It feels so good to have some desire to blog again. Maybe it’s clarity into what I want this space to be (see here) or working on staying open (see here) but I keep getting inspired to open up my laptop and blog. Since this space is so casual, and it’s not something I am aiming to monetize, it’s 100% okay for me to take a break for two months and just set it aside and live life, and then pick it back up when I feel the time is right. It’s nice.
Right now I am sitting in the sand at Pathfinder Lake in Wyoming. I actually don’t know if that’s the name, but whatever, it’s beautiful. The only sounds I hear are water hitting the sand, a boat in the distance, and the occasional buzzing of an insect. I have underestimated the power of peace and quiet. Having it so readily available has been life changing. Also, completely unrelated, I am basking in the sun in a sports bra and my soft stomach is what I would consider “rolly.” But for once in my life, it isn’t stopping me from sitting down and owning it. Baby steps people.
Alright, onto the actual substance of this post: why I think aiming for balance is actually working against you. Let me first begin with one of my many disclaimers: I am not implying I know what I am talking about - at all. Just because I am bringing up a new way of looking at things, doesn’t mean I think people are wrong for thinking differently. This is just something I think is worth exploring. Having said that, let's dig in.
The notorious life of balance. You’ve said it before haven’t you? Every badass human questionnaire that has been featured on this site has mentioned it. It’s what everyone aims for, right? A balanced life full of equal amounts work, play, friends, family, and health. On the surface this can work, but the problem I have with this is that it a huge barrier to breakthroughs.
I first heard this idea on the Rich Roll podcast, then I saw it on a blog, then I read it in a book I read this month. The last one there said it perfectly:
“You must first be focused, not balanced.”
This was a book on finances, mind you. Rich Roll was using it in the context of running/triathlons, and the blogger was using it in the context of academics. It really works for anything that you want to to get to the next level on.
Focus goes hand in hand with priorities. The older I get, the more I realize that I don’t want a balanced life. I want to pursue the things that are important to me at the time. This could be training for a marathon, finding a soulmate, chasing creativity, or figuring out finances. Anytime you want to take something to the next level (and I mean REALLY take it to the next level) you have to sacrifice other things.
I think the trick here, is making sure I am rotating these focuses. If you spend all of your life on one goal, then yes, you are missing out on the other beautiful aspects of life. But if you spend a year or two on one, then move to another, then I think you end up actually achieving a well balanced life overall, instead of a life where you just kind of dip your toe into 5 things a day in an effort to feel like you aren’t letting anyone down.
Maybe I just have an extreme personality. Maybe balance is achievable on a daily scale for most people. I know for me, that is not the case. I have alternated large goals, and each of those have taken all. my. being. Whether it's training for a race and having to sit out on nights on the town, or giving up possessions to chase a feeling of creativity buried deep down, or even sacrificing money to live a carefree and wild lifestyle on the weekends, I have had to sacrifice something to get something else. Looking back on this, I think it could be a problem or a blessing. Jury is still out I suppose.
So, if you feel overwhelmed because you can’t do it all in one day, or you aren’t spending enough time with your friends or family, or you just feel like you can’t “do it all,” I say cut yourself some slack. Take a good look at what your priority really is deep down, and spend some good solid time focusing on it unapologetically. I think the rest of those things will have their time and it's more important to be true to yourself in the meantime.