“I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good.” - Roald Dahl
I found myself cringing at a recent spin class while the well-intentioned instructor lectured about balance in one breath and encouraged us to push ourselves and crank it up a notch in the next.
It felt a little, well, unbalanced to me.
There's a lot of talk about balance. Balanced diets, balanced checkbooks, balanced schedules, work-life balance...It seems we've become a bit unbalanced in our search for balance.
Suddenly "balance" has become another to do on our ever growing list.
I'm not sure when balance became a yardstick to measure ourselves by and a positive standard to judge ourselves against.
It's a bit of a mixed message: Go for it, play big, lean in, play full out, take action, but do it in a balanced manner.
I wonder if balance is, in fact, a myth, an ideal we've placed upon ourselves and each other that's as unattainable and glittery as perfection. Would we even want this balance we om about if we achieved it?
Here's my truth: I'm not so sure I want to be balanced.
I'm pretty lucky to be surrounded by and work with many creative, inspiring, ambitious, high achievers. Most of them are not what I'd describe as balanced, and I'm not so sure they would be happy if they were. They're also not crazy, esoteric loons.
They are, however, passionate, exciting, and often extreme. They have bold, unbalanced, big goals and dreams.
They stay up all night in a burst of creative inspiration, or study for weeks on end, shutting out the world in preparation for a performance or upcoming event. They study, prepare, research, and pour their hearts and souls in unbalanced blocks of time into their work. If you asked any of them, those are their moments of flow, genius, fulfillment, and sheer joy. Those are the moments they live for. Those are the moment they feel most alive.
Some of the best artists, writers, creatives, athletes, business people, entrepreneurs, and even relationships that we look up to and admire are a demonstration of unbalanced grit, passion, and perseverance.
Most of the things we want and crave the most in life require a little unbalanced action.
I'm not promoting burnout or lack of self-care.
I do want to question our obsession with balance and the guilt we feel when we aren't balancing all the aspects of our lives. Expanding our dreams and goals, wanting to grow, committing ourselves to higher standards, falling in love, living our lives full out...none of these beautiful things exist in a measured and balanced manner.
Bringing it back to my spin class...as I cranked it up two more notches, focused on increasing my speed and besting my best, I asked myself, "Do I even want to be balanced?"
I wonder if it's mindfulness and presence we intend for instead?
Drenched in sweat, endorphins pumping through me, I thought, perhaps there is a joy, a sense of feeling balanced amidst our lack of balance. Perhaps the sensation of balance can come from very unbalanced behaviors.
Striving for balance presupposes all things in our lives are separate and of equal value. Balance is defined as a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions. I say we focus on the latter half of the definition, the "correct proportions" bit.
Perhaps all the elements of our lives do not have to be balanced in equal amounts in order to create harmony and happiness. Maybe the pursuit of happiness and success is found in accepting unbalance and finding the "correct proportions" that work for us and give us the sensation of feeling balanced.
Wishing you unbalanced balance.
P.S. Did you like this blog? Comment below and share it with a friend!