The Myth of a “Balanced” Life

Here’s a recent post by Josh Linkner at his website. To check out the wealth of resources that he provides, please click here.

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In addition to reaching the top of our game in our careers, we feel crushing pressure to excel at nearly every other area of life.  The list of “shoulds” puts us in a pressure cooker that could turn coal into diamonds.  We should be have a sculpted body, be a perfect parent, be well-read and well-travelled, be a giving friend, have dozens of enriching hobbies, be involved at the church (or temple or mosque), be a loving spouse/partner, have a clean car and mowed lawn, play an instrument, master yoga, and volunteer in the community.  Oh… and don’t forget plenty of “me” time for reflection.And we wonder why we are filled with anxiety about life balance.  But what’s the real cost to pursue it?Sprinting toward unattainable desires is a major contributor to anxiety and depression.  The irony is that maniacally chasing life balance may drive you to feeling more off-balance than ever.While unpopular to say, the facts are the facts.  The most successful people generally have horrible life balance.   Business leaders such as Jobs and Carnegie had a notoriously unbalanced life.  Edison slept four hours a day – in his lab.  It’s the rare exception to find a movie star or idolized musician with an intact family, let alone attending the neighborhood barbecue.

Reminds me of one of my favorite Chinese proverbs, “Chase two rabbits and both will escape.”
In addition to reaching the top of our game in our careers, we feel crushing pressure to excel at nearly every other area of life.  The list of “shoulds” puts us in a pressure cooker that could turn coal into diamonds.  We should be have a sculpted body, be a perfect parent, be well-read and well-travelled, be a giving friend, have dozens of enriching hobbies, be involved at the church (or temple or mosque), be a loving spouse/partner, have a clean car and mowed lawn, play an instrument, master yoga, and volunteer in the community.  Oh… and don’t forget plenty of “me” time for reflection.

And we wonder why we are filled with anxiety about life balance.  But what’s the real cost to pursue it?

Sprinting toward unattainable desires is a major contributor to anxiety and depression.  The irony is that maniacally chasing life balance may drive you to feeling more off-balance than ever.

While unpopular to say, the facts are the facts.  The most successful people generally have horrible life balance.   Business leaders such as Jobs and Carnegie had a notoriously unbalanced life.  Edison slept four hours a day – in his lab.  It’s the rare exception to find a movie star or idolized musician with an intact family, let alone attending the neighborhood barbecue.

Reminds me of one of my favorite Chinese proverbs, “Chase two rabbits and both will escape.”

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To read the complete article, please click here.

 

Josh Linkner is the New York Times bestselling author of Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity, named one of the top 10 business books of 2011. Josh is the CEO and Managing Partner of Detroit Venture Partners. Together with business partners Earvin (“Magic”) Johnson and NBA team owner Dan Gilbert, Josh is actively rebuilding urban areas through technology and entrepreneurship. Josh is also Adjunct Professor of Applied Creativity at the University of Michigan. For more information on creativity, visit his website by clicking here.

“In addition to my blog, you’ll find free videos, quizzes, articles, eBooks and more to help fuel your creative fire!”
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