“The power to fulfill our dreams is within each of us.Â We alone have the responsibility to shape our lives.Â When we understand this, we know that nothing,Â and no one, can deny us greatness. We are the onesÂ pushing ourselves forward or holding ourselves back.Â The power to succeed or fail is ours alone.”Â –Â Unknown
Living a balanced life is something we all strive to achieve. We want great things for ourselves and our loved ones and we want some degree of control over our lives. We want to be able to take what life throws at us and thrive as we learn and grow from each and every life situation. But many of us have not yet learnedÂ how to do that. In fact, a large majority of people believe that the notion of a balanced life is a myth.
That’s because when there’s too much to do and no time to do it, we live in constant stress and anxiety. But we are learning another way. There is a path that can help us find a better sense of balance in our personal and professional lives, in our spiritual interdependent self, and in our relationships. But we must understand how balance works and what it means to each of us individually. That’s the only way we can create the life we want.
Definition of Balance
We all would agree that balance is an essential component of happiness. The dictionary defines balance asÂ “a stable mental or psychological state; emotional stability; a harmonious or satisfying or proportion of parts or elements.”
I liken a balanced life to a four-legged chair. Each leg represents a component of your life, such as mental, emotional, spiritual and personal. The idea is to keep the legs of the chair the same length so your life won’t become lopsided. For example, if you work excessively and you don’t make time for your family, the personal leg of the chair will be too short and your life will feel shaky, because you’ll be off-balance. If the legs of the chair don’t match — if one part of your life is ignored or given short shrift — no matter how much energy you give to the other legs, you’ll still have to battle stress, anxiety and depression. But when the legs of your chair (the parts of your life) are equally nurtured and strengthened, you will feel strong, in control, and up to handling whatever hand life deals you.
Leading a balanced life requires a very personal determination, according to life coach Jerry Lopper. He maintains that what feels like balance to one person may feel way off balance to another. But essentially, lack of balance in any area will cause you to be overwhelmed, whether in your career, your family life, or both. It feels as if something is missing, as if there’s a void in your center and you have no idea how to fill it. Lopper believes that this kind of existence lacks meaning and purpose, and as a result, you may feel depressed, lethargic or deeply sad that “this is all there is.”
By contrast, Lopper says hopefully, a balanced life just feels right, as if things are exactly the way they should be. Despite the normal ups and downs in an average day, when your life is balanced, you are an active participant, fully engaged, and finding meaning in all that you do and in who you are.
Lopper has designated “the five P’s” as the fundamentals of life:
- PurposeÂ — finding your mission in life
- PassionÂ — finding what you love to do
- PowersÂ — exercising your unique strengths and abilities
- PrinciplesÂ — discovering what you value
- PerspectiveÂ — discovering what you believe.