Archives for September 2012

Life Balance Fallacies – Part 2

In the last post, we explored Life Balance Fallacy #1 and deflated the overwhelm that the term life balance can bring.  So today, we are bringing Fallacy #2 to reality as well.

Life Balance Fallacy #2:   You should spend a lot of time on what you are weakest at.

We have all heard the saying, “You are only as strong as your weakest link.”  While there is some truth in that, it is overblown. 

I believe it is extremely important to focus on whether or not you feel alive and passionate.  Do you spend a sufficient amount of time, energy and attention on those things that make you feel alive and joyful, and that provide a sense of fulfillment.  These things speak to the quality of your life.  We have all heard of or seen extremely successful, healthy people who are unhappy in their lives.  Find a way to have your success and have the spark and quality as well.  It may take some creativity, but isn’t your life worth it?

Now, back to the weak link(s), by all means, spend some time there too.  It doesn’t have to take a lot of time or dominate your life, but making your life more well rounded always supports the quality of your life in the long run.  For example, if you have trouble in relationships, whether they be romantic, familial, social or business, perhaps learning some communication skills can go a long way to improving your interactions.  Or, perhaps, you are not physically fit.  By performing some kind of fun, cardio activity, just 30 minutes a day for three to four days per week, you will gain more mental clarity, more stamina, more energy, and more options to have fun in many areas of your life.  In fact, some times working on a weak link can help you fulfill or get more out of your enlivening, life quality activity you identified in the last post.

So, how do we easily strengthen our weak links?

  1. In the last post I suggested that you take a moment to write down a paragraph or two or more about what your life would be like if you could lead any life you wished.  Pull out that writing.  If you haven’t written it yet, here’s your chance. 
  2. Use the info from your writing to identify, what areas of your life are your weak links.  From that list pick no more than two areas that you choose to strengthen now.  For example, you may want to be in a romantic relationship or start a new business. 
  3. The trick to making a significant change is to regularly take a step to get you there.  So, chunk it down.  What is the one thing you can do today that will move you in your chosen direction?   Then tomorrow, identify the one thing you can do that day to support your goal.  And so on…  These actions may take only five minutes so stop holding yourself back.  It is by taking a series of small steps that you will ultimately get there.

Life Balance Fallacies – Part 1

When you hear about creating life balance, do you cringe in overwhelm?  Do you believe that balance would be nice, but put it off to another day?  You are not alone. 

The fact is that most people don’t really understand what life balance is and make it much more complicated than it needs to be.  Let’s explore life balance by discussing what it is not.  In today’s and the next post we’ll unveil the two common fallacies that are out there.    

Life Balance Fallacy #1:  You must devote enough time, energy and attention to everything area of your life equally. 

This is nonsense, let alone, impossible.  Believing this fallacy can only bring about stress and either a feeling of defeat or that you are not good enough.  Personally, I can live without those outcomes.

Here’s the truth.  Just as every person is unique with one’s own talents, passions, and dreams, so too balance is unique to every individual.  It isn’t about tending to your work, relationships, physical health, creativity, etc all equally.  It is about spending enough time in every area to support the life you wish to create.  For example, my life just doesn’t feel right, and I become less happy (even grumpy) when I fail to acknowledge my creative side.  For me, all it takes is ½ hour of creative writing, four to five times per week, and the amount of energy, excitement, and creativity for everything else in my life expands.  Simply, without it, I shrink.  With it, I soar. 

What important part of you are you ignoring?

Take the first step toward creating a life in balance by taking 10 minutes to explore your passions.

  1. Take a moment to write down a paragraph or two (or more) about what your life would be like if you could lead any life you wished.  It doesn’t matter if you believe it is possible or not.  What you write may lead you to real discovery so don’t hold back.
  2. Use that information, to identify at least one thing that you are passionate about. For example, in your writings you may have described your life as an astronaut.  Ask yourself, what about being an astronaut appeals to you – perhaps the adventure of it, or you may love everything space oriented.  With this knowledge you can take steps toward either becoming an astronaut, or toward exploring adventurous things like sky diving or a safari, or if you love space, you can volunteer at a local planetarium, take classes on new space discoveries…  Get the idea?
  3. Then, put it in your calendar so you may that experience your passion into your life on a regular basis.  If it will involve several actions, put those in you calendar.  As you complete them, you will feel great about moving toward your dreams.

