FORGET “BALANCE” (MOVE THE WHOLE THING)

FORGET “BALANCE” (MOVE THE WHOLE THING)

Here’s another Un-Seeing Exercise.

It’s a well-worn cliché.  We have all been told (and told ourselves and told each other) that we need to find our balance between life and work.

[Cue the chorus of moans and groans, guys.]

Comes now this YouTube video of a 2017 TEDxGustavusAdolphusCollege talk featuring studio503 founder and CEO Michael Walters, “The Fallacy of Work/Life Balance.”

Michael Walters is the head guy of a company that helps other businesses — big and small — all over the world do their business better.

His company’s Team Studio503 helps these businesses develop systems that help the corporations and smaller companies manage the processes that take them from the production of a product to its point of sale.

This is called “Strategic Account Management” (SAM) and studio503 is really good at it.

The TEDxTalk video of Walters’ presentation is a mind-boggle.  Walters takes the analogy about life and work being a balance and he breaks it down.

In order to make a balance, you need a scale – a beam and a fulcrum.  When you’re measuring heavy things, the scale has to be a pretty sturdy thing.

weigh-scale
“Weigh Scale” by haven’t the slightest via Flickr [CC BY-ND 2.0]

THE PROBLEM WITH BALANCING IT ALL

In another post, I’ve explored the difficulties of finding your own balance while trying to stand like that.

Click here for that:

click-here

However, in this video, Walters does a better job.  He points out the fatal flaw in putting your focus on work/life balance:  Balance scales have to stand in one place.  They do not move; they are not supposed to.

In Walters’ analogy, YOU are the balance scale.

balance
“Balance” by Hans Splinter via Flickr [CC BY-ND 2.0]
What that tells me is that when you try to solve your problem of major Life Overwhelm by focusing on balance, the first requirement is to just stand (or hang) there fixedly.

And where are you standing?  You are standing in Suck.

Ummm…

You are standing very firmly in Suck and while you fool around with the balance mind-games, you have to STAY stuck in Suck.

Do you see where this is taking us?

[Try “Nowhere.”]

THE TROUBLE WITH “SEPARATE”

The other interesting thing about the balance mindset is that you absolutely need to have two things to balance.  There can be no “balance” if there is only one thing.

A focus on the work-life balance means that you have to separate work from all the rest of your life and turn them into unconnected, separated things.

The key thing here is the word “separate.”  In Real Life, there is no “separate.”  Your work and all the rest of your life are all interconnected.

You’ve got just as many interconnected parts as a tree.  Chopping limbs off a tree willy-nilly can make for really ugly trees.  Chopping parts off YOU mostly leads to a lot of pain and suffering.

 

 

 

 

tree-butcher-at-work
“Tree butcher at work” by Stuart Grot via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
Not good.

WORKING WITH THE INTERCONNECTEDNESS OF YOU

So, what happens if you accept that your whole life – work included – is one whole thing?

What happens if you choose to see and own all of the parts of your life, knowing that how you choose to move through one part of your life just naturally affects all of your life?

balance
“Balance” via Flickr by Scott Robinson [CC BY 2.0]
Well, Walters points out four benefits that accrue to you if you dump the balance mindset.

  • You get Grace. Instead of moving all hurky-jerky awkward or turning robotic, you flow through life like a dancer or gymnast.

Your move facilitates your next move and then the next more easily and it all becomes a grand choreography as you realize your own purposes and help others towards their own.

There’s less stressing over the all of everything.  You’re too busy immersed in the living of your life to spend much time analyzing it all into the ground and exhausting yourself tweaking every little part of it, trying to get it “right.”

Other people are likely to find it beneficial being around you.  (Have you ever noticed how soothing it is to be around someone who’s calm and together?)

The bonus to that last is that because they’re relaxed around you, you won’t have to keep watching these other people to make sure the parts that keep flying off them don’t whack you upside the head and make you dizzy.

  • You get Awareness. Just accepting and knowing that everything is interconnected, you can see how any choice you might make will affect the other parts of life and the world around you.

Your awareness of the different choices you can make and how each option might affect the rest of your life has got to be a most valuable asset.  With that awareness and knowing what your purposes are, you get to be in control.  You can actually choose how you are going to move next.

  • You get Momentum. If everything in your life is interconnected, then making a move in one part of your life that pushes that part forward can help or hinder how everything else in your life rolls along as well.

Choosing and then making whatever move works for you starts the ball rolling – and it goes.  Once it’s going, it keeps on going (and so do you) in the direction in which you push the durned thing and, of course, always factoring in stuff like roadblocks, potholes and detours.

Walters explains the momentum thing very well using a giant ball filled with smaller ones.  You can imagine how pushing the big ball around means that it takes all the littler ones inside it in the same direction.

If you’re no longer focused on standing still and achieving balance, then you get to “play ball.”

