health challenges? We drop everything to make sure everyone is safe, then we make significant changes to our routines to recover or to assist others in doing the same.
Can’t the same be said of financial struggles, relationship challenges, and problems at the office? When these emergencies arise, can we address them slow and steady over months or do we often need to drop everything? Don’t each of these significantly impact our ability to concentrate and execute? Until we fix, or at least a plan to address, the challenge in front of us, the other areas of our lives will suffer.
Our time on this planet is limited, and not guaranteed. To make the most of it, we must realize how we allocate our time to things that matter to us is not always in our control either. It is unreasonable to expect that we can always be in balance. We must enjoy success in different areas of our lives at different times – and probably never at the same time. Plan B.
Reason #3: You are not a zebra. Stop following the herd.
Consider the second definition of “balance;” “Different things have an equal amount of importance.” I said don’t be a zebra, but could have easily said wildebeest or buffalo. These herd animals migrate together – following the rains that feed the greener pastures. The entire herd travels together, eats the same grasses, mates at the same time, crosses the same crocodile infested waters, and lives essentially the same life.
This is problematic at two levels. First, people value the five areas differently. One person may place a greater value on relationships than on money. Another person may sacrifice financial success to live a life of purpose. Yet another may prefer a healthy lifestyle over a more exciting social life. Second, we value each category differently.
One person may strive to be worth $1,000,000 while another is unsatisfied with an offer to buy her company for $100,000.000. Perhaps you like to have a couple close friends while someone else defines healthy relationships as spending lots of time with extended family. There is no wrong answer, other than to assume we all value these things equally.
As an executive coach and financial advisor to very wealthy families, our plans were often derailed as we worked through the challenges described in this article. After I sold my company in 2016, I started looking at the common challenges of my most successful clients. I spent the last four years building the Find Your Wild Factor assessment to help people identify the unnecessary stresses in their lives – and to show them how to address them so they can get more out of their lives.
If you want to find a better path to a more balanced life, you need to drop the shackles of your previous expectations. When you know what you do, why you do it, and what you need to do next, you can enjoy all areas of your life and Go Wild.
Chris Jarvis is an executive coach, creator of Find Your Wild Factor and author of 17 books. His TEDx Talk was the most watched in the world in April 2022.
Check him out at www.ChrisJarvis.me or on Instagram at ChrisRayJarvis.
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