Find good balance in life
By Herbert Mtowo
The concepts of Moderation and Balance are often used interchangeably, but they are actually very different. A life of moderation is one without excess – a little exercise, but no hard workout – enough food, but never overeating – the slightest bit of excitement, but minimum stress. Moderation is not a bad way to live. It is certainly far superior to a life of excess or a life of deprivation. However, constant moderation has somewhat the character of uniform grayness.
Think of a life of balance like an old-fashioned balance scale, with opposites weighed against each other. Living in balance, one indulges in the occasional hot fudge sundae, but balanced with a few bowls of oatmeal and small portions. The occasional hard run balanced with an afternoon sprawled in front of the television football game. An afternoon at the bungee-jump or zip-line balanced with time drifting on a placid lake. Rather than the constant grayness of moderation, a life in balance has points of interest and variability.
There is certainly a place for moderation in a balanced life. Although one could consider a life of extremes to be in balance, few of us could live successfully by balancing days of dangerous mountain climbing with days of floating in a pool. Balancing variability with constancy is another important aspect of a balanced life.
Eight ways to add balance and perspective to your life…
1. Balance activity with serenity. Exercise and rest are both essential to a healthy and joyful life.
2. Balance wealth with simplicity. The best things in life truly are free, but there is also a place for material accomplishments – both for your own sake and for the sake of the world. Avoid the clutter of collecting excess possessions, but treat yourself with a few special items, trips, and other benefits of the modern world.
3. Balance persistence with innovation. Albert Einstein is sometimes quoted as saying, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Practice, patience, and persistence are essential to success in life, but recognize when the time comes to stop what you are doing and to search for a different route toward your life goals.
4. Balance community with solitude. Life success requires teamwork with a community of like-minded companions, yet you must also allow time for solitude – time for contemplation, time for relaxation, and time to be your own self with no pressure to conform or to please others.
5. Balance familiarity with adventure. Adventure is like the seasoning on your meal – life is monotonous and boring without adventure, yet there is also a crucial place for the familiar. Physically and emotionally comfortable surroundings are essential to your wellbeing. There is no place like a comfortable home from which to launch your adventures and to which you return – either as the victorious hero or in shameless defeat, ready to recharge and set out on the next adventure.
6. Balance constancy with change. Tradition lends a comforting structure to life. Imagine if at each meal you had to decide on which side of the plate to place the fork. Doing what our parents did before us and their parents did before them, creates stability and eases the small details of life. However, constancy is also habit, and there is a time to question all old habits – perhaps consciously renewing them, but hopefully often deciding to make new choices.
7. Balance leading with following. There are times to follow, but also times to raise your own torch and lead, as well as times to choose to disengage. Life is too short to fight all the battles. Choose your causes wisely, and then choose whether you need to become a leader of the cause.
8. Balance being of service – both to this generation and to generations yet unborn – with renewing your vitality by play and celebration. A life without service is not likely to be fulfilling, but you must charge your own batteries – physical, mental, and emotional – before you can inspire, motivate, and serve others. Let all of life find a welcome in your heart: the smiles and the tears, the mind and the spirit, the knowing and the unknowing.