A Brian Klemmer original from 2008
Wherever I go, it seems as if people want balance in their lives. They’re working hard and find it difficult to juggle all the different areas they are involved in. Part of this has to do with focus, which I address in my book The Compassionate Samurai. The need for developing balance in the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual parts of our lives is discussed in my book If How-To’s Were Enough We Would All Be Skinny, Rich and Happy! (pages 104-114). Let’s expand on these thoughts.
When we’re in balance, we have greater power and peace of mind. The first time I rated these four aspects of my life, I was very strong on the mental and physical sides, but my spiritual and emotional development was weak. I found that even though I put a lot of energy into expanding my mental side, I received very little return for my efforts. Once I began to develop my spiritual and relationship sides, however, I noticed that the same amount of mental effort now produced extraordinary results! A person can be very developed mentally and have a great career, but if he or she doesn’t develop spiritually and emotionally, and has unsuccessful relationships, then I believe their career will suffer.
Many people believe balance is static. They look at their calendars and think that if they devote the same amount of time to their mental, emotional, physical and spiritual sides, then they will be in balance. But I think we’re talking about a more dynamic process here. So, how do we obtain balance? As I see it, there are two ways.
One is to make a massive effort. A friend of mine, Alan Nagao, got out of balance while building a multi-million-dollar business and his relationship with his dad suffered. So, Alan took six months off work to build a house with his dad and in the process, rebuilt his relationship with his dad. Working on this house swung the pendulum way over to the other side and then Alan had to go back to work because his company had suffered a decline during this six-month break.
This reminds me of the inflatable man that used to be on display in Hallmark gift stores. The inflatable man stood on a pedestal with a ball in each hand. If you pushed him, he rocked back and forth, but never fell off the pedestal. He swung way past the middle point, then back past the middle point in the opposite direction, and so on until he arrived at the middle again. Getting back in balance can look this way.
Balance can also be achieved by taking one bite at a time. An example is physical exercise. If you’re not working out at all, you might begin by taking little steps. You build on that by doing more and more, until you’re back in shape.
How do we begin to get into balance? First, rate yourself as suggested in my book. Next ask, what commitment will I make to move back into balance? Then act on this commitment. Awareness is one side of the “balance coin.” Action is the other.
Once we’re back in balance, how do we maintain it? When we drive a car, we move the steering wheel a thousand times. Each tiny correction keeps us on course. None of us is ever going to have an ideal life where every day is balanced, but if we constantly “correct” in the direction toward a balanced life, we will then experience the power and peace of mind that comes from equally developed mental, physical, spiritual and emotional aspects of our lives.