Life is all about balance.
If you stretch yourself too much in one direction, you will realise the negative impacts sooner rather than later.
There is an old saying that sums this up perfectly.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
If you devote yourself to one thing, such as work, while neglecting other areas, it’s going to have negative effects on your life.
Jack may be working hard, but because that is the majority of what he does, he hasn’t worked on other areas of himself to become a well-rounded individual.
His life has no balance.
Leading a life such as Jack’s is a surefire route to misery. Devoting yourself to one thing may work for a while, but it will destroy you in the long-term.
Just as a diet in fast food is unsustainable in the long-term, so is a life without balance.
Striking a balance between work, pleasure, and education is the key to a purposeful life.
Strike A Balance
You don’t realise how important balance is until your life has none.
Towards the end of my time in Barcelona, balance was something that was not in my life.
I would spend most of my time planning or teaching English. When I wasn’t doing this, I was working on my website. I didn’t do much else besides going to the beach on occasion.
I was the epitome of Jack above.
All work and no play was making me a dull boy.
In fact, it was not only making me a dull boy it was also making me ill. Towards the end of my time in Barcelona, I had a panic attack, the after-effects of which, took me 6 months to recover from.
I firmly believe the lack of balance in my life was a contributing factor towards this. If I had taken the time to focus on other activities instead of devoting myself entirely to my work, I would have felt much better.
Looking back, I can see where I went wrong, but at the time I had no idea. I wasn’t happy with living in Barcelona, and I took that unhappiness and bottled it up inside and focused on work.
It wasn’t the smartest thing to do. I should have taken the time to appreciate how lucky I was to be living in a foreign country and make the most of it.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but when you have blinders on at the time it can be hard to see past anything other than what you want to see.
I do have a habit of focusing intensely on one aspect of my life, and this will have been a contributing factor. But, this is the key point about balance.
We need to take the time to recognise when our lives lack balance. It can be easy to go through life and go through the motions without consideration for what we are doing.
However, this is a recipe for disaster.
If we don’t recognise that our lives are not balanced, it can result in us falling apart further down the road.
Focusing intensely on one aspect of our lives doesn’t work. We are social creatures, and we aren’t designed to work or be lazy all the time.
We need to be creative, rest and interact on a daily basis. If we take one of those things away, and the other two become dominant, we lose a semblance of balance.
Our lives become monotonous, and soon we become dissatisfied with what we have and what we are doing.
Balance is easy to lose, but hard to find. That’s why it’s important we take care to ensure we have it in our lives.
Cultivating balance throughout our lives is one of the most difficult challenges we face. It’s easy to get carried away with certain things and let them dominate them our lives.
But by doing so, we open ourselves up to falling down in other areas of our lives.
We cannot expect to go on a two-day bender and show up for work in a day’s time as nothing happened.
It doesn’t work that way.
This is a road to ruin. If we push too much in one direction, we will lose all sense of ourselves, crash and burn.
Balance is important to keep us grounded and on the straight and narrow. Too much of anything is bad, even if it is good in small doses.
Too much reading and mental activity will be devoid of physical fitness. Too much exercise and not enough rest, and we will wear ourselves out. Too much work and we will become dull and boring in social situations.
The key is to maintain a balance among all of your pursuits and your daily activities.
By being balanced, we are in full controls of our faculties and able to perform to the best of our ability.
Balance is delicate, if we stray over the edge too much, we risk losing it all.
As Aristotle said:
“Moderation in all things.”