If you want to do something well in life, you must do it with balance.
This is my first article for this space in nearly three years. Two years ago, I make a decision to shut this site's doors for good and pursue various opportunities and other mediums. I simply hadn't made writing for The Polymath Lab a priority, and without it near the top of my list, it wasn't getting the attention (or traffic) it required to survive. Fast forward through much deliberation and I finally decided it made sense to give it another push.
In coming back I decided to start with a couple articles on balance -- a topic that has weighed heavy on my mind for the last year or so. (I'm working on my first talk in which balance plays a typical role.) Yet, in thinking as much about balance as I have, I couldn't come up with a focus for this reopening article. It was about balance, but what about balance? Use balance to stay focused? To get stuff done? To live a healthy life? Sure, they all work. They're all good conversations that could be useful in their own way. But by picking a focus for a monolog on balance, I felt like I was leaving so much untouched. And balance is important. Really important.
It's easy for us to see and understand that some things in life physically rely on balance. We need balance to walk, to ride a bike, or to compete in gymnastics. Nothing can stand without balance and humans have been building things that stand (i.e. structures) for thousands of years. People have even used balance in tools like the balance scale for more than 4,000 years. And today, you're certainly not going to win a game of Jenga unless you understand balance.
Physical balance is obvious to us, even if we're not actively thinking about it.
What's not as obvious are the intangible aspects of our lives that are yearning for balance -- the things we can only feel. Regardless of visibility, we need balance in everything we do if we're going to do that thing well.
The simplest tasks require balance. We must breathe with balance. If we breathe too fast or heavy for a long period of time, that leads to hyperventilation. But we have to breathe enough to stay alive. The same goes for food. Our bodies need sugar and carbs and protein and fat, but focusing on one (or too much of one) negatively impacts personal health.
More complex tasks require balance, too. Being an effective manager is a balance between micro-managing and making sure workers are getting their work done (and done well), all while not abandoning the other tasks required of the job. Being a good partner means balancing our wants and needs with the partner's -- effective relationships tend to live in a middle ground between two people.
The list goes on. And on. Parenting, cleaning, exercising, working, eating.
Balance belongs in everything we want to do well.
That's why I settled on a broad and generic topic to get me back into the game. We need balance in everything in our lives if we're going to keep moving forward effectively. Leaning too much to one side means drowning, rolling off the road, or falling off the tracks (a choose your own adventure metaphor).
So, stay balanced, my friends. I'll try to do the same, too, and am going to continue adding content to this space regularly.
Until you've had enough practice, it's terrifying to perform in front of a room full of people.