Oh! Where’s the balance?

Balancing Act

It’s not just the harried executives who seem to be forever seeking work-life balance, but it’s the bane of stay at home moms and dads too. Though when a successful woman CEO was asked how she managed to balance her life between her family and work, she quipped there is no such thing as balance, and that might dishearten a few. Cause if it does not exist, why does it cause so much suffering? Why should we be wasting our time finding balance?

And one of the reason why we should look for the elusive balance, is because balance is not what it is made out to be. So let’s get clear on what balance is NOT

1. Balance is not mathematically quantifiable nor is it something we can keep an account of. It definitely exists beyond the realm of time.

2. It’s much much more than finding and spending time with your family and doing the things that you love, along with taking care of your professional life.

3. And it’s certainly not the 50-50 divide as symbolized by the balancing scale. After all even mother nature never prescribed it that way. Earth is 70% water bodies, 30% land, our bodies are 70% water, 30% all else, etc.

On the other hand, what it certainly is

1. Balance is a sense and feeling of harmony. People who are creatively engaged may not have time to do much else, but their work, yet they feel in harmony. Have you ever met a person who is doing fulfilling creative work on one hand and complaining about balance on the other?

2. Balance begins with the knowledge of what makes us “WHO” we are. The entire package – our values, our assumptions. Along with the wisdom around our needs, wants, tolerations that we have been coping up with.

3. Once we know our values, setting our life themes in motion around these values gets us to experience harmony a.k.a balance.

Instead of the balancing scale – think gyroscope.

Gyroscope (like a spinning top) topples over wherever you place it. But once you set the inner wheel into motion, around it’s axis a gyroscope not only defies gravity, it resists any external force to change its tilt, and amazingly stays “balanced”, even on a balancing rope.

So start with identifing your inner axis (values). Then place it on your personal altar. You will never look out for the work-life elusive balance anywhere else ever again.

Here’s a link to remind how a gyroscope works…


Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and David Castillo Dominici

6 responses to “Oh! Where’s the balance?”

  1. Great Post Harmeet. I agree balance is within and that’s what we fail to recognize most of the times. Also, the thought that people who are in creative pursuits complain less is worth pondering about. Makes me think that why do we waste our time in non creative pursuits when it does not give is inner balance. Further going on, how to cut non creative pursuits in life?

  2. Hi Shalini. Thanks for your comment and appreciation. I think some of the non creative pursuits are like a bag we must carry to do things that love to do. So all of it cannot ever be wished away. But for most of the other stuff we do, if only we dig deeper to realize our own motivations or assumptions driving our behavior, we can find out if we are engaging our creative abilities or the opposite of that i.e. our ‘reactive’ tendencies. While creative abilities are engaged for the “love” of doing things, the reactive ones are for the “fear” of something. The question therefore is, how can I bring in my creative best to the pursuits I choose to follow?

    • I like the concept of reactive tendencies. I have noticed that most of the time we have “trained” ourselves in reactive tendencies so much that we feel that’s natural. We are not only efficient in reactive tendencies but we also believe that’s all we are capable of doing. It becomes our identity as that’s the only way we identify ourselves. We suppress creative pursuits to such an extent that we do not know they exist. Only for some people through self introspection, it dawns that the real pleasure is through creative pursuits which currently is occupying the least space in their lives. As creative pursuits are absent in a life driven by reactive tendencies, inverting the ratio becomes a touch task both in terms of decisions to be taken about life plus the courage to implement those decisions. Bringing in creative best to pursuits I follow could be a good way and the middle path, but the questions is whether it bring satisfaction.

  3. Creative abilities are always there in all of us, as much as reactive tendencies. And once we are able to bring to surface the reasons behind the reactive tendencies they slowly start losing their hold on us. On following the creative pursuits part, we are all educated to use our left brains more than the right brain. So no surprises we ‘lose touch’ with our inner creator by the time we have reached adulthood. But yet its still there. How willing are we to keep that connection…

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