Having A Balanced Life Is Overrated
Can we all agree achieving a completely balanced life can feel impossible sometimes? This is why I’m throwing it out the window. I think there are actually reasons you should consider not to have a balanced life (and basically why a balanced life is bad in some situations). Here’s a look at four instances where I think balance is overrated.
1. If You Want To Be The Best
First, if you want to be the best at anything, you should rethink your commitment to balance. To get to the top of your career (whether that’s in a corporate job or as an entrepreneur or something else), you have to be obsessed. You can only be the best by being totally focused and dedicated. It takes at least 10,000 hours of practice in your field to become “world-class,” according to Malcolm Gladwell. So, incorporating balance as a goal will prolong (if not completely inhibit you from) becoming the best. This quote sums it up perfectly.
It is unfortunate that people with voracious obsession and fierce drive are categorized as off-balance, work-addicted, obsessive, and a whole litany of other labels. Extraordinary by definition means anything outside the realm of what most normal people can and do achieve. Only you can decide if something is extraordinary because only you know your true potential and whether you’re living up to it; no one else can judge your success. Remember: Success is the degree or measure of attaining some desired object or end. Never seek balance. Seek extraordinary. – Grant Cardone
Oh, this quote is so perfect. I just love it! This is how I can obsess over my blog and ignore people who give me bad advice about giving it a rest. They just don’t get it. I want to be the best and it’s fun for me, so I don’t want to integrate things just in the name of balance.
2. If You Want To Make A Lot Of Money
Second, if you want to be rich, don’t focus on balance. Regardless of how you plan to make money (whether it’s from your job or from a business you started), you have to work really hard to accumulate a lot of money (assuming you’re self-made). Balance means working less, which means making less money. Eventually, you can focus on balance. But not while you’re in the accumulating phase. While you’re in this phase (i.e. making money and saving money), you need to focus on building wealth. If you focus on balance, you can build a comfortable life. But not extraordinary wealth. I’m not suggesting this is something you aspire to, but I am suggesting that if it is something you want, you don’t also seek balance. Similarly, if you are in massive debt, you may not be able to afford all the balance you want. This is true for me as I repay my student loan debt by blogging and working full time. There are plenty of evenings and weekends I want to take it easy and do nothing, but I don’t because my reason for pushing is stronger than my need for balance — I want my debt gone asap. If you want to build extraordinary wealth or need to get out of debt, then wait until you’ve made and saved enough money to live off before you focus on balance.
3. If You Only Care About A Few Things
Third, if you only care about a few things, focus only on those things. Don’t seek holistic balance. If people say you should read, journal, volunteer, and go to workout classes, but you hate these things — don’t do them. Be very careful what advice you listen to. Not everything is going to be for you. There’s no point in trying to live a balanced life just because other people are telling you to. Do what works for you. I find the more I know what makes me happy, the easier it is for me to say no to things I don’t like. I actually like a lot of things, so this is hard for me. I really like to cook, workout, read, and travel. Once I repay my student loans, I think I’ll incorporate a lot more balance into my life for these things. I still do them now, but not to the extent I wish I could. But I would rather repay my debt and get on track financially than have balance right now. The best thing for me is the fact that I’ve thought about this stuff and made the conscious choice. That’s what it’s all about. Don’t add more things to your life just because you think it’s supposed to be balanced. If you only care about a few things, then only do those things, even if it means your life is unbalanced.
4. If You Found Your Passion
Finally, if you found your passion, don’t let the idea of balance ruin it for you. When you do a bunch of things that keep you balanced, like working out, going to church, spending time doing whatever else it is in the name of balance, you are taking time away from your passion. These other things may be really good things, but they won’t excite you the way your passion will. They won’t fulfill you. That’s not to say they’re bad or not good for you, they’re just not your passion and won’t make you happy. One of my favorite quotes by Gary Vee is, “finding your passion is the number one best thing that can happen to you.” Your passion is your work. Your purpose. What lights you up inside. Finding your passion is the biggest reason I know of not to seek balance. When you’re passionate about what you’re doing, you’re lit up and excited about it. The work hours don’t matter. You are in alignment with your purpose. And then what happens is, you get really good at what you’re doing. It would be a huge mistake to stop what you’re good at and what you love to add more things you don’t like to do just for the sake of balance. I struggle with this because I like to do other things like cook and read and listen to podcasts and workout. But I love my blog. And I work full time. And there are only 24 hours in the day! So, I constantly have to re-evaluate how much I’m incorporating into my life and what good it’s doing.
All this is to say that you should do what’s right for you. And that may not be living a balanced life. As I said above, there are four reasons why I think it’s bad in some situations. If nothing else, you should always consider advice at face value. So, if people tell you to seek more balance, remember the opening quote and remember the reasons listed above. Then, decide if achieving balance is something you want. The best advice I have for you is to do what you love. Pursue your passion. Become the best out there. Make a lot of money, if that’s what you want. And remember that balance is only something worth pursuing if you actually want it for you. And sometimes, there are good reasons why a balanced life is bad.
Natalie Bacon is an online entrepreneur. Prior to this, Natalie practiced as a certified financial planner, at a firm that managed over $1B in assets under management. Before her financial planning career, Natalie practiced as a business attorney. Natalie has been featured in CNBC, Forbes, and other publications. Natalie is most passionate about helping young, professional women design their dream lives. Read Natalie‘s full story here.
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