“Live as if you’ll die tomorrow. Learn as if you’ll live forever.” – Who knows. I’m done trying to attribute quotes accurately.
How do you find work-life balance?
Does it even exist?
Can you ever know if you’re making the right decision for your life at that moment?
You have conflicting priorities. On the one hand, if you’re building a dream, you have to spend time building it.
On the other hand, you want to live your life. All work and no play makes a dull boy or girl, right?
How do you reconcile the two?
Is there a perfect work-life balance ratio — work and play, learning and living, or staying present and planning for the future?
There’s a more important area to cover before we get to that answer.
Many people don’t have the problem I’m describing yet. They don’t have a mission to follow that gets in the way of their social life.
Hell, their social life itself isn’t even that fun.
Picture the average person in society. According to a Gallup Poll, 64 percent of people don’t feel engaged in their work. Chop off 1/3 of your life if you’re in that camp. When they come home, what do they often do? Scarf down dinner and watch T.V. — the average American watches roughly 3 hours of T.V. per day.
Then, on the weekend, they do a variation same thing every single time — drinks, clubs, and bars for younger people … errands, sports (watching, not playing), barbecues, and craft fairs (or whatever) for older people. Sprinkle in a vacation or two each year, and that’s life.
I never intend to mock a certain lifestyle. Instead, I paint pictures and let you decide what you want to do.
I’ll never tell you what to do, but here’s what I want for you. Rather, here’s what I don’t want for you.
I don’t want you to feel like your life has gone by in a blur. I don’t want you to feel like each day of your life is repeating on a loop. Instead, I want you to break your pattern. Not for me, but for you to be able to see there’s more to life beyond the norm.
Work-life balance is a term applied for people who feel like work is a burden. You think you need balance when you’re really just trying to escape.
You don’t have to become an entrepreneur, or travel the world, or become an artist, or get rich and famous, or anything else extreme to live a life of meaning.
You simply need to do one thing.
Do you ever get bored?
If you answered yes, think about why you get bored.
From my perspective, I don’t see how you could possibly be bored at all, ever.
Sometimes I have to take over the counter sleeping medication because my mind races too much at the end of the night. My brain moves faster than my body can. I simply can’t accomplish everything I want to do all at once, and it frustrates me .,. in a good way.
I have my first love, writing. I’m also growing my Youtube channel — shooting videos, learning about video SEO, and researching new cameras and audio equipment. I do public speaking and attend speech clubs three times per week. I just formed a company and I’m learning how to structure my finances and become an investor.
The point of this isn’t to brag about what I’m doing with my life, but to show you what’s possible when you do one thing.
What thing you ask?
Find something to occupy your time outside of the normal rat race bullshit.
This could be a hobby or a side project or volunteering. Anything that orients your focus to some sort of mission. Once you find something you want to get really good at, you’ll recover the curiosity that was stolen from you.
When you do this, you’ll start to notice your confidence growing in other areas. When you’re around someone who seems to be awake and aware, you can just feel it.
The opposite is true also.
The more you get lost in the shuffle and stuck in the rat race, the dimmer you become. It saddens me to see it but I see it all the time — dead, soulless eyes, everywhere.
Most of these people can’t be saved. But you can. Why? Because you’re reading this. You’re still open to the possibility of changing your life and trying something different.
So how do you do it?
First, change this important aspect of your life.
I baited and switched you a bit. This isn’t really a post about work-life balance. It’s a post dispelling of the concept altogether. You want to remove the partition between work and life. You can start by becoming a student of life again.
If you want to become a real student of life, so you can “learn like you’ll live forever,” you’d do well by first understanding that the rules of society are totally made up. You don’t have to follow them.
As soon as you rid yourself of the idea that you need these perfect credentials to develop expertise, you can begin to develop real expertise. This expertise can help you find a new career, improve at your current one, or start something brand new.
When you become a student of life who isn’t hampered by the need to seek any credentials or perfectly fit into ideologies, you can learn unencumbered, with no assumptions about how things are supposed to be.
“Supposed to be” “Should” “Ough to” These are phrases of the unintelligent.
You learn to discover the truth.
You learn to become better at asking questions, not to get the perfect answers. Learning well involves learning for the sake of learning, not for passing an exam, getting a piece of paper, and definitely not for impressing your peers.
The more you learn about life by experimenting, the more you realize how arbitrary the rules of society are.
The rules of society tell you it’s hard to make money. When you learn the nature of money and marketing, you see money and business opportunities everywhere.
The rules of society say you need credentials. When you find a back door or side door to an opportunity you want, you never go through the front door again.
The rules of society say you have no power to change your life. When you commit your life to learning, you realize you have the ultimate power to change your life.
There is opportunity everywhere. If you unlearn your social programming and relearn mental models that help you, not only won’t you ever get bored again, but you’ll realize you’ll die before you ever get to learn all the things you want to learn.
But then you have to live.
You don’t want to only build your business, only perform well at your job, only do your art, only serve the community. You do want to make time for yourself, your friends, your family. You do want to see the world, have unique experiences, and experience moments of joy.
So how do you pull this off?
First, I’d still say to find time for your mission. Switch jobs if your job sucks. Start a business if you feel called to. Create if you aspire to.
Here are my reasons:
Find your mission and then seek to live an integrated life. With an integrated life, you no longer need work-life balance. You’re just living. When you’re present, awake, and aware in everything you do, nothing needs a label.
At the end of the day, you’ll never know if you’ve spent your time as wisely as possible. Everything comes with a tradeoff.
You simply want to end each day thinking, “Yeah, that was a pretty good day.” Most people operate on one of two extremes — their day to day existence is either mediocre or bad and then they daydream about hitting the lottery and having an endless vacation.
You want something in the middle of those. You want integration.
Work hard. Play hard. Simple.
“Look at my life and look at yours. Get some ambition why you bored?” Kendrick Lamar
You want to be excited about life so that you don’t need to balance it at all. You need to cure your boredom.
Once you get your ambition back, the world opens up to you.
Don’t think you have ambition? I can prove you do, How?
You were once a child. My 3-year-old is desperate to learn new things constantly. She’s always asking me questions. She looks at inanimate objects with curiosity and awe. She has a mission — learn as much as possible every single day while staying in the present moment the entire time.
You were this way once.
But then life happened. You learned “the rules” and you obeyed them. Now, all you do is obey.
Aren’t you tired of being obedient?
Yes, obedience has its benefits — you get a roof over your head, food for yourself and your family, safety security, etc. But how much of your soul did you have to trad to get these rewards? This isn’t a rhetorical question. Think about it. How much has sitting on the sidelines in life cost you?
No matter what situation you’re in, I have good news for you. You can get your curiosity and ambition back without having to overhaul your life. Start small.
Work on your blog for 30 minutes a day.
Go on Youtube and start watching woodworking tutorials and build your first bench over the weekend.
Start browsing for online courses or even colleges that teach the skills for the career you’ve been interested in pursuing.
Take photos from your iPhone and post them on Instagram to begin building your “portfolio.”
Once you start, every moment of your life becomes more fun and creative because you’ll see your life as material for your mission.
I work, I play, and I live.
I want this for you, too.