"Balance in life" is something we often hear about, but what is it really about and is it really something that can be achieved? What would your life look like if you had a complete balance in your life, what would it feel like?
A balanced life means to nurture, grow and lift out different parts of your inner and outer world. What you focus on and give attention to will expand. It is the rules of Universe. Just like when Newton got an apple in his head and found that it had a connection to the rules of physics, there are also rules or principles that rules what happens in our psychological world. One of those rules and principles is just the principle that what you over time consciously give attention to and focus on will expand.
Focus, over time, on stress and you will soon become a chemical overdosed, hyper stressed individual who will find it difficult to fall asleep at night. Focus on love, focus and over time see magical things happen in your life. Dedicate your focus on health, think health, and eat like every bite was a concentrated health rocket and your whole being will be unable to fail to move towards a healthier body, healthier mind and healthier oxygen in your lungs.
Five pillars of health
A perspective on the balance that we have taken onboard is a health prospective to our entire lives. We initially learnt this approach from a Japanese company called Nikken.
They see it as there are five pillars of health in life that needs to be in balance for you to be able to experience total well being. The Five Pillars of Health are:
- A Healthy Soul (that you yourself are growing as a person and learn new things and develop yourself, stimulate the intellect)
- A Healthy Body (not just from the absence of sickness but also from waking up refreshed and with energy that will last all day to spend time with the people that are important to oneself)
- A Healthy Family (nurture relationships with family and friends so that they are loving, filled of mutual exchange and a foundation for the growth as a person)
- A Healthy Financial Situation (the avoidance of debts that will drain your mood, the opportunity to treat yourself to a good life, space for both short term and long term planning)
- A Healthy Society (that you see yourself as a part of a larger context and that you contribute to making this connection better, more vibrant and more generous)
To support the five pillars above you need to make sure to have four support functions running smoothly.
- Rest and relaxation (give yourself time to recover, sleep well and treat yourself to a massage)
- Environment (nurture your home environment with clean air and fresh water)
- Exercise (exercise regularly, the human body is built for movement)
- Nutrition (make sure to feed your body with quality fuel)
Filippa: Balance in life for me isn't that all the problems are gone but that I handle the problems that exist and that I feel good in the meantime.
Balance is knowing that I have what I want and I can actively choose how I want to be and act in different situations, even unexpected and potentially unpleasant situations. That I enjoy being outside my comfort zone. I want to wake up refreshed and feel full of energy.
Balance is when I feel that my relationship with my partner, my parents and brother is good. I want to feel that I don't have to count every cent when I do the shopping but that I have a big selection to choose from and do what I want and that I can donate at least 10% of what I earn to charity.
I want to feel that I am contributing to the society and the world in different ways and that I do it with pleasure.
Markus: I have for a while been using the five pillars above and the four support functions as a foundation to my life. I have noticed a fantastic difference in my productivity, efficiency and quality in the different areas when I make sure to include the different parts.
I have heard others say that they are cross-fertilizing each other, now I can really testify and vouch for that this really is happening.
For example, if I'm working with something that obviously has a bearing to contribute to a healthy financial situation I can sometimes end up with "I'll just keep working on this for five more minutes and it'll be done" and time has suddenly rushed away to half an hour.
When I instead learn to be disciplined, stop as planned and give myself time to nourish my home or friendships then something amazing will happen the next day. I will be incredibly motivated when I sit down with work again and filled with energy.
How many times haven't we been sitting 8-10 hours with something without getting anything done? There is a lot of efficiency and quality to find in a balanced life.
Planning is, as we have mentioned above, a big key to a life in balance. The one who does not give time to plan his life is planning for a failure. An American guy by the name Jim Rohn says that if you haven't got your day already planned before you wake up in the morning you might as well throw in the towel. The best thing to do with that day will then be, according to him, to spend it making plans. So plan your next day, week and maybe even month.
