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Forget Balance! – Work, Life And The Surprising Secret to Happiness

The elusive goal of balance keeps us teetering on a tightrope of insanity as we frantically juggle the plates of our compartmentalized lives.

Balance may be the big buzzword in corporate America, but parceling yourself out in the quest for perfect balance often makes you so worried about the moments you’re missing that you forget how to enjoy the moments you’re actually in.

The problem isn’t lack of balance. It’s that we’ve sub-divided our lives into a series of endless to-dos that hold no meaning for us whatsoever.

The truth is, balance isn’t a strategy; it’s a tactic, and a reactive one at that. And you don’t create success or happiness with tactics. Think about it. Do you know anyone who achieved nirvana by mastering the art of the Franklin Planner?

It’s no coincidence that when people talk about balance they’re usually lamenting their lack of it.

I should spend more time with my kids. I should take more vacations. I should get to the gym more often. I should call my folks. The list is a mile long, and we’re convinced that true happiness will descend upon us when it’s all checked off.

But the real secret of happiness isn’t balance at all; it’s two very simple things: We’re the happiest when we’re connected to others, and we know that what we’re doing with our time makes a difference.

That’s it. Not new cars, not big promotions, not even more sex, the perfect life partner or photogenic kids. It’s been proven time and time again, by everyone from the researchers at Harvard to religious leaders; we human beings need both pleasure and purpose to be happy. And we need to experience them both at the same time.

All the angst around balance is merely masking a larger issue which is lack of purpose and an inability to experience the pleasure of fully engaging in the present moment.

Our culture has perpetuated the myth that our work is over on one side of the equation and fun is on the other, two competing arenas that must be carefully balanced against each other at all times. Spread yourself around in the right proportion, and life will be bliss. But in reality, our challenge isn’t trying to balance out the drudgery with the fun; our challenge is to learn to how enjoy every aspect of our life while we’re actually living it.

Meaningful work – be it parenting, PTA or powering your way to the top of P & G – is the cornerstone of a happy and successful life.

Exhaustion may make you crave more pleasure. However, as the angst ridden botoxed ladies at the country club can attest, you can spend every day of your life at the spa, but unless it’s connected to a larger purpose, at a certain point you’re going to get tired of exfoliating yourself.

On the flip side, you can selflessly spend hours scooping soup for the poor, but until you learn to be fully present and experience the grace while you’re ladling, there won’t be a big serving of joy waiting for you at the bottom of the pot.

We human beings are hard-wired with an innate desire to create meaningful connections while we’re on this planet and to make a contribution that outlasts our stay on it.

Yet, despite the lofty yearnings of our souls. we often get ourselves so mired in our own muck that we’re not fully engaged with the people around us, and we completely miss the potentially larger purpose of our daily grind. There aren’t too many world leaders, kindergarten teachers, or jingle writers who create fabulous results by distractedly going through the motions.

Trying to balance out your priorities by employing superb scheduling tactics will always feel like a rat race if you don’t have a meaningful strategy or goal. If your true objective is to become happy, you’re going to have to spend a little time thinking about what that actually means to you.

Whether you know it or not, you do have purpose on this planet – we all do – and I suspect that much of our angst over balance comes from the gnawing knowledge that we’re not fulfilling it. But before you quit your day job, you should know that you don’t have to create world peace to give yourself a reason to get out of bed. Sometimes your life’s purpose is something as simple, elegant and meaningful as being a great friend or boss.

I have no idea what your purpose is; it took me the better part of 44 years just to start getting an inkling of my own. But I do know that the meaning and joy you get out of your life is in direct proportion to the meaning and joy you put into it.

You can’t make good decisions about where to spend your time until you know how you want to share your heart. Guiltily parceling out bits and pieces of yourself in the name of balance never makes you happy; it just makes you tired. So forget balance. Figure out your purpose, get present in the moment and decide to be happy instead.

reblogged from bnetworking.info

BY Ava Wilson

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