In the next post, we will explore life balance fallacy #2.  Until then, happy exploration.

Changing Your Mind

Changing your mindHave you ever noticed that people have a tendency to change their minds?  Whether people change their minds because they need to add variety to their daily routines, want to initiate play, desire to create something new, or because they have gained new insights that now overrule their previous beliefs, it is inevitable that people will change their minds about some thing at some time.

We can either perceive this change as wise, for example when children go through their various stages of development, or we can perceive it as being inconsistent, erratic, unstable or possibly even immoral.  But this determination has to due with people’s perceptions about the accuracy or rightness of the new belief, opinion, or subsequent action.  It doesn’t make the act of changing one’s mind right or wrong.  All we can hope is that there is wisdom in the decision.

I’m not going to dwell on the making of right decisions here, but rather that all of us will make new decisions, adopt new beliefs, and set a course of new actions.  This is part of life.  In fact, if nothing in your life – what you think, feel, or do – is changing, you may not be fully living the passionate and fulfilling life you were meant to live. 

So, here’s the challenge.  How do you change your mind in a way that you don’t lose your mind?

Your Mind Can Drive You Nuts

Perhaps you’ve noticed that your mind has a way of churning and twisting thoughts into pretzels before a decision is reached.  You may have even suffered while your internal debates raged.  This may have been particularly painful when wrestling with whether to adopt a belief that you previously decided was wrong, bad, or not right for you. 

Face it.  People have a hard time going against their previous decisions.  It makes them feel like hypocrites, liars, or just plain stupid, and no one likes how that feels.  Even if it is obvious to them that they need to change their mind, they may delay the shift or even prevent it to avoid the internal pain.

So, what can we do in order to not be thrust into this dilemma?

The Shelf that Creates Freedom

We’ve all heard by now the analogy that you can’t add anything to a full glass.  In other words, we cannot learn anything new if we are already full.  When you are full, you need to remove something first to make room for the new item.   This is where the pain and internal struggle emerges.  We get emotionally attached to that which we have chosen to fill ourselves.

People have learned to not only name everything, but to categorize it into good, bad, right, wrong, works for me, doesn’t work for me, even red, blue or purple.  We then often add our justifications to prove the categorizations.  These justifications may be derived from parents or other people we trusted categorizing the belief for us – such as “money is dirty.”  Or we may have already accumulated on our own a host of beliefs that back up the new belief.  In either case, these new beliefs, their classifications and their accompanying justifications fill our mental glass.  Get the point?

To remove the emotional struggle of removing items from your glass, I would like to introduce you to the concept of the Shelf.  What if everything in life doesn’t need to be categorized?  What if instead, you decided that it was ok for some things to remain a mystery or undetermined?  What if you could then place these uncategorized thoughts and beliefs on a shelf so that at a later date you could – if you ever choose to – look at them again, fresh, without emotional attachment?  Then, you could have an unencumbered choice to see if it works for you now, in this moment, or not. 

Conversely, what if you had something in your mental glass that might not work for you any more?  What if you took that discordant belief or thought and placed it on the shelf making it once more uncategorized – something that should you choose to, you could look at again to see if it fit in that moment in time. 

Though I’m sure there are some universal truths, many truths or beliefs depend upon a particular moment in time and situation.  Something may be a right fit for you when we are 20, but no longer fits when you are 35 or 60.  Changing your mind doesn’t make the concept right or wrong.  Your belief fits and works for you in that moment, or it doesn’t.  In a way, it’s much like fashion.  Trends come and go as do some beliefs and attitudes.

This is what I call freedom – freedom to choose in the moment to create and adorn your life in a way that is fulfilling, joyful, and meaningful. 

So, do you plan on using your shelf to regain your freedom?