Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Why we often struggle to balance

Balancing is a difficult act. The dictionary offers many definitions for the word balance but most of them suggest a constant state of adjustment and re-adjustment. Long past its golden period of media attention and hero-worship, for me the high-wire act is the picture that comes to mind when I think about balancing.

Sometimes difficult to watch, especially when the tightrope is strung between tall buildings or over a canyon, the high-wire artist is continually correcting the distribution of their weight while moving steadily forward. The high-wire act appears to be a perfect illustration of balance but is it more accurately viewed as the perfect execution of focus? There may be many aspects to it but, arguably, the focus point that best defines success for the artist is making it across the rope or wire.

When it comes to balancing concepts as abstract as work and life, the challenge is an even harder one. Unlike the tightrope walker, the single objective is not so clear. Even when a good balance can be found between the commitments of work and life, it is hard to make it a lasting one. Something always changes and the balancing act begins again.

Like the tightrope walker, perhaps the best chance of success is offered by identifying a more central point of focus. With a unified focus offering a clearer definition of success, developing our skills and acquiring the knowledge and ability to achieve a certain goal becomes a simpler planning objective.

Learning and focus may offer us a more fundamental assurance, supporting the view that we are heading in the right direction. This view, because of its veracity, would also be harder to unsettle, regardless of what was encountered along the way. Naturally, change will still need to be faced and adjustments made but, equipped with an understanding that is not based on the balancing of opposing forces, a clearer definition of personal success can be the result.

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