Do you believe in work-life balance? If you don’t, is it because you think it’s not possible to have all the things you want, in proportion, all the time?
A fair assumption, life involves compromise. But, balance has more than one definition. The idea that balance means everything is in its correct proportions is misleading. It implies that worldly demands are static.
In biomechanics, balance is the ability to distribute your weight in different ways, so you can stand without falling over, catch yourself if you trip, and so on.
If we take that concept and apply it to life, balance is the ability to distribute your energy in different ways, so you can work without falling asleep at your desk, catch yourself if you trip up in a conversation, and so on.
Balance comes from having a good toggle. It’s a dynamic state, a skill, and just like gymnasts have much better balance than you or I, work-life balance can be trained.
“At any moment we are back on our heels, flat footed, or forward centre of mass.” - Dr. Andrew Huberman.(1)
Much of modern day life is centred around maintaining a forward centre of mass - the doing. This is mostly good, doing things creates its own momentum. But, it also takes energy, and energy eventually depletes.
We also need time just to be. To be with ourselves, with nature, with friends and family. And we need time to become.
Work-life balance is the ability to toggle these states on and off, at different times, when we want to. Work hard, but don't forget the toggle.
“Whatever we go, from potential to deed, from possibility to realisation, we participate in true being…That is what it means to realise oneself.” - Herman Hesse
(1) Here we present a different interpretation to Huberman's intent, which was heels to mean struggling, flat footed to mean doing ok, and forward centre to mean optimal. He later suggests the body in chronic stress is analogous to maintaining a forward centre of mass all the time.