The truth about balanced livingWritten by Tom Richard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
While driving a rented car in Los Angeles, I noticed a fuel economy meter on the dashboard. The meter would actually measure how many miles per gallon I was getting based on speed. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the faster I was going and the higher the gear, the more efficient the fuel economy became.
City miles used fuel at a much faster rate than when I was traveling four times faster on the highway. This came as no surprise to me; when you buy a car, the sticker on the window clearly outlines the difference in fuel economy between city and highway. However, seeing this information in real time was interesting.
The fuel economy meter reminded me of everything I hear from people about how to live a balanced life. This balanced life is often described as balancing work, family, personal and spiritual time. Within this framework, people fall into three distinct groups.
People in the first group strictly enforce and compartmentalize their time in order to live a balanced life. At five o’clock sharp, they pack up and head home; they do not even check their e-mail on the weekends. But look at their actual contributions; they’re so worried about balance that they end up traveling in first gear. To avoid ruining their vehicles, they can only go 15 mph. Instead of living passionately, taking risks and becoming the best they can be, they end up coasting toward death with their minds always focused on keeping things balanced.
People in the second group proudly abandon the thought of living a balanced life. Valuing their contribution at work above all else, these people work long hours, have their smartphones hermetically sealed to their hands and intensely focus on becoming the best. While this intense focus is a short-term solution to getting ahead, a deeper look reveals pain and fatigue. They’ve been traveling at 60 mph while still in first gear. Vehicles cannot travel that fast while in first gear, at least not for very long. Eventually the engine will seize.
People in the third group do not rigidly enforce airtight time constraints and they do not work themselves to the bone. The third group of people shifts into overdrive and travels on the highway safely at 60 mph. Their engines are allowed to slow down while they travel at high speeds.
To become a member of this third group, the only group that is truly living a balanced life, you simply need to live passionately in each and every moment. Life is not a buffet where you select portions of work, family, personal and spiritual time.
To live a balanced life, fully immerse yourself in whatever is in front of you right now. When you’re at work, get off Facebook and be there fully. When you are at home and your family is awake, set down your smartphone and be there fully. When you have a few minutes to yourself, clear your mind, enjoy the silence and be there fully. When you worship, stop thinking about other things and be there fully.
A balanced life requires you to be able to live passionately. Stop worrying and just focus on what you’re doing. The bills will be there later. Said more simply, when you stop “trying” to balance your life, balance will happen to you.
Balance is not created by you. Balance happens when you are living your life fully. Balance happens when you smell the roses every minute, not just on the evenings and weekends. Balance is a state of mind that occurs when you are no longer trying to be somewhere else — a state of mind that allows you to go fast while in the right gear.
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Tom Richard is a Toledo-based sales and marketing consultant, keynote speaker and owner of Bolt from the Blue direct response advertising. Visit www.BoltFromTheBlue.com or call (419) 441-1005.