Discipline is definitely a key word here, a word that will evoke different things in people. Some will find it as appealing as having a rusty barb wire for breakfast while others see it as a strength and opportunity. If you belong to the category of barb wire then it's not a wild guess that there is a great opportunity for you to look closer to your associations to the word discipline and how it affects your life. Discipline is one of the keys that allow you to be someone who makes something out of life instead of someone that life does something with.
Planning, to do something with life instead of the opposite, is about a fancy word called proactive. Stephen Covey talks about this in his "The 7 habits of highly effective people" It's about being one step ahead. Not running with your pants down and trying to catch up on life. Instead of running, jog and be half a step ahead in life and create opportunities that make it possible for you to ride the wave for a while. When you get behind make sure you reflect over what you need to change in your way of being, put on those running shoes and spring in to action again.
Learning to say no
The winner amongst marauders of balance we can probably appoint to the ability to say "NO". You need no you must, learn to make the word "no" to an active, powerful and well aimed part of your vocabulary. If you at all will have any opportunity to create the powerful and well aimed in your no you need to take time to find out what's important to you in life. It is called prioritizing. To say no is about prioritizing. To be able to prioritize you need to know what to prioritize otherwise you will sit there and waste the best moments in life on meaningless phone conversations, non-important emails and un-necessary stress.
To learn to say no mean that something exciting is happening. Your "yes" will have a whole new meaning. They will contain a power rarely seen before. When you make the word "no" to a well aimed tool you will charge your "yes" to breaking point. They become joyful, life-affirming and healthy energy waves that you send in to yourself and out to your surroundings, saying no always mean to say yes to something else. The opposite is what makes it so hard for many people to get a powerful yes, that yes means no to something else and if you then don't like saying no the yes becomes a wimpy "na-yeah, well ok then" instead, which will fall down from the wind of "every day chore breeze".
So sit down in peace and quiet, say no to a few things. Say yes to yourself and to a life that is so much more. Join Filippa on the journey of experience below; if you think that the five pillars we began with started to make the slightest sense then you can get a lot of prospective on your life by really taking time for this. Join in!
Here you can do a small test on your current balance.
Make a circle, like a cake, and divide it in to five pieces; one for each pillar of health (if you're missing something just add more pieces to it). Name each piece to Body, Soul, Family, Finances and Society. If you then imagine that the middle is 0 where it is as bad as it possibly can be, the outside edge is 100 where everything is as good as it possibly can be. Start for example with the piece "Soul" and ask yourself; "On a scale from 0 to 100, how satisfied am I with myself as a person, how do I really feel?
If the answer for example is 50% you will draw a line in the middle between 0 and 100 so that it becomes a smaller piece in the bigger piece. Then move on to the next piece and do the same thing here, keep doing this until each piece has a mark of how satisfied you are with that area in life.
When you have finished this you continue to read this letter. It doesn't have to be exact and it might have changed by tomorrow, just look at is as a game! Start drawing!
So, are you done with the exercise? If not... then go and finish it before you continue to keep on reading. If you have finished it... congratulations, you are one that springs in to action, one who doesn't just passively take the information in but also uses it!
The next thing you need to do with your circle is to fill in the smaller pieces so that it clearly state how happy and satisfied you are with the different areas in your life. When you are done with this, come back and keep reading. It doesn't have to be properly done, just lightly fill it in.
Are you done? Ok, I trust you, let's move on.
If the smaller pieces were to be a wheel on a car, how would it be? If your wheel looked like mine I would say it would be quite bumpy. You might be able to slowly move forward with a wheel looking like that but how would it work driving at 100km per hour on it? You would probably end up driving off the road.
It's the same thing with our lives, the ones who has very uneven wheels and still choose to drive at 100km per hour, will end up driving off the road. Some becomes ill, injured, drive straight in to a wall and survives or dies...
Balance in life isn't something wimpy or weak; balance in life gives power, speed and joy. Do you want more balance in your life?