Balance

Does balance exist?  

We all know someone who is getting perfect grades, competing in a team sport, volunteering for the local animal shelter, plays the violin, and writes a food blog. 

But a part of me thinks that this type of person has to be sacrificing something, right? 

You’ve probably seen the 4 pillars of life before: physical health, social health, mental/creative health, and emotional/spiritual health. 

Physical health includes exercise, diet, and sleep. What measures do you do to take care of your physical body?

Social health is how well you manage your relationships and ability to have meaningful social interactions.

Mental/Creative health considers how you satiate your “creative” side. Maybe you write poetry, play an instrument, or perform theater; either way, we all need some type of outlet.

Emotional/Spiritual Health is, in a general sense, how you take care of your “soul.” Are you emotionally stable? Are you in tune with your mind and body? Religions often see this as a type of spiritual health.

I’d have to imagine that all 4 of these pillars are equally important in their own right. I can also see how there may be debates for each pillar as being more important than the rest, depending on the type of lifestyle you live. Perhaps a professional athlete at their prime would rank physical health over anything else, while professional theater performers might willingly (or unwillingly) have to sacrifice social relationships and physical health to achieve mastery in their profession.

My question is: is there a way to perfect balance all 4?

Is there really some way for all of us to get 8 hours of sleep while exercising 3-4x a week, have healthy relationships with their family and friends (and potential significant other), write poetry and play an instrument, emotionally stable and emotionally intelligent and meditates + practice mindfulness?

I can confidently say that I have maybe 2 pillars down, maybe 2.5.

For me, at least, this idea of balance is something I want to achieve. It seems like an ideal lifestyle for me, because I see the merit in dedicating effort to fulfilling each pillar. I see that each pillar can contribute to my overall lifestyle and happiness.

But the real question not just for me but the world in general is: do you seek this type of balance?

Or is a “balanced” life really a myth? The myth of balance is that the most successful people in their field are those who sacrificed balance to instead focus on specialization; they are the best in their field because they sacrificed the opportunity to be good at other things in life.

To be successful, do we have to sacrifice one or even several of these integral life pillars?

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Mindfulness

Meditation and mindfulness are often put in the same boat but in reality they are separate.

Meditation is the practice of mindfulness; however, you can live every day without meditation but still be mindful about your life.

Mindfulness is a state of peace one achieves by being able to live in harmony with the mind, body, and soul.

Do you ever walk a few blocks to go home and then end up arriving at your doorstep without any recollection of the last 10 minutes? Your body was walking, while your mind is elsewhere.

Daydreamers… procrastinators… and unenthusiastic people (or unenthusiastic situations) often lead to a lack of mindfulness

But it’s important to be more conscious of what you are doing.

A connection between the thought and the action is important because it allows us to be in the “zone”

Athletes know this. You can’t perform at your best if you don’t have this mindfulness–if you mind is wandering off while you’re trying to run down the court. It’s why Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan both practiced meditation extensively.

The top performers in life, the most successful people I follow, all practice meditation to achieve better mindfulness. A few names include: Bill Gates, Tim Ferriss, and Ray Dalio

I’ve been meditating nearly every day for the past 3 months and I can already see the small subtle benefits. It’s no wonder that people who have been practicing meditation and mindfulness for years are able to succeed in life in every sense of that word.

Don’t forget to breathe

I got my teeth cleaned today and throughout the ~45 minute procedure, I had to keep reminding myself to breathe.

For some reason, I always tense up my body.

I call it barber anxiety.

When I get my hair cut, I need to remind myself to relax.

When I get a massage, I also need to relax.

When I get my teeth cleaned, I need to remember to breathe.

It just feels inherently awkward to me: another person “operating” on me, while I sit there. I can look at their face and realize that they aren’t even really looking back, because, well, they need to make sure they don’t cut my ears off.

In reality, there is no reason for me to feel tense. Maybe I can feel awkward or slightly embarrassed. But tense? Why? I’m literally not doing anything. Feeling tense while getting massaged by someone who you are paying to massage you is perhaps the most paradoxical sentence I’ve written this year.

Barber anxiety sucks… But it also doesn’t make sense. So don’t forget to breathe. Don’t forget to relax.

Knowledge is power

How much do you value education? Books? The internet?

And how much do you value your knowledge?

Knowledge is power. It’s an overused aphorism that remains true.

The 21st century saw the world enter into the digital information age, propelled forward by the internet, the smart phone, and soon, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Those with access to this overload of information should be utilizing it as much as possible. Obtaining knowledge left and right.

IN a world where everyone is trying to connect the dots, sometimes it’s instead the time to collect some dots.

Superpowers

I have reoccurring dreams about having superpowers

Last night it was related to the ocean. I felt like Poseidon’s son. I could control the waves, communicate with giant whales, dive deep into the ocean, and fly and levitate.

Often times I have dreams about having psychic powers. I could move things and control the world with my mind.

I wonder why. Is there some deep-seated reason that these dreams are consistently reoccurring?

When I have these dreams, I actually feel like I am in control. Do you guys ever feel like you are literally living in that world, and you can control what you do?

Last night was New Year’s Eve and I hung out with some of my closest friends and a few new ones. I did magic like I often do at gatherings.

And I was reminded that superpowers isn’t just about making things float or being able to fly and lift heavy things.

Someones, superpowers can just be as simple as making someone smile.

And to many people, magic is pretty cool in that sense.

So I guess maybe I’ve had superpowers for a while now. I just haven’t noticed.

How do I define myself

How do you define yourself?

Do you talk about what you do?

Or who you are?

Do you use titles, labels? Do you start with your name? Do you mention your age? Ethnicity? Nationality? Parents? Friends? Family? Religion? Politics?

I’ve always considered myself a student.

A student of business. A student of life. A student of magic. A student of academia.

And I also will mention that I am a magician.

Magic is my medium for connection. So it makes sense.

And then it gets a bit blurry. Sometimes I’ll introduce myself as a writer. I’d like to define myself as one, because, well, I’ve written everyday for over a year. I enjoy writing and it has progressively become more important to me over the past year.

Athlete? Because I also play a lot of basketball. Some weeks, I’ll play more basketball then I perform magic. But I’m not sure if I’d define myself as a basketball player. It’s more of a hobby now than a passion. Magic is my passion. It’s something I plan to pursue and make something bigger outside of just magic. Basketball will always just be a hobby, whereas some basketball players want to continue it as a career or use it as their medium for influence and motivation.

Reader? I’ve read a book a week this year for 2018.

And I also love the violin. I just don’t have the time to play it as often as I’d like to.

Musician?

I think three labels are good.

Student. Magician. Writer.

But at the end of the day, I hope that if all my labels disappeared, if I can no longer call myself a magician, or musician, or athlete, that if you stripped me naked of my self-given definitions, at least I can still be just a good person.

Because that’s all we can really ask of ourselves.

Being a good person. That’s the best label. That’s how you should define yourself.

Hey

Hey Jeff

I’m sorry for the way I used to be

I’m sorry for the person I am

I’m sorry for putting you in awkward situations

But actually, I love my life right now

Not because it’s perfect.

No. My life is far from perfect.

But I love life because somehow, despite how broken I’ve felt, despite my failures and pains and rejections and tripups and awkward situations…

Despite my vulnerability

I’ve still managed to be happy.

There is beauty in my life and I just need to find it.

Once I do, I’ll never let go again