I recently watched a documentary on Netflix called “Minimalism.” It’s essentially about two life-long friends who gave up their six-figure corporate positions to explore a lifestyle of “less is more.” They wrote a book, got rid of most of their stuff, and went on a nine-month speaking tour to promote their philosophy. Interesting concept, that’s for sure. It left me wondering about the battle between too much and too little, and what is enough?
While the documentary focused on our things, the message can also be applied to our relationships. I’ve written in the past about weeding out the friendships that no longer bring joy, and also about ending our marriages. In many of the significant aspects of life, we sometimes walk the tightrope between obligations and desires, and between needs and wants. The “Minimalism” guys suggest that we should love people and use things. Sometimes that’s easier said than done. We can love our teenagers, but when their extra-curricular activities interfere with our monthly book club, it’s hard to maintain our balance. We can love our new Prada wallet, but when the credit card bill arrives, do we acknowledge a case of buyer’s remorse?
I mean, we’re human. There are going to be times when we fall off the tightrope. Extenuating circumstances can interfere with our ability to logically reason out our feelings. Sometimes we simply react. And then what? Have we irrevocably committed ourselves to a choice that might not have been made had we taken the time to think it through? Or do we allow ourselves (and others) a do-over?
Achieving balance to me means that my life is calm. It means keeping the internal stuff (what’s going on in my heart, in my mind, and with my health) on par with the external stuff (what’s going on with my business, my family, and my social life). Easier said than done. And I sometimes fall off the tightrope.
So, how do we maintain balance? After much thought, trial, and error, I’ve designed a plan that can be implemented in five easy (???) steps.
Step 1: Understand what caused us to fall off the tightrope. (It doesn’t matter whose fault it is.)
Step 2: Think about what to do differently next time. (We all have the starring role in our own lives.)
Step 3: Prepare for the possibility that things might happen to interfere with your vision. (Even those things that are totally out of your control.)
Step 4: Make a plan. Write it down. Share it with others who might be impacted. (Written and verbal communication are essential.)
Step 5: Maintain your connections. Understand who’s got your back and treat them accordingly. (Value those who value you.)
We all know the harm that stress and anxiety can cause. Striving for balance seems like a good idea, doesn’t it?
I’d like to know your definition of balance. Have you ever fallen off the tightrope? And then what happened?