Balance = Happiness and Sustainability
What do I mean by balance and why is it so important?
As Mahatma Gandhi wisely said “There is more to life than increasing its speed”. Balance really means having everything in moderation—a healthy mix of work and play.
If you are happy and fulfilled in your personal life, you will be able to enjoy your work and make the right choices for yourself, career-wise. And likewise, if you enjoy and feel motivated and stimulated by your work, you are more likely to be able to choose the right path in life and the relationships that nurture and support you. If you have a healthy lifestyle and take time to look after yourself both physically and mentally, you will be happier and healthier.
Balance = Happiness and Sustainability
Striving for a balance of all things in life is so important. A work–life balance allows us to be happy and healthy, and this enables us to sustain an effective and hopefully enjoyable work life.
If we have a balanced life, we are taking care of ourselves and making time to enjoy leisure time and personal relationships.
Because our personal needs and happiness are being taken care of, we can function better at work too. We all need time to recharge our batteries in order to maintain the constant hectic pace required in this day and age.
Key Challenges of Achieving Balance
The main three areas we struggle to find balance in are:
· Between work and play.
· Between what others need from us versus what we need for ourselves.
· Between what we want immediately (short-term gratification) and what we need (long-term happiness).
I will expand on each of these a bit further:
1) Balance between Work and Play
Most of us have to work, but be sure to also make time for yourself. The amount of time we put into work in comparison with the attention we give to our personal life is already out of balance because of the nature of our society and culture.
Traditionally, if we work full time, most of us do a five-day workweek and work eight or more hours per day. Unless our job requires us to work overtime, we will generally take two days off per week. We spend most of our waking time at work and this is how the world is today (unless financial freedom allows us not to work at all). What we must do is ensure that in our free time, we are taking care of ourselves and we are doing the things that we enjoy and that nourish us personally. A good rule to stick to is to schedule the important personal activities and holidays early so that we are sure to get the time off when we want it!
2) Look after yourself first and then you can look after others
The safety instruction before take-off on an airplane can be applied in life: We’re advised to fix our own air masks first before attending to others. Likewise in life, ‘fill yourself up’ first and then you will be more than happy to give your time and attention to others.
“I can't tell you the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.”
If you haven’t taken care of yourself and your needs, including time for yourself, you will most probably feel resentful of giving to others. This is no good for all concerned—a lose-lose situation. To ensure a win-win for both you and the people in your life, the only way forward is to get a balance between time for yourself to pursue your own dreams and goals, and time for sharing with others.
This can be challenging at times, especially if you have a family and people who depend on you and require your time and attention. I believe that communication is key. Be open and express your own needs with your friends and family and listen to their needs too. It’s much better to get things out into the open and discuss how you can all have your needs met. Compromise may be required, but it should be a balanced compromise between all parties and not just one person losing out.
3) Pay first—play later
The third challenge we face on a daily basis is what we would like at any given time (that second piece of chocolate cake) versus what is good for us and aligns with our long-term goals, which may be to lose half a stone in the next month and a half. In today’s world, we’re constantly being challenged by the promise of instant gratification and taking the easy route versus doing the ‘right’ thing for ourselves.
Here are some examples of the choices we often have to make:
· Choosing to cook from scratch using healthy ingredients that we already have in the fridge or calling for a takeaway instead.
· Going for that run rather than relaxing on the sofa with a glass or two of wine.
· Choosing to work on your dream job application rather than going out with friends.
· Having an important but difficult conversation with your partner or kids versus leaving the issue to fester because ‘you can’t face it today’.
Choosing to do what we need to do or should do, the thing that is the best for us and others is sometimes hard, especially if we’re feeling tired, stressed, or not our most confident self on that particular day. However, inwardly we know what the ‘right’ thing is for us to choose. It comes down to discipline to make the right choices and create healthy habits for ourselves.
The more we choose what we know is good for us and others, the more self-esteem and discipline will become an automatic and natural habit.
In the book Unlimited; 7 Habits to Unleash Your Full Potential & Get the Life You Want, Habit 7- Strive for Balance will give you valuable tips for creating balance in your own life, so that you can sustain what matters to you and be happy with it!