Incite by Design

Caustic visions and shared thoughts on design, marketing, creativity, philanthropy, pop culture and business philosophy by Toronto design firm, Ricksticks Inc.

2004-11-12

Reaganomics of Life Balance

Some of my colleagues live their lives with what I refer to as Reaganomics of Balance. They tell me, after working 10 weekends in a row, barely seeing their friends and family, surviving on 4-6 hours of sleep per night, that they are wise in that all this work will pay off eventually. In essence, they believe that the more they sacrifice now, the more likely they are to have free time later because they will be more financially stable (due to their current workaholism).

Uh-huh.

I have a big problem with this thinking. First off, I am a believer in living in the moment. That doesn't make me an excellent planner, but I am not one to stand around and wait on my objectives. If I feel like I want more time with my family, I will take it. If that's a poor work ethic, so be it. No one will look back on my life and say, "That Aleah, did she ever work like a dog!" I can live with that.

Secondly, there's always the chance that you will work yourself into a frazzled mess and still lose your shirt. Business can be a fickle lover that way. Now you have lost so many years and are no closer to goals that could have been achieved with a bit of balance.

Now, to state the obvious, there are times in life when work responsibilities mean losing sleep or time with loved ones. Creating balance doesn't mean shucking off responsible or becoming rigid. Balance doesn't mean blind consistency. There's a give and take, an art form to maintaining harmony in one's life.

The problem with the workaholic lifestyle is that not everyone can be Donald Trump or Richard Branson. We live in this illusion that if we read enough of the business gurus' books and adopt a "no pain, no gain" attitude, it will pay off and we can finally be kind to ourselves because we have earned it. The Bacchean life will now be afforded us as a "trickle down" reward of stoicism.

I find the most content, successful (which is oddly subjective to begin with) people I have met are those who have found the balance between good work and good play. They have not succumbed to the fantasy of materialistic happiness, nor have they ignored their responsibilities as a parent, partner, and citizen. They have not lived in extremes where Machiavellian approaches have landed them in a paradox of longing: wealth versus contentment. Rather, they don't wait to live their life in a wholly present manner; they live their life with joy and, more importantly, presence.

Living fully and soulfully - it's not as hard as it seems. It just takes being aware of how we funnel our efforts and reframing our objectives.

A
|