Being really successful within one single element is good…until it’s not anymore. Being totally committed to crushing it at work is awesome…until it starts to weigh on the family. Heavily relying on your partner can feel good to the both of you…until it doesn’t anymore. Becoming a valuable and contributing individual within society calls for a good amount of balance. It actually demands attention in a wide variety of areas. As we’ve become more and more sophisticated over time, we’ve broadened the scope and focus of individuals. We’ve developed a multitude of areas to become sophisticated within. And we’ve raised the bar over time, putting pressure on humans to grow and to contribute within that greater expanse.
I remember the feeling, as a young, insecure, unbalanced high school aged kid. I looked to some folks around me…the ones that were successful in one particular area. Then, I’d see them making positive strides in another area. It made me bitter…and resentful. I thought, they don’t deserve another boost. That’s what I deserve. I need that boost.’ But those folks did deserve it. They had worked hard at moving the needle in a lot of areas within their life. They had put effort into creating a well-balanced machine…and that provided them a prepared and opportune position to achieve competence in the subsequent arenas. I saw it as luck…coming to those that didn’t need it. It was like the 1 percenters getting a tax break. Well, sitting around and thinking and complaining about what I deserve is just so unbecoming and gross.
I wasn’t moving any of my needles in the right direction. I didn’t create any balance. I was pushing most of them in the wrong direction. And I certainly didn’t have one in particular that I could lean on. I really see the significance of that now. I think of the quote that Jon Krakauer wrote in his Into the Wild book. He said, ‘Happiness [is] only real when shared.’ This line reveals the necessity of balance in our lives as the social creatures that we are. It says that achievement and success is a piece of your purpose. It asks, ‘what else do you have going on?’
I have a strong notion that we let too many pieces of ourselves go undeveloped. We all contain multitudes of desire and ability. Biologically, we all have untapped segments of genes and parts of our brains. The way to turn those on, is to put yourself in new experiences that were drawn out of you by intrigue and passion. Krakauer also wrote,
‘The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.’
To stay in your lane…to stay narrow…is to maintain instability. To explore, find balance, and development within a variety of interests and structures…is homeostasis. Don’t create a state of inertia for yourself. Keep moving as many needles as possible. Find a balance.