All you have to do is take one step.  Then you take another step, and so on.

  • You get Empowerment. All the other stuff – grace, awareness, and momentum – builds up to giving you the space and the time you need to make the moves you want to make.

 That’s called “empowerment.”

How cool is that?

HOW TO LEARN TO DANCE

One idea and one TEDTalk video is not going to help you figure out how to get from stuck to dancing in the flow.  Fortunately, a whole bunch of wise guys down through the ages have worked on this concept of the interconnectedness of life.

balance
“Balance” by Dave Soldano via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
One book you might want to tap into is Laurence G. Boldt’s THE TAO OF ABUNDANCE:  Eight Ancient Principles for Abundant Living.   My own copy of the book is a lot shopworn.  I’ve had it since it was published in 1999.

It includes all kinds of information about ancient wisdoms as well as exercises to stretch your mind and to help you understand how to see the world and yourself as one whole thing that’s “more than the sum of its parts” (as that old Greek wise-guy Aristotle famously said).

Boldt is a career consultant and lifetime student of Eastern philosophies.  He’s written a bunch of books that help people apply the insights he’s gained from his studies to the everyday world and to the building of dreams.

His other offerings are ZEN AND THE ART OF MAKING A LIVING:  A Practical Guide to Creative Career Design (1993), HOW TO FIND THE WORK YOU LOVE (1996), ZEN SOUP (1997) and HOW TO BE, DO AND HAVE ANYTHING:  A Practical Guide to Creative Empowerment (2001).

inevitable-egg-balance
“Inevitable Egg Balance” by Clint Budd via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
Boldt even has a website, “EmpowerYOU.com” that you might want to check out.

Here’s a poem:


DIALOGUE BETWEEN INNER SELVES

I am longing to soar

To fly away from all

The endless to-ing and fro-ing,

The ebb and flow of

Tic-toc-tic-toc-ticking ordinary.

I am yearning for open sky

Over beauteous dreamscapes of glories.

But, here I am instead,

Trudge-trudge-trudging

Through the mud and the blood and the beer.

 

Oh…right!

Didja forget?

You gave UP beer!

Dummy!

 

AHEM….

I am wanting to escape

From toiling after spoils,

All the posturing and posing,

All the climbing,

All the striving….

 

Ya know, I have to wonder:

Why do they call what you win “spoils”?

That doesn’t sound too enticing!

 

HARRUMPH!

I am dreaming of a reprieve

From all the slings and arrows

Of the world,

The endless wants and needs

That push at me are….

 

This is kinda dumb.

It really seems to me

That if you’re gonna walk

Then you should just get on with it.

What the heck is with all this talk-talk-talking?

Moaning and groaning ‘bout

How it is REALLY ha-a-ard

And how it just ain’t any kind of fair

Don’t get you there.

 

OOGH!

(Sigh!)

I am needing….

 

What you really need, babe,

Is to quit’cher whining….

 

Can we go now?

By Netta Kanoho

Header photo credit:  “Balancing” by Ikhlasul Amal via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]

Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you would drop a note or comment below and tell me your thoughts.

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38 thoughts on “FORGET “BALANCE” (MOVE THE WHOLE THING)

  1. “But, here I am instead,Trudge-trudge-trudging, Through the mud and the blood and the beer.” These lines remind me of myself after a having a bad day at work, and then retired to my couch with a beer in hand. 

    Having to create a balance between work and our personal life is something I find hard because at the end of the day I always drag work home and think of how my next step will be like this causes some really difficult situation in my life, but I feel its time to put a stop to it. 

    Thanks for sharing this post.

    1. Thanks for your visit and for sharing your story, Benson.  It’s a truth.  Work can often intrude on home-life, and sometimes you have to send your analytical self to the showers and just immerse yourself in the rest of your life.

      Finding ways to give yourself a break (even teeny-tiny ones) do help with that.

      Please do come again.

  2. Todd Matthews says:

    It’s amazing how everything in our lives is intertwined into one, and how each move in one area can affect the other in our life. It’s a fact so few of us realize, but yet it’s always right in front of us, we just need to learn how to not only control our own steps, but also be aware with how other areas are affected. 

    How will Action A affect Outcome Z, and so forth. When we’re aware, we can then move every facet of our life forward, while many might strive only for balance, if they strive for anything at all, which as you stated, creates empowerment. 

    1. Todd, thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  You got the process right, I think.

      I think it’s a wonderful thing to know that when you make moves in one part of your life, you take all of your life with you.  The possibilities inherent in that are awesome.  

      What it means is that if you persistently and consistently make just one change at a time — something as simple as smiling at the people you meet, for instance — that one change has the potential to affect every other part of your life.  Think about it.  Wo!

      Please do come again….

  3. Strahinja says:

    Well I can definitely say that this is interesting concept. Never looked at it that way, but it actually makes sense. We always have this calculation in our head. Shall I spend more time working or enjoy life? Can money really make up to everything and can it buy the pleasure and time?

    I will definitely have a look at this post and learn more about this guy.

    Thank you for sharing.

    1. Strahinja, thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I am pleased that the post started you thinking about this stuff.

      Please do come again.

  4. The human is an entity made up of many parts … mind, body and soul.  All three need to be in sync with each other.  If they don’t move in balance with each other all are effected negatively.  

    But if we can strengthen them, they will build up each other.  

    The scale is the perfect example describing the “balance”.  We are all striving to get that perfect balance, but it is like someone on a tight rope.  There is always that unknown danger.

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Hanlie.  

      I was struck by your thought about trying for the perfect balance is like being a person on a high wire.  That’s another downside to the thing:  you always feel like you’re going to fall off!  YEEP!

      I like your thought that strengthening all of our human parts — mind, body and spirit — has to have a good effect.  The really neat thing about Walters’ and the wise guys’ insight about the interconnectedness of our own selves is that if you can even just work on making one part stronger, it tends to lead naturally to moves that help make the other parts strong too.

      It is really cool.

      Please do come again.

  5. I agree with you: work should not be disconnected from the rest of our life. 

    Having them separated through a work-life balance is the mentality of an employee. He works to be paid and then uses his payment to move around in life. But that mentality enslaves those who possess it and it leaves no room for creative ideas, productivity boost and enjoying work. 

    Those that own their own businesses have interconnected their work with their life and it shows in their results.

    1. Thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts, Henry.

      You brought a point I had not even considered:  Working on your own dreams rather than working for somebody else’s dream is a big part of integrating work back into your life.

      Thanks for that.  

      Please do come again.

  6. Ramone Robinson says:

    Good Day to you! 

    I like the pictures on your site.  I think maybe you could add a little bit more in between your long paragraphs. 

    Honestly I was confused on what I was about to read.  At first I thought it was about poems, but once I started reading the article it was about balance and other things, 

    The poems at the end really threw me off.  If I could suggest using audio if available.  Not many people get the full effect of reading a poem not knowing the flow of the poem at all. 

    What I took from this was to learn how to balance life and work also, Do what you believe in! 

    Wish you the best of luck going forward.  If I could offer any advice it would be focus you article on a main point a little bit more. 

    1. Ramon, I do thank you for your visit and for taking the time to critique the workings of the post.  I’m afraid that the parts of it that caused you confusion may be my writing style, which is that of a poet.

      I tend to take all sorts of different concepts and throw them together to find what is hidden in them.  

      I hope you’ll visit other posts on the site and see where all this dancing around takes me and my readers.  (Very often they have great insights their own selves.)

      Please do come again.

  7. Pentrental says:

    Work-life balance is a term thrown around often for sure. Team Studio503 looks like they are doing good things over there in regard to Strategic Account Management. 

    The analogies here are pretty intriguing, especially flowing through life like a gymnastic or dancer, and dumping the balance mindset really gets one thinking. 

    Grace, awareness, momentum, empowerment, these are indeed very cool steps that lead to space and time. 

    You’ve provided some very interesting reads here and I will definitely check them out further through your links. Great post and keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts, Pentrental.  I’m glad the post engaged you.

      Please do come again.

  8. Mugalu Mansoor says:

    Thank you very much,

    Whatever the matter is, we need to balance.  I enjoyed the way you discussed this topic though I may be of a different view. 

    According to me, I think things need to be balanced.  If you don’t balance well your work and family, you may lose any of the two. it just my opinion.

    Thanks for such great info

    Mansoor is my name.

    1. Mansoor, thank you for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I do agree that there are more than one way to cross a stream.  If your way works for you, then that is the best way for you to do it.

      Please do come again.

  9. robertmccarty says:

    Loved the messaging and sentiments of work – life balance on this site.  It is really grounding to remind us that there is more to outside of working hours but more important, life during our working hours.  

    I spend a couple of weeks with the Maori in New Zealand and it was such a peaceful experience.  They really stress the states of balance and the meditative state.  

    Look forward to future visits to your site and the great messages!

    1. Robert, thank you for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I’m glad the post resonated with you.

      Please do come again.

  10. Thank you for this very motivational post. I did not know what is the balance between life and work was and I appreciate these details. 

    I think from your review, working with the interconnectedness of me can really help me to get grace, momentum and awareness.What is the best work life balance?

    1. Shimba, thank you for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I am glad you found the post helpful.

      As for your question, I think that only you can decide what works for you.

      Please do come again.

  11. A few years back had a mental breakdown due to my job (yeah I was called a “work-a-holic”), trying to find back that “balance in life”. Although it belongs to my past and I am a happy man now. 

    Found this very interesting to see that by seeking balance we just might get out of balance even more, but instead should let that ball roll with all the good and bad things inside to create momentum. 

    I liked the point of view from Michael Walters. Thanks for sharing this 🙂

    1. Luc, thanks for your visit and for sharing your story.  I, too, was very taken by Michael Walters’ take on balance.  It just makes so much sense, that!  

      Please do come again.

      1. Oh you can take that to the bank: I will come again ,since I bookmarked your website 🙂

  12. primoz pticak says:

    Hi! You wrote a great article about balancing your work-life. I agree that separating those two things is imposible : while you are at work you can not push an off button to your thoughts about your home, family and vice versa. Like you wrote – balancing them is a necessary thing everybody must do. 

    Because I didn’t balanced my work-life I fell into drug addiction years ago. Now I learnt how to balance everything in your life, and I am now the “calm guy”  that everybody feels the urge to hang put with, to make them feel calm. 

    Great job you are doing.

    Cheers,

    Primoz P.

    1. Primoz, thank you for your visit and for sharing your story.  It is a truth that getting out of balance can have some severe consequences.  I am glad that you are maintaining yours so well now.

      Please do come again.

  13. Good Day. I looked at your site and the pics are awesome. 

    This next comment might make people freak out (and personal opinion is that the children of the world ARE THE GREATEST GIFT that God has give to the world) but there are some really messed up people out there. Maybe use an image that does not show children in it. 

    Moving on from my observation you have been making content for few years (and I’m just a newbie) but maybe create your own video. 

    And one more thing I think the text should be of a darker color, too gray. I hope this was of some help. Best wishes and good luck  Chuck

    1. Chuck, I do thank you for the visit and for trying to help me make my site better.  I do appreciate your effort.  

      My own feeling is that because children are God’s greatest gift, it would be a shame to hide them and their joy away.  Very often they teach us the very best lessons, I believe.

      The “messed-up” people you reference win if we are forced by our fear of them to hide away our greatest treasures.  

      Just sayin’.

      Please do come again.

  14. Parameter says:

    I love the way Michael Walters took the issue of work and life balance, he said pick one thing in your life and take a step, I love his expression, he says it does not matter what step you take but that you have taken a step. This idea is the key to a successful balance in life, family and work.

    1. Parameter, thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I am pleased that you found the post helpful.

      Please do come again.

  15. You’ve struck a chord with this one Netta. Where it was all noisy and incomprehensible, a distinct sound is now emerging, one that is best heard as you flow, not stand still. 

    Walters did share a great analogy in his talk but you gave it life on a whole new tangent. Thanks for sharing. 

    We are Blessed.

    1. Mark, thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I do appreciate it.  

      Please do come again.

  16. WOW! This is a really amazing article! I have opened my mind to a new thought after reading your articles. Yes, I think everything is connected to each other, we are all part of everything.

    Sometimes, it is very hard to balance life and work.But when I think those are one whole thing- my life, then I got released.

    Because “separate” will cause a lot of issues on the society, if each of us think we are a whole, there will be less problems.

    People, earth, the whole universe is a whole, then the mankind will know how to take care of themselves, how to take care of the whole planet.

    Me is you, you is me, we are all together. If everyone think we are a part of whole, there will be no war, no argument, no conflict.

    Thank you so much for writing this wonderful articles, I really got inspired.Thank you!

    1. Leo, thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I am pleased the post resonated with you.

      Please do come again.

  17.   I enjoyed this talk and watched it more than once. I found it helpful and insightful. 

    It is a flawed economic system we live in with a 40-hour workweek plus commute, often for little money (something he failed to mention in his talk here), but our personal fulfillment won’t come from scapegoating work. Our need to blame work comes from our need to blame, and that would be present even if we had no work. 

    I think he is saying that the holistic approach is about being mindful of your life. Being present in each moment and letting all your life (even work) feed you, give to you, fill you and be honest when it does not but still remain connected. 

    If you need to blame that will affect all your life if you can be the type of person to derive enjoyment from life than that will affect all your life. 

    To have the life we want and to be the person we want to be, we first have to accept what is so we can become the type of person to make purposeful choices one step at a time to gain the momentum to make the future more of what we want. 

    In all great Job.

    1. DerrAd, thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I do agree with you.

      Please do come again.

  18. Forever and a day, I thought that the balance was right in my life, to the point of overly justfying the why’s from any angle I could. If I wasn’t doing this, then we couldn’t have that and we can’t do that becasue I’m doing this, which is always more important. Blindly pushing that weight further and further past the fulcrum.

    There was no balance, but being in it meant you couldn’t see it.

    Then, life made the choice for me. Now there is no balance because that would indicate ‘sides’. Now there is just the ‘whole’. Everything effects everything but in a way that is nigh on symbiotic. There is no ‘or’ just us, collectively moving through life with forward momentum